Remember the Night
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Screen legends Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray star in the heartwarming holiday classic Remember the Night (1940). Lee Leander (Stanwyck) is a petty shoplifter on trial for swiping an expensive bracelet from a local jewelry store. When her trial is postponed until after New Year's, sympathetic Assistant District Attorney John Sargent (MacMurray) bails her out of jail. Together, they find themselves falling in love when he invites her to his family's home for the holidays where she discovers the warmth and love she's never had but always wanted. Featuring a wonderful supporting cast (Beulah Bondi, Sterling Holloway and Elizabeth Patterson), stylish costumes by Edith Head, a charming script by Preston Sturges, and superb direction by Mitchell Leisen, Remember the Night (1940) is a timeless holiday favorite that can be enjoyed every season.
When sold by Amazon.com, this product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
This product is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.
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Know this before you purchase it! The missing features and the fact it is a DVD-R and not a DVD figures into my lower (1 star) review.
I'm a bit outraged that Amazon is even selling this cheaper knock-off of "Remember the Night". It is a very mis-leading product offering by Amazon in that it has the same exact DVD cover artwork as the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) - Movies Unlimited website offering - including the TCM logo! I'm surprised that TCM and Universal (these 2 companies jointly released "Remember the Night" as a DVD with the Bonus Features) would allow this lesser version to be sold by Amazon. I may in fact try and return it to Amazon.
As of this date the Movies Unlimited website version of this movie is selling for only $4 more so I would recommend you purchase it there if you care at all about having a disc that will last longer than a DVD-R (there's some question as to the longevity and durability of DVD-R's) and includes the already mentioned Bonus Features.
Notification of its unavailability was disappointing, but in December Turner classic movie channel was showing --Remember the Night -- and the host, Robert Osborne, mentioned the movie was just released on DVD by them as part of their Vault Collection. Great news! I immediately checked their web site and ordered it for a very reasonable price.
This is a crystal clear print of the 1940 Preston Sturges black and white screwball comedy/romance/drama -- the film is too complex to wear just one label. Sturges' screenplay gives us a holiday film with heart, smarts and no convenient "Hollywood" ending. This is the last screenplay Sturges wrote where he didn't also direct the movie. Michael Leisen (Death Takes a Holiday) directed, and Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck supply solid performances as a DA and a shoplifter thrown together during Christmas. This is a classic film with snappy dialogue, irony, genuine character development and a level of unpredictability created by the very talented writer.
In addition to the movie, the DVD contains an introduction by Robert Osborne along with a group of Special Features that include the Original Trailer, Publicity Stills, Scene Stills, Behind the Scenes photos, Movie Posters, Biographies of the writer and director, along with Trivia. This film is a gem, a treasure, and easily the best inexpensive Christmas gift I bought for myself in 2009.
Update 11/27/2010: Amazon is now selling a DVD-R on-demand copy of the film which, according to a gentleman who left a comment on my review, does not have the features I noted. My review is for the DVD, not the DVD-R on-demand copy. I have no firsthand knowledge of what is or isn't included with that product.
Lee Leander (Stanwyck) is caught shoplifting and John Sargent (MacMurray) is the tough District Attorney's prosecutor who is out to convict her. Trouble is, it's hard to get a conviction around Christmas, so he jumps at a chance to postpone the trial when her windbag attorney introduces a new theory of her innocence. Sargent is about to go home to Indiana to his widowed mother and aunt, but feels sorry for Lee and arranges to have her released in his custody, assuming she will stay at her hotel during the court's holiday recess. It's hilarious when she arrives at his place and thinks he has other things in mind., saying "I suppose you do this with all the lady prisoners?" Soon he discovers she has no money and is locked out of her hotel and so he decides to take her with him on his Indiana Christmas trip.
This begins a voyage of them discovering each other, at times in funny situations as when they have to sleep in the car for a night in a field of cows, or in sad situations, when Lee visits her Mother at her old home. The heart of the film is the quiet idyll at the farm where John grew up with his mother (Beula Bondi), Aunt Emma (Elizabeth Patterson) and their eccentric farmhand Willie (Sterling Holloway), and as it proceeds you feel you really don't want it to end.
The film was directed by Preston Sturges, one of the best director's of comedies in Hollywood's golden era. The actors work perfectly well together and the result is a really magical Christmas movie. Check it out. It's really worth adding to your holiday movies. I finally bought it, but I hope Amazon adds it to their Amazon Video streamed movies so more people will become aware of it.