How many films out there would make us watch it with a smile? Well, I must say there are not many. But one film will certainly make sure that once you are comfortably sitting in front of your TV, ready for the screening, it will do its very best to ensure that the night you spend watching this adorable, charming, and marvelous film, will be unforgettable. And that film Mr. and Ms. Audience is Remember The Night, where Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray are ready to serve you with a bit of joy, scenes that are full of laughter, and a charming love story, where only compassion and patience will help them fulfill their duty and make their viewers remember their night forever.
Just before Christmas, Lee Leander (Barbara Stanwyck), is caught shoplifting. It is her third arrest. And now, she is prosecuted by John Sargent (Fred MacMurray). But, when he realizes that it is hard to get a conviction at Christmas time, he postpones the trial, which means Lee must spend her Christmas in jail. Feeling sorry for her, John arranges for her bail, not knowing that his friend is about to bring her to his house. As it happens, the story takes an unpredictable turn, when John is put in a difficult position that creates a tremendous problem for him and he no longer knows how to handle the upcoming trial; he falls in love with Lee…
The beginning of Remember The Night is hysterical by all means. When Lee’s defender gives his speech at the trial for the jury, he acts like he is standing on a stage playing Shakespeare`s Hamlet. Lee`s lawyer spends about six minutes of this lovely film`s running time expressing his arguments to the court. It`s Christmas time. Everyone wants to leave the courtroom, but not him. When Lee is released from jail and brought to Sargent`s house without his knowledge, he allows her to stay in his home for Christmas, until the trial begins.
Despite the fact that Michel Liesen`s film brings a smile to its viewers, it manages, somehow, to make you feel a little bit sad, especially when Sargent meets Leander`s mother. Understanding that Leander did not have a happy childhood and has no place to go to celebrate Christmas, he takes her to his Mother`s house where they are surrounded by caring people and pure love; they begin feeling the same feelings towards each other. It is fascinating to see what is actually ‘unseen’ which is the magical connection between two leading cast members, Stanwyck and MacMurray. Billy Wilder noticed this connection, and four years later cast them for Double Indemnity.
Remember The Night is an overlooked, and somehow forgotten, film that would be loved and appreciated by the entire family at Christmas. It is equally deserving to be seen just as much as any other beloved Holiday film, and you, as a viewer, will receive only positive energy from Liesen`s story. Even though the story in the film is not that complicated and is extremely simple, it`s still an incredibly sentimental, delightful, worth watching and genuinely beautiful film that is worth-remembering and never to be forgotten.
Note, that TIFF still continues the retrospective for the films of Barbara Stanwyck. You can find the complete schedule following this link.