Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|So Ends Our Night|
Actors: Fredric March, Margaret Sullavan, Frances Dee, Glenn Ford, Anna Sten
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Kids & Family, Military & War
Based on Erich Maria Remarque's novel Flotsam - the film zeroes in on three German refugees during World War II who are at the beck and call of the Nazis, always hiding, always in fear of deportation. The settings for t... more »
Depressing but well done tale of expatriots in WW II
A. Andersen | Bellows Falls, VT USA | 08/18/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very depressing but well done adaptation of Remarque's novel FLOTSAM - those without passports who are at the beck and call of all nations' police forces, always hiding, always being deported - set in WW II Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Margaret Sullavan shines in one of her finest performances as a Jewish chemist who must flee the Nazis. A very young Glenn Ford gives a fine performance as the idealistic young man who befriends her. Fredric March stars but his story is far less interesting than theirs. Oscar nom for Score. One riveting scene early on as March follows estranged wife (Frances Dee) in market place, saying farewell to her as she walks, unable to respond or notice him for fear of his arrest. Dee's face in this sequence is astonishing - a great moment in cinema!"
Fascism's Human Cost: Moving, and Still Relevant
History Reader | United States | 01/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just saw this over the weekend for the first time on dvd, though I'd seen it in college and never quite forgot it. The impact of Erich Maria Remarque's story of German refugees in Europe must've been enormous to those few who saw this sparsely distributed movie in 1940/1941.
The Historical Context
This film, made prior to the American entry to the war but after the fall of France, may have helped to prepare the American public for the coming war, as in The Mortal Storm and The Man I Married and like the later movie, Watch on the Rhine, gave the issues involved a human face, but is much more profoundly fatalistic than any of those other movies. Even at the somewhat hopeful conclusion, and especially since we view this movie today after the Holocaust was revealed, the doomed atmosphere that pervades alot of the action is still sobering over a distance of 65 years.
I couldn't help thinking that the theme of the movie is still sadly relevant throughout the world. Another interesting aspect of the film is something that I cannot answer but hope that some well informed individual might be able to help with eventually. I don't see how this movie could've gotten a production code approval. Some of the outré aspects of the story include a woman offering herself quite frankly to a March and removing her outer garments, the fact that two characters live together--in sin, as they used to say, and the fact that a sympathetic character commits suicide, an event that the film treats as an act of heroism. The print that I saw says that the movie was made by David L. Loew-Albert Lewin, Inc., and distributed theatrically by United Artists--but could movies really be distributed much of anywhere without the explicit okay of the production code at that time? I realize that Loew and Lewin had deep connections to MGM and bigtime money in Hollywood and NY, but I really doubt if the filmmakers would've been willing or able to pay any of the fines that the Production Code office may have imposed for a violation of their principles.
I found the restrained and touching performance of Fredric March as an Aryan German who was opposed to the Nazi government to be the centerpiece of this movie, even though he's only in about half the scenes. The expression on his face in one scene in which he's trying to catch a glimpse of his wife's face in a crowd just before leaving her to go into exile is very moving. Frances Dee as the wife is very expressive in her brief, nearly silent but haunting scenes. March's resilient spirit, and his deeply effective final scene, the antics of Leonid Kinskey, and a lovely, relaxed performance from Anna Sten, add to the interest of this film for me.
Margaret Sullavan, whom I usually find to be a magnetic actress, seems at somewhat of a low ebb in this film. Yet, there is one vibrantly delivered speech that she gives about why she loves the puppy-like Glenn Ford that shows a flash of her ability to breath life into material. She is suddenly, for that one sequence an actress who makes the viewer understand that politics aside, its the connections of Sullavan, March, Ford and Dee to one another that keeps each of these characters tethered to their humanity despite everything that they are going through. Ford, playing a very believable teenager who is the child of an Aryan & Jewish marriage, is earnest and most affecting in his reminiscences of home and longing for a peaceful existence.
The script is heavily reliant on flashbacks and narration, and at times it was a bit hard to keep track of which nation the refugees found themselves in, though overall, the strong leads and great supporting players, who also include Erich Von Stroheim, Sig Rumann, and Roman Bohnen, manage to rise above the sometimes disjointed script . The issuance of the film to dvd is welcome, but unfortunately, the picture quality of the transfer is sometimes overly bright and occasionally fuzzy, and the sound is a bit muddy at times, but it is adequate, and the good acting, compelling story and excellent direction by the underestimated John Cromwell still make it quite watchable.
In general, I'd hope that others might comment on this movie, and suggest it for viewing by those interested in that period's "premature" anti-fascist films.
Picture fantastic, but, oh the sound!
G. Alan Hicks | 08/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As all previous reviews state, the story and picture quality are more than adequate on this DVD release. The sound, however -- at least on my DVD -- sounds like it was mastered over a Trans-Atlantic telephone line. I get the feeling of rushing water every time I watch it. It doesn't muddy the dialogue too much, but it definitely could have been mastered using better soundtrack elements."