"It was a dark and stormy night..." and so naturally a mystery writer and his wife decide to move into a spooky Greenwich Village apartment in A NIGHT TO REMEMBER.
Brian Aherne and Loretta Young play Jeff and Nancy, who have decided to move to Greenwich Village so he can soak up the ambience as inspiration for writing his latest novel. Their basement apartment has no electricity, a crazy housekeeper, a door which sticks at inconvenient moments, a tortoise with ghost-like habits, and most disturbingly, a body in their otherwise charming little garden. Naturally, Jeff and Nancy set out to solve the mystery, and all is neatly resolved within 24 hours.
Despite the spooky atmosphere, it's all played for laughs, with Aherne gamely managing to be both urbane and a klutz, and Young quite amusing as his somewhat ditzy, adoring, and very beautiful wife. It's not a classic, but it's a well-made, enjoyable film which provides pleasant company for the length of its 91-minute run time.
The supporting cast is comprised of a long list of pros who all make it work, including Sidney Toler, Gale Sondergaard, Lee Patrick, Jeff Donnell, Donald MacBride, and George Chandler.
A trivia note: 15 years later the title A NIGHT TO REMEMBER was used for perhaps a better-known film, about the Titanic.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER was directed by Richard Wallace. The movie was filmed in black and white by Joseph Walker, who shot many Frank Capra films, as well as comedy classics like HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940), HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1941), and MY SISTER EILEEN (1942).
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is available on VHS.
The movie has had a Region 2 DVD release in Spain. It will be available on Region 1 DVD in the United States on August 4, 2009, as part of the Icons of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 2 set. The set also includes Young's THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE (1940), which was reviewed here, and two Irene Dunne comedies: THEODORA GOES WILD (1936) and TOGETHER AGAIN (1944).
Volume 1, incidentally, will contain two Jean Arthur and two Rosalind Russell films: Arthur's IF YOU COULD ONLY COOK (1935) and TOO MANY HUSBANDS (1940), and Russell's MY SISTER EILEEN (1942) and SHE WOULDN'T SAY YES (1945).
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER was recently shown on Turner Classic Movies, which will be airing the film again on September 2, 2009.
Recommended for fans of husband-wife detective comedies.