Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Remember the Night (4 stars)
Remember the Night, from 1940, is a little-known holiday film starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. This delightful movie, which features Beulah Bondi and Sterling Holloway in supporting roles, is the first of four pairings between Stanwyck and MacMurray.
Lee Leander (Stanwyck), a compulsive shoplifter, has just been picked up for her third offense. While she has gotten off easy in the past, since her problem is a habitual one, her case, this time, is sent to trial, with John Sargent (MacMurray) set as the prosecutor. When Lee's trial is postponed until after the holidays, Sargent, who doesn't want her to have to be in jail at Christmas, bails her out; with nowhere to go, and thinking there were strings attached to the bail-out, Lee shows up at John's apartment just as he is getting ready to go home to Indiana for the holiday.
Upon discovering that Lee, too, is from Indiana, John offers to take her along with him, promising to drop her off on the way to his mom's house and to pick her up on his return. Lee's reunion with her mom doesn't go well, though, and John ends up inviting her to share Christmas with his family. As the two spend time together, they begin to fall in love---but with John's prosecution of Lee hanging over their heads, do they have any chance for happiness?
Remember the Night is a very sweet film. Yes, it's rather predictable, but it is lovely and sentimental and very much worth watching during the Christmas season. Barbara Stanwyck, who is easily one of my all-time favorite actresses, is really wonderful here. As usual, her character is a bit rough around the edges, but with a heart of gold. She and Fred MacMurray worked very well together here and had really great chemistry.
This film was released on DVD last year, so you should be able to track it down. It's also available in its entirety on YouTube (HERE). I definitely think it's a perfect addition to the holiday viewing schedule.