Remember the Night - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Remember the Night Reviews

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September 28, 2016
Mitchell Leisen directs this romantic comedy drama which marks the first collaboration between Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck.

They both give very good performances in their respective roles as John Sargent and Lee Lelander. She is the woman who is caught shoplifting for the third time and is ordered a trial, but he is the one who postpones the trial so she can have Christmas to spend with her family.

Leisen's direction is decent and the two leads are a real delight together whether they are on screen or not. Their best pairing would come 4 years later, but the first outing has got off to a very decent and solid start.

What also makes it better is that Christmas movies were very rare during this decade so its makes a good, festive treat.
½ January 20, 2016
A fun and entertaining romantic comedy. They even went to niagra falls.
January 14, 2016
Last night Turner Classic Movies just happened to show this movie. I'd never heard of it, watched it out of curiosity....and was pleasantly surprised. It starts kind of slow with the courthouse scene, but after that, it gets much better. I can understand why mainstream audiences back when it was originally released may not have liked it because of its realism, but as a present-day movie fan I can definitely appreciate that. Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray did a great job and have great chemistry on screen (just like in their other films, "Double Indemnity," etc).
December 15, 2015
a delightful mix of drama and comedy.& the first of 2 Stanwyck Christmis movies the other is 'christmas in Connecticut"
November 8, 2014
My wife and I go back two decades for our love of "Remember the Night" and its heartwarming story.

I first became a fan of writer-director Preston Sturges' films "Sullivan's Travels," "The Lady Eve," "The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek" and "The Palm Beach Story" - all four star screwball romantic comedies - and started to seek out all the films he worked on.

Displeased with the way other directors interpreted his scripts, "Remember the Night" was the last film Sturges wrote before directing his own works. This is where I must step in and say that RTN director Mitchell Liesen was at his peak and did an excellent job with the material. His judicious editing of the script and his many light touches helped to draw natural and touching performances from the entire gifted cast. It couldn't be a more perfect movie. And I should know, I have watched "Remember the Night" more than 25 times, continue to be charmed and find something new to love with every viewing.

I first saw RTN on TV back in the 1980s when cable TV started playing black and white classics on the old AMC (American Movie Classics). I found it a completely original story, about a pretty young thief who meets a district attorney with a heart of gold. (I know that's rare, but believe me it's possible.) Assigned to prosecute Lee Leander after she is caught stealing an expensive bracelet, John Sargent manages - with the inadvertent help of her blowhard defense lawyer (a hilarious Willard Robertson) - to get the trial put off until after the Christmas holidays. Feeling guilty that the shoplifter will have to wait out the postponement in jail, Sargent arranges bail. This first act of kindness sets off a domino effect of compassion and grace that shows the healing powers of love, acceptance and absolution.

Twenty years ago, on one of our first dates, I showed my future wife just one scene from this film on a poor quality video tape I made of that early TV broadcast. The scene where Sargent's family sing "The End of a Perfect Day" is just a fragment of this heartwarming film, but when I looked over to see my sweetheart's reaction, she already had tears welling up in her eyes and I realized that she got it. And to me, getting it is everything.

This is my wife's favorite movie, a one-sheet poster from it now hangs over our fireplace, and we've told hundreds of people how RTN is (to us) as good as "The Wizard Of Oz," "Casablanca," "Singin' In The Rain," "It's A Wonderful Life," "The Thin Man," "It Happened One Night" and many other four star classics you can watch over and over again and still feel all the magic of a perfect film.

"Remember the Night" was finally released on VHS in 1998 and looked fine when compared to a broadcast quality picture on TV. But it soon went out of print and still remained difficult to find or see for years. We started buying up VHS copies to pass on them on to other film buff friends. We held screening parties in our home. We took copies on the road and introduced the film to others. "Remember the Night" was both loved by those who had seen it and lost to those who could not find a copy.

After years of petitioning, TCM put it out on DVD in 2010. It looked better than the VHS and sold well for a forgotten little gem. Though the market for DVD's had started to fall off, because of its success, TCM released another version, now restored by no less than the Library of Congress, three years later. And now finally the topper - a brand new Blu-Ray version is finally available and it is stunning! The picture is a super sharp fine grain, showing more detail to enhance those subtle performances and the delightfully funny script. Watch it on the biggest screen you can find with the lights low, the phone turned off, next to the love of your life. You will thank me later.

P.S. As I type these words I am reminded of the inscription my wife had engraved inside the wedding ring I now wear... "Remember The Night."
½ December 15, 2013
McMurray and Stanwyck are perfectly cast in Preston Sturges' gem of a script, a sweet, sad, funny, deeply felt road movie, a romantic comedy that rather courageously pushes against convention and expectation for an ending that's maybe a tad disappointing, but far more satisfying than the cop-out finale towards which we think we're headed. Producer and director Mitchell Liesen sets the perfect tone throughout--tender without being sentimental, funny, but always grounded, with a persistent melancholy running beneath the surface, thanks in large part to Sturges' expert writing and to Stanwyck's glorious, vulnerable, radiant performance. In "Remember the Night," relationships are complicated, people are complicated, the law and responsibility and crime and punishment are complicated, too complicated for simple screwball comedy conventions, and, at the end of the day, the heart wants what the heart wants, but it doesn't always get what it wants--or when or how it wants it. Tremendous.
August 3, 2013
Great team up of lead actors.
December 29, 2012
One of my favorite Christmas movies. It's now one of my required holiday viewings.
December 22, 2012
This is a holiday gem that is often overlooked. One of my favorite Christmas movies of all time.
½ December 19, 2012
A pretty far-fetched premise that benefits from the likability of and chemistry between its leads, along with Preston Sturges' earnest screenplay. Notably, Sturges and director Mitchell Leisen manage to reign in the kind of overwrought sentimentality that many others would have gone for, and which would have made this story unbearable.
April 18, 2012
The warmth of this film overtakes me every time I watch it. Barbara Stanwyck lends to the film her no-nonsense, city-clicker attitude--but she layers it this time with vulnerability and naivety. It's a stroke of genius. The screenplay by Sturges is stunning, the story heartwarming at its worst and uplifting at its best. Without ruining the ending, Sturges brings the story to a close not by counting on sentimentality over the real world, or by throwing away what he's been building up through the whole film. Instead, he gives us a glimpse at real, unprejudiced, unadulterated love (both romantic and familial)--and its ability to overcome anything, even the worst situations. Stanwyck and MacMurray make it that much better with their heart-wrenching, beautiful last scene. I cry every time.
March 31, 2011
Delightfully witty comedy with snappy fresh dialog and a far-fetched romantic plot, all carried off by vivacious performances by Stanwyck & MacMurray.
½ February 7, 2011
a nice, wholesome, old-fashioned love story
January 11, 2011
Maybe the reason so many Christmas movies are melancholy is because otherwise it'd all just be too sweet to handle. That's almost what happens here despite a heavy cloud hanging over the proceedings, as every scene of Stanwyck learning the simple joys of country living isn't far from a recognition of her looming court date. I guess you could argue that the movie could have easily lost about ten minutes particularly from the second half, and that Stanwyck's character loses her edge too much when confronted with all the Norman Rockwell style Americana, but I can't be too much of a cynic about something this effective.
December 29, 2010
This is a good story made very enjoyable by its cast, a bunch that knows how to balance the pathos and the comedy just right. Fred MacMurray is just right for the character of John Sargent, stern and stoic with his own brand of charisma, but it is Barbara Stanwyck who really shines here. She turns in a powerful performance, the kind that starts low key but sneaks up and jumps you, and consequently she makes the character refreshingly three-dimensional. The script, which was written by the great Preston Sturges, is good if implausible, and though it's far from a holiday classic is stands as a cute and nostalgic look at the importance of family and the power of love.
Super Reviewer
½ December 24, 2010
four years before double indemnity, stanwyck and macmurray made this very different film together. the plot may be a little far fetched but sturges' banter is unmistakable. better than the holiday classic christmas in connecticut imo
November 13, 2010
Another enjoyable overlooked holiday romantic comedy that is kept from being forgotten by TCM's occasional showings. Stanwyck and MacMurray have good chemistry, but some of the moral sermonizing is laid on a bit thick. I smell the Hays Code office's meddling influence.
February 1, 2010
Nothing special. Patterson's Aunt Emma is a good reason to watch though. MacMurray and Stanwyck are great together, but not exceptional.
½ January 1, 2010
This was a really cute romantic comedy--but *not* cutesie. Barbara Stanwyck can portray the subtlest emotion with a look, a smile, the movement of an eye. The plot is good--not too likely in the real world, but plausible within the context of the movie. The moral aspect of Stanwyck's character's stealing is not softpedaled or brushed aside as no big deal--it *is* something that must be rectified--but she is a real person, and there is hope of redemption. Not the conventional happy ending (I'm *not* saying it was an unhappy ending), but hopeful and realistic. Sweet and thoroughly charming. I would recommend it.
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