The Long Night by Anatole Litvak |Anatole Litvak, Henry Fonda, Barbara Bel Geddes, Vincent Price | 738329015626 | DVD | Barnes & Noble
Long Night

The Long Night

Director: Anatole Litvak

Cast: Anatole Litvak, Henry Fonda, Barbara Bel Geddes, Vincent Price

     
 
This is one first-rate DVD, and a surprising one in a way -- Anatole Litvack's The Long Night has always stood in the shadow of its French original, Marcel Carné's Le Jour Se Lève, American critics holding special resentment for the Hollywood attempt to remake one of the defining examples of poetic realism. The truth is that once one gets past the fact

Overview

This is one first-rate DVD, and a surprising one in a way -- Anatole Litvack's The Long Night has always stood in the shadow of its French original, Marcel Carné's Le Jour Se Lève, American critics holding special resentment for the Hollywood attempt to remake one of the defining examples of poetic realism. The truth is that once one gets past the fact that the filmmakers were using Carné's movie as a jumping-off point, The Long Night stands as a beautifully made and acted film in its own right, with virtues -- including a very complex and quietly dazzling production design by Eugène Lourié -- that make it worth owning and watching many times over. The story is close to the French original in most respects, although John Wexley's screenplay has moved it uniquely into a post-World War II small-town American setting, with elements of discontent and pessimism that make The Long Night seem even more daring today; this is not Frank Capra's or Leo McCarey's benign view of reality for Americans, but something closer to the vision of Earl Robinson or Pete Seeger, in terms of the brutalities of life, the pettiness of public officials, and the sheer hopelessness and unhappiness of the workers. The DVD offers a beautiful transfer of the film, bringing out in crystal clarity the richness of Sol Polito's photography and the brilliance of Lourié's set designs, which totally achieve their desired goal in establishing a mood as well as a locale -- the staircase set, in particular, is a wonder to behold, and the designs and camera work alone are worth the price of the disc, and multiple viewings to go with it. All of these virtues also bring out the full value of the best of the performances which, in addition to Henry Fonda, Barbara Bel Geddes, and Ann Dvorak, include a brace of far lesser known character players in supporting parts that are well worth seeing in this format, absent a full theatrical re-release. The supplements include a series of relevant clips from Le Jour Se Lève for comparison, scene by scene, and a nicely structured visual essay on the production design of the film -- a full accompanying narration would have been ideal, but this is the next best thing. The menu is straightforward and easy to use.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A gripping, if at times convoluted, thriller in the film noir vein, The Long Night let Henry Fonda show his considerable dramatic skill, which had recently been neglected in favor of lighter, more comedic fare. Fonda doesn't disappoint, creating a returning War vet whose loneliness is accentuated by the alienation he feels when he cannot really fit in as he wants to upon his return from the war. There's a powderkeg of angst inside him, and it blows when the circumstances in this movie lead him into the murder that sends him near the edge. Fonda is commanding throughout, and shades his performance with beautiful moments of insight. He comes to close to being overshadowed, however, by Vincent Price, whose showy role was written for the exuberant kind of cunning evil at which he excelled. Ann Dvorak is also quite good as a wised up cookie, and Barbara Bel Geddes shines as the innocent at the center of the controversy. Night's multiple-flashback storyline does prove a bit confusing at times, and the melodrama occasionally gets slightly heavyhanded, but all in all director Anatole Litvak does an excellent job at creating tension, casting doubt, and keeping the film barreling along. He is aided enormously by the sensational lensing of Sol Polito, whose camera is essential in capturing the soul of the story.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/18/2000
UPC:
0738329015626
Original Release:
1947
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kino Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:37:00

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Henry Fonda Joe Adams
Barbara Bel Geddes Jo Ann
Vincent Price Maximilian
Ann Dvorak Charlene
Elisha Cook Frank
Howard Freeman Sheriff
Moroni Olsen Chief of Police
Queenie Smith Janitor's Wife
David Clarke Bill
Charles McGraw Policeman
Patty King Peggy
Murray Alper Bartender
Pat Flaherty Sergeant
Byron Foulger Man With Bike
Mary Gordon Old Lady
Jack Overman Man
Ray Teal Hudson
Will Wright Janitor
Richard Reeves Cop
Davis Roberts Freddie

Technical Credits
Anatole Litvak Director,Producer
Russell A. Cully Special Effects
Raymond Hakim Producer
Robert Hakim Producer
Eugène Lourié Production Designer
Sol Polito Cinematographer
Clem Portman Sound/Sound Designer
Aaron Rosenberg Asst. Director
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
Robert Swink Editor
Dimitri Tiomkin Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Richard VanHessen Sound/Sound Designer
John Wexley Screenwriter

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Selection
1. Opening Titles [2:53]
2. Murder! [5:39]
3. Night Falls [5:22]
4. That First Day [4:33]
5. Quiet Rendezvous [7:00]
6. The Jungle [7:44]
7. Prisoner & Prey [8:26]
8. Breakfast With Charlene [6:13]
9. Man To Man [4:42]
10. Jo Ann's Explanation [4:45]
11. The Wallflower's Seduction [7:35]
12. Reconciled [4:21]
13. Giving Charlene The Air [5:36]
14. Jo Ann's Plea [6:36]
15. Fatal Encounter [4:49]
16. Desperate Measures [10:37]

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