a sissydude christmas tradition : REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940)
Sissydude’s FAVE Christmas movie:
Remember the Night is a 1940 American romantic comedy/drama Christmas film directed by Mitchell Leisen, and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. The film was written by Preston Sturges—his last as a writer before he became a writer-director with The Great McGinty.
The plot: Just before Christmas, Lee Leander is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense. She is prosecuted by John Sargent. He gets the trial postponed because it is hard to get a conviction at Christmastime. But he feels sorry for her and arranges for her bail, and ends up taking her home to his mother for Christmas. Surrounded by a loving family (in stark contrast to Lee’s own family background) they fall in love. This creates a new problem: how do they handle the upcoming trial? TCM
FYI: This Dailymotion video is just missing the beginning credits.
Remember the Night was the first film in which MacMurray and Stanwyck appeared together.
Preston Sturges had suggested “Great Love” as a title for this film. Director Mitchell Leisen, a rare director to come out of costume design and art direction, is reported to have shortened Sturges’ script considerably, both before and during shooting, something which generally annoyed Sturges, and one of the main reasons he was set on directing his own scripts – which he did beginning with his next project, The Great McGinty. Still, of all the films that Sturges wrote before be began directing, Leisen directed the only two films, this one and Easy Living, which Sturges bought personal 16mm copies of for his film library.
Leisen’s alterations to the script changed the focus of the film from MacMurray’s character to Stanwyck’s. Sturges summarized the film by saying “Love reformed her and corrupted him.” The movie, he said, “had quite a lot of schmaltz [sentiment], a good dose of schmerz [pain, grief] and just enough schmutz [dirt] to make it box office.”
During shooting, Sturges hung around the set and got to know Barbara Stanwyck. One day he told her that he was going to write a screwball comedy for her, which he did just a year later, The Lady Eve.