|A Night to Remember (1942)
Run time: Approved | 91 min | Comedy, Mystery, Romance
Director: Richard Wallace
Writers: Kelley Roos, Richard Flournoy
Stars: Loretta Young, Brian Aherne, Jeff Donnell
A mystery writer and his wife become detectives when they find a body in their Greenwich Village apartment. This bright
comedy-mystery has some hilarious lines. Smart performances.
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I have really enjoyed watching this fun murder mystery with Loretta Young and Brian Ahern. Not high drama or suspense but more a of comedy murder mystery. From Hollywoods golden era and they just don’t make them like this anymore. Loretta Young was always very watchable and this role is no exception. Brian Ahern had a comedic flair that comes through in this flick. The two of them are wonderful together and the husband and wife banter is delightful. The rest of the cast includes some of Hollywoods best character actors in solid support of the stars. It is just great fun to watch and these kind of films are, in my opinion, what made the Golden Era of motion pictures so great. Hope you all enjoy.
From the Title, I expected to see yet another Titanic movie and was pleasurably surprised by this charmer. I love a good mystery story and a witty comedy mystery is always an extra pleasure. This is a delightful little Mystery/Comedy in the same genre as Topper Returns and The Ex-Mrs. Bradford: Both knock-offs of The Thin Man series.
Ms. Young and Mr. Aherne play a young married couple that move into a Greenwich Apartment to soak up atmosphere so he can write a Mystery novel. They find themselves involved in a real murder mystery which Briane Aherne sets out to solve himself so that he can write about it and thereby write a good murder mystery; as he explains to his wife, all his stories up to now have been "corny". It’s not the mystery being clever that makes this such a good movie, but then The Thin Man movies are not known for their Mystery stories either; it is the byplay between the husband and wife that makes the movie so very enjoyable. It is the same with this movie, the Mystery is clever enough to keep you watching and the stars of the movie have charm and charisma aplenty to make this movie a real keeper.
Loretta Young and Brian Aherne have "A Night to Remember" in this 1943 film about a couple that moves into a Greenwich Village apartment which turns out to be full of murder and mayhem. It sports an interesting supporting cast, including Sidney Toler of "Charlie Chan" fame, Lee Patrick, Gale Sondergaard, and Jeff Donnell.
First of all, much as I liked this film, I'll go on record as saying that I can't believe Loretta Young was so anxious to get out of 20th Century Fox if this is the best anyone could come up with for her. Columbia wasn't at the top of the heap anyway, and this seems like a throwaway even for them. It's very light fare.
Young and Aherne play the Troys, who move into a basement apartment at 13 Gay Street in Greenwich Village. Besides the cast, this is the main reason I liked this film. I used to live a couple of blocks from Gay Street, and 12 Gay Street is where the sisters in "My Sister Eileen" lived. In the '50's and early '60's, #10 Gay Street was home to Alice Ghostley, and her husband Felice Orlandi. Neighbors on another floor were Bea Arthur & Gene Saks. Close friend Paul Lynde was across the street at 123 Waverly Place, and Kaye Ballard was close by on 5th Ave. They all just walked to work at the Bon Soir, when they played that room.
Tired and hungry, the Troys go out to dinner. They run into a friend of Nancy Troy's, Virginia (Donnell) who acts strangely. When Nancy goes into a phone booth, she hears someone setting up a meeting in her apartment! Strange goings on indeed. And when they find a co-diner at the restaurant dead in their backyard, things become stranger yet.
"A Night to Remember" moves quickly enough, and it's delightful, but probably a little miscast. Someone a little wackier than the stunning Young might have a better choice for the wife. Aherne, a very good actor, isn't quite at home in this milieu either. "A Night to Remember" resembles "Footsteps in the Dark" with Errol Flynn. Aherne was a better actor, but Flynn had a lighter touch and more charm. Alas, I think Aherne spent a lot of time in Flynn's shadow.
I still love the movie despite its problems. Vintage 1943 – nothing wrong with that.
Sprightly comedy-mystery that holds up thanks mainly to Brian Aherne's expert fumbling with petty annoyances. All in all, he cooks roasts about as well as he opens doors, that is, not without considerable practice. He's supposed to be a mystery writer, but as a real-life sleuth, he's about as effective as an American Clouseau. I think I detect some subtle spoofing of the many amateur detectives of the period (Ellery Queen, The Saint, Boston Blackie, et. al.). And it doesn't hurt that Charlie Chan (Sydney Toler) turns up as a police inspector. Watch Jeff (Aherne) get decked in a fight, get about every clue wrong, get weak at the sight of a corpse, and generally behave like the anti-Sherlock. Good thing he's back- stopped by gorgeously competent wife Nancy (Loretta Young). As the charmingly inept Jeff, Britisher Aherne is simply superb, and, I would think, at the apex of his American career.
Also, it appears the concept may have started off as a stage play since the action is mainly confined to Jeff & Nancy's dingy apartment. However that may be, the supporting cast is a collection of lively and familiar faces, especially Hollywood's favorite dumb cop, rubber-faced Donald McBride (Bolling), along with the grandly smitten furniture mover James Burke. The fractured events all move at a sure-handed pace thanks to veteran comedy director Richard Wallace. My one complaint is that better use is not made of the best dragon-lady of the period, Gale Sondergaard (Mrs. Devoe), who's often sinister enough to scare the stitches off Frankenstein's neck. Here however she plays it fairly boring and straight. Anyway, it's a nifty little comedy with a good mix of laughs and chills, and I expect war-weary audiences of the day (1942) found it great escapist entertainment that holds up well, even today. (Alsobe sure to catch the amusingly apt very last frame.)