Friday, December 25, 2015

Stanwick + Stanwyck (for Stanwyck or Stanwick)

I love Preston Sturges films, and this little-known gem from 1940 (the last screenplay Sturges wrote before going on to direct), was bound to be no exception. Mitchell Leisen's Remember the Night, starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck (paired again four years later in Double Indemnity), is an odd but charming cinematic hybrid—equal parts romantic comedy, Christmas movie, and courtroom drama. Known for her sizzling yet plain-spoken persona during the "Pre-Code" thirties and as a bit of a "tough broad" in general, Stanwyck plays a rather cavalier shoplifter of expensive jewelry, while MacMurray, in an equally tough but softhearted role (twenty years before his pater familias in My Three Sons reared its reasonable head), is the smitten attorney who manages to take her home for the holidays, instead of off to trial, at least, that is, for a little while. All ends almost happily for these two—along with love, capitalism, and the American legal system. Although Preston Sturges always makes sure both sides are clearly heard from. Today's typo was apprehended once in OhioLINK, and 53 times in WorldCat.

(Cropped screenshot of Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck from the trailer for the film Remember the Night, 1940, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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