It’s Easter Monday, which means time for a movie that won’t give you any stomach aches. A Night To Remember was made in 1943 and the director was Richard Wallace. Wallace directed over 60 movies from the 20s to the 40s, but his name isn’t very familiar. BBC viewers may remember his movie The Fallen Sparrow, which adorns occasional tv afternoons.
In A Night To Remember, often confused with the Titanic movie made 15 years later, Brian Aherne stars alongside Loretta Young. Aherne is a crime writer, married to Young and about to unpack all of their stuff in the newly rented basement space somewhere in the big city. The couple want to have a drink in a local pub and overhear some gangster-ish type meeting fellow thugs in the couple’s brand new apartment. Though the night passes quietly, morning smacks the couple in the face: they discover there’s a body on the premises. The police suspect Aherne may be behind the murder (after all, a lot of his oeuvre has the word ‘murder’ in the title), but the couple is helped by the fact the house seems to be full of dark personalities.
… oh, and a tortoise. Yes, there’s a tortoise running… sorry… crawling through the house. It’s even the basis of a couple of scary moments: “I feel something touching me… eek… never mind, it’s just the tortoise.”
Anyway, that does give you some indication of how scary this film is. When I bought it, it was presented to me as a film noir. It is not. The closest resemblance is the wonderful crime slash comedy series The Thin Man. Sadly, this does not involve the wonderfulness of Myrna Loy and William Powell, which makes A Night To Remember about as strong as some of the lesser Thin Man output.
The attempts at slapstick humour (i.e. Aherne’s continuing attempts to open the apartment’s sturdy door) are not as fun as they’re meant to be, the crime factor isn’t scary or exciting at all, but the snoozing factor of this film somehow works to its benefit. There’s no real reason to superbly like the movie, but you can’t dislike it either.
The film is out on DVD in Spain, but I had trouble ordering it locally. The best way to obtain this film is still Xploited Cinema (link), as long as they’re still around…
The DVD contains the film in both English and Spanish audio, with optional Portuguese subtitles. The extras department took a day off and you’re left with only a couple of trailers.
Our verdict: 6/10