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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Remember The Night (1940)

With Christmas only a week away, a prosecuting attorney (Fred MacMurray) causes the case of a shoplifter (Barbara Stanwyck) to get postponed after the Christmas season so the jurors won't have any qualms about putting a woman in jail for Christmas. Since she has nowhere to go, he offers to drive her to her mother in Indiana for Christmas since it is on the way to his own mother's. But it's Christmas and love is in the air. While most Christmas movies revel in sentiment, REMEMBER THE NIGHT manages to keep the sentimentality to a minimum while still having its heart in the right place. Thanks to a razor sharp script by Preston Sturges and Mitchell Leisen's nimble direction and two appealing leads, this is a Christmas movie that even Scrooge could embrace. Stanwyck was one of the few actresses who could give MacMurray some sex appeal (they would go on to do three more movies together) and she gives one of her very best performances. So impressed was Sturges by Stanwyck's work here that he wrote THE LADY EVE especially for her. With Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Hayden and giving a very funny performance as Stanwyck's hammy attorney, Willard Robertson.

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