Night Must Fall
Emlyn Williams' theatrical horror piece Night Must Fall was filmed by MGM without the usual studio-imposed happy ending. Robert Montgomery stars as Danny, a wickedly charming Irish bellhop who wins the confidence of an elderly invalid (Dame May Whitty). The old woman's niece (Rosalind Russell) is not so easily swayed by Danny's blarney, but she finds him strangely attractive, especially when he exhibits a streak of viciousness. Even when the possibility arises that Danny is a wanted murderer, Rosalind is hesitant to call the police. The film's final scene, in which Danny ambles around the house carrying a hatbox that may or may not contain Ms. Whitty's head, is unforgettable. Robert Montgomery fought long and hard with MGM for the right to play the murderous Danny; the studio heads finally gave in, hoping that the actor would fall on his face and cease to bother him. That Night Must Fall was a success is evidenced by the willingness of MGM to remake the property in 1964; the resultant film was a gore-encrusted opus that had not one tenth of the original's quality.