The leading lady is recovering from a nervous breakdown, another performer is soused on the set, unions threaten to walk, shooting must finish before the insurance lapses and a cat can't hit its mark. Is this any way to ma... more »ke a film? FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT's sly, humorous OscarO-winning Best Foreign Language Film (1973) that speaks the language of everyone who loves movies. JACQUELINE BISSET, JEAN-PIERRE AUMONT, VALENTINA CORTESE, NATHALIE BAYE and Truffaut star.« less
"La Nuit Américaine is an interesting movie with celebrated French director Francois Truffaut playing a director making a movie. He proves to be a modest and convincing actor himself while patiently weaving a tale about how movies are made and how intense the emotional interactions among those making the movie can be.Don't give up on this one too soon. It starts slow and seems almost amateurish because of the relatively low-tech way the film within the film is being shot. Truffaut gives us a glimpse of how the production crew works together (and sometimes at odds) while showing us some of the things that can go wrong while making a movie. He begins with the technical details of the production but before long begins to concentrate on the personalities of the movie-makers and their individual stories. Each story is carefully crafted in a somewhat leisurely way almost like the characterizations in a soap opera (without of course the phony drama and mass market sentimentality seen on TV). Truffaut's fine sense of emotional conflict and how conflict might be resolved makes the various stories touching without being maudlin.Jacqueline Bisset who stars as English actress Julia Baker who plays the title role in the film within the film (May I Introduce Pamela?) doesn't make her appearance until about a fourth of the way in. She is a delight as an actress with a heart of gold recovering from a nervous breakdown married to an older man whom she does indeed love. Jean-Pierre Leaud, whom most viewers will recall as the running boy in Truffaut's The 400 Blows, plays a young and not entirely confident actor who gets jilted by the script girl who runs off with the stunt man during production. Bisset's warm and sisterly befriending of Leaud is, shall we say, entirely French (which gets her into trouble with her husband). This really is a skillful showcasing of Bisset since she gets to play something like an ingenue with her husband and the older woman with Leaud. Be careful you might fall in love with her.Valentina Cortese in a fine supporting role does a most convincing job of playing the temperamental Italian actress just past her prime who quaffs champagne while working, who forgets her lines and can't find the right door, but when properly indulged gives a great performance.My problem with this movie is I saw the dubbed version and of course that is disconcerting because one is constantly trying to reconcile the visualized actor with the dubbed one. To see Jacqueline Bisset who is beautifully fluent in both English and French speaking French while at the same time hearing someone else speaking English for her is just a bit too much to take. I understand that the DVD version is in French with subtitles. I would recommend that you get that and not the dubbed video.Truffaut is the kind of director who allows the audience to penetrate not only his characters to see what makes them tick, but also the stars who play those characters. He does a particularly beautiful job with Bisset who is warm and wise and something close to heroic, and with Leaud whose childishness seems natural and whose pettiness forgivable. Don't believe those reviewers who think this is a slight film. It is carefully crafted and very well thought out and is a fine example of the work of the one of the great directors of the French cinema. See it for Truffaut whose delicate genius is evident throughout."
It's Finally Here With Subtitles!
Michael Weber | Atlanta | 03/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For years i have been not watching this film -- one of my very favourites -- because it was only available on VHS in an abysmally-dubbed version.Well, now it's on DVD with the original French track and subtitles in English, and it's just as great as i've been remembering it from the last chance i had to see it theatrically.The video transfer looks excellent, the sound is good, and the film is the film.And there are goodies galore on the DVD as well; i haven't finished all of them yet.If you haven't seen this film, now is the time to do so.((The dubbed track is included for people who simply can't deal with subtitles.))"
redbank2 | Red Bank, NJ | 02/08/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This was one of the movies that when I first saw it made me love the cinema even more...Now, with this horribly dubbed English version, how can anyone stand to watch it?...Whoever is responsible for this version should never be allowed to have anything to do with the movies ever again..."
Fantastic film........one of Truffaut's best.....
D. Pawl | Seattle | 02/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those of you who haven't seen any films by the late, great French director, Francois Truffaut, Day For Night (French title: La Nuit Americaine) is a great introduction. This actually won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and it is evident why. Day For Night is really a valentine to Francois Truffaut's love affair with cinema. This is a great and intriguing story (a sort of film within a film approach). Ferrand (played by Truffaut) is the hardworking film director, trying to line all of his ducks in a row, to film and complete his movie, "Je Vous Presente Pamela." As is often the case, nothing is going quite as was planned. For starters, his beautiful lead, Julie (Jacqueline Bisset), is recovering from a breakdown. Her co-star (Jean Pierre Leaud) is completely unreliable, and Severine (Valentina Cortese), an aging actress, is hitting the bottle pretty hard during the filming of their picture. What's more, all sorts of other intrigues are taking place between members of the crew (romantic and otherwise).
I love this shot because it almost seems like a pseudo-documentary, as well as a loving tribute to the blood, sweat and tears that go into making a film. How great that Truffaut got in front of the camera for this piece. He really should have done it more often. This film is equally funny and touching and I highly reccomend it."
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 12/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Firstly a tip for those of you who long for a subtitled version of DAY FOR NIGHT. You can buy now at www.amazon.fr an incredible 2 DVD edition of François Truffaut's masterpiece. French and dubbed version and a boatload of extras including rare footage of Truffaut interviews. Needless to say that the images and the sound are perfect. But BEWARE, you have to own a DVD player able to read zone 2 DVD's.In my opinion, if you must choose three titles in Truffaut's filmography, take THE 400 BLOWS, JULES AND JIM and DAY FOR NIGHT. With those titles, you'll have in your library the quintessence of his work. A movie for your library."