The Long Night

  • 1947
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

In this sometimes less-than-effective remake of Marcel Carne's LE JOUR SE LEVE (DAYBREAK, 1939), Fonda is a WW II veteran trying to readjust to civilian life. Fonda opens the film by shooting to death a glib second-rate magician and con man, Price, and then taking refuge in his rooms, barricading himself from police and thinking back on how he got into...read more

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In this sometimes less-than-effective remake of Marcel Carne's LE JOUR SE LEVE (DAYBREAK, 1939), Fonda is a WW II veteran trying to readjust to civilian life. Fonda opens the film by shooting to death a glib second-rate magician and con man, Price, and then taking refuge in his rooms,

barricading himself from police and thinking back on how he got into this mess. He had been a sandblaster in a grimy mill town on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, and we watch in flashback as he meets and falls in love with daydreamer Bel Geddes, who wants desperately to escape her drab life. Price

and his sexy assistant, Dvorak, come to town with their magic show and Price immediately tries to seduce Bel Geddes, while Fonda is attracted to the earthy Dvorak, who tells him that Price is a heel and a wolf who cannot be trusted with Bel Geddes. When he confronts Price, Fonda is told by Price

that Price is really Bel Geddes' father--naturally, a lie--and that Fonda is a no-account and must stay away from her. Price later visits Fonda, apparently to kill him, for reasons less than clear. While threatening Fonda, Price boasts about sexually conquering Bel Geddes, which causes Fonda to

explode. Both men struggle for a gun and Price is killed, which brings us back to the barricaded room and the grim present. As the police charge, Fonda fires back, battling all night long until he is killed. The story is intriguing but Litvak's direction is a bit heavy-handed and Price is so hammy

that no amount of Fonda's considerable talent is able to overcome the mad magician's histrionics. The production values are above average, with excellent lensing by Polito. Fonda chose this part when returning from the service following WW II, wanting to change his image from rich playboy and

romantic lead in light comedies, but the story was too leaden and, despite his fine performance, the film failed at the box office.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: In this sometimes less-than-effective remake of Marcel Carne's LE JOUR SE LEVE (DAYBREAK, 1939), Fonda is a WW II veteran trying to readjust to civilian life. Fonda opens the film by shooting to death a glib second-rate magician and con man, Price, and the… (more)

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