The Long Night
Anatole Litvak's American remake of the 1937 French classic Le Jour se Leve, The Long Night is a barely intelligible mess of flashbacks (and flashbacks within flashbacks). The film moves at such a slow pace that any sense of motivation or plot are nearly impossible to come by. Henry Fonda stars as Joe Adams, a hard working orphan-turned-WWII vet who falls for a nice, innocent girl (Barbara Bel Geddes), also a former orphan. The problem is, she's seeing/being taken advantage of by a sleazy dog show magician (Vincent Price, whose creepy performance is the best thing about the film). Joe, possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, becomes so enraged that the magician may have deflowered his true love that he guns the magician down. Unfortunately, the confusing flashback narrative never makes enough sense for us begin to believe Joe's motivations or care what happens to him after the killing when he is trapped by the police. On the up side, the film does boast some compelling noir photography. Kino Video's Noir series does it justice, having digitally mastered this transfer from the original 1.37:1 35mm nitrate negative and mono soundtrack. Includes an interesting essay on the production design, clips from Le Jour se leve, and a gallery of stills and promotional artwork.