So Ends Our Night (1941)

120-121 mins | Drama | 14 February 1941

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Flotsam . The film opens with the following written foreword: "When the present rulers of Germany came into power, thousands of people, compelled to take refuge in neighbouring countries, found themselves in the most fantastic dilemma of our times. For they had no passports, those all-important papers which enable a person to enter and remain in a country other than his own. Without passports, these refugees had no legal right to live anywhere. They were forced to keep on the march--an endless march interrupted only by arrest and imprisonment for illegal entry. Then deportation into another country where the same fate awaited them. This is a story of the people without passports. It begins in Vienna in 1937, before the German occupation of Austria." Louis Gruenberg was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic Picture) for his work on the picture. David L. Loew and Albert Lewin formed their production company in Jan 1940; this was their first film. So Ends Our Night also marked the first screen credit for producer-director Stanley ... More Less

The working title of this film was Flotsam . The film opens with the following written foreword: "When the present rulers of Germany came into power, thousands of people, compelled to take refuge in neighbouring countries, found themselves in the most fantastic dilemma of our times. For they had no passports, those all-important papers which enable a person to enter and remain in a country other than his own. Without passports, these refugees had no legal right to live anywhere. They were forced to keep on the march--an endless march interrupted only by arrest and imprisonment for illegal entry. Then deportation into another country where the same fate awaited them. This is a story of the people without passports. It begins in Vienna in 1937, before the German occupation of Austria." Louis Gruenberg was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic Picture) for his work on the picture. David L. Loew and Albert Lewin formed their production company in Jan 1940; this was their first film. So Ends Our Night also marked the first screen credit for producer-director Stanley Kramer. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Feb 1941.
---
Film Daily
27 Jan 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 1940.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 40
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 41
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
25 Jan 1941.
---
New York Times
28 Feb 41
p. 17.
The Exhibitor
22 Jan 41
p. 681.
Variety
29 Jan 41
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
STAND INS
Stand-in
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Flotsam by Erich Maria Remarque (Boston, 1941).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Flotsam
Release Date:
14 February 1941
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 21 January 1941
Miami, FL premiere: 24 January 1941
Production Date:
late August--mid October 1940
Copyright Claimant:
David L. Loew-Albert Lewin, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 January 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10200
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
120-121
Length(in feet):
10,910
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In Austria in 1937, some German refugees are awakened in their hotel and arrested. During questioning by Austrian customs officials, refugee Ludwig Kern admits that because he is Jewish, he and his family were stripped of their nationality and passport. Ludwig is sentenced to forty days in prison for illegal entry, after which he will be deported. Josef Steiner, a German political dissident, then is questioned by Gestapo official Brenner, who offers him a passport in exchange for the names of the men who helped him escape from a prison camp. Josef refuses the offer, and as Brenner has no jurisdiction in Austria, is given the same sentence as Ludwig. Josef and Ludwig share a room with "The Chicken," so named because he dreams of eating roasted chicken, "The Pole," and a man arrested for pickpocketing and gambling. Josef, who is already talented at card tricks, learns more cardsharping from the gambler and advises Ludwig that he must toughen up to survive. Ludwig and Josef become fast friends and are released into the woods to cross the border into Czechoslovakia. That night, Josef, an Aryan who opposes the Nazis, recalls the last time he saw his wife Marie: After escaping from prison camp, Josef hides in a friend's attic, while his friend delivers a letter to his wife. When his friend is unable to get near Marie for fear of his own life, Josef decides to leave Germany permanently. Dressed as a day laborer, Josef goes to the marketplace where Marie regularly shops, and walks behind her as if they are strangers. After vowing his undying love, Josef urges her to divorce ... +


In Austria in 1937, some German refugees are awakened in their hotel and arrested. During questioning by Austrian customs officials, refugee Ludwig Kern admits that because he is Jewish, he and his family were stripped of their nationality and passport. Ludwig is sentenced to forty days in prison for illegal entry, after which he will be deported. Josef Steiner, a German political dissident, then is questioned by Gestapo official Brenner, who offers him a passport in exchange for the names of the men who helped him escape from a prison camp. Josef refuses the offer, and as Brenner has no jurisdiction in Austria, is given the same sentence as Ludwig. Josef and Ludwig share a room with "The Chicken," so named because he dreams of eating roasted chicken, "The Pole," and a man arrested for pickpocketing and gambling. Josef, who is already talented at card tricks, learns more cardsharping from the gambler and advises Ludwig that he must toughen up to survive. Ludwig and Josef become fast friends and are released into the woods to cross the border into Czechoslovakia. That night, Josef, an Aryan who opposes the Nazis, recalls the last time he saw his wife Marie: After escaping from prison camp, Josef hides in a friend's attic, while his friend delivers a letter to his wife. When his friend is unable to get near Marie for fear of his own life, Josef decides to leave Germany permanently. Dressed as a day laborer, Josef goes to the marketplace where Marie regularly shops, and walks behind her as if they are strangers. After vowing his undying love, Josef urges her to divorce him so the Nazis will leave her alone. Josef glimpses Marie one last time when they pass each other on the street, then leaves Germany for good. Josef now returns to Vienna so he can receive letters about his wife, and uses his newfound skills at cards to win a card game. After narrowly escaping the angry players who accuse him of cheating, Josef buys a passport and a new identity as "Johann Huber." Ludwig, meanwhile, finally arrives in Prague, where he hopes to reunite with his father. Unable to find his father, Ludwig takes up residence in a small hotel, where he meets Ruth Holland, another Jewish refugee. When Ludwig tells her that they must forget their past, Ruth recalls the event that prompted her to flee Germany: Ruth, who is studying to be a chemist, complains to her fiancé Herbert that she will have to give up school because of religious persecution. Herbert unfeelingly tells her that her religion has also caused him trouble and that he wished she had died along with her parents. In the present, Ludwig takes Ruth to the movies to relieve some of their tension, and they fall in love. After Ruth leaves for Vienna, a Refugee Committee tells Ludwig that his father committed suicide, Ludwig travels to Vienna and finds Josef working as an amusement park barker. Josef's sympathetic boss, Leopold Potzloch, hires Ludwig to be beautiful Lilo's assistant in the shooting gallery, and both Lilo and Leopold carefully instruct Ludwig to use weighted slugs if someone starts to win. Ruth, meanwhile, has been continuing her education in Vienna, but her kind professor, Meyer, tells her she will have to leave. Feeling the loss, Ruth finds Ludwig at the carnival and they reunite. One night, after an Austrian police chief enjoys a winning streak at the shooting gallery, Ludwig uses one of the special bullets. The police chief is a sore loser and accuses Ludwig of cheating him. Ruth intervenes when he demands to see Ludwig's passport, but Ludwig attacks the policeman for insulting Ruth. Ludwig is thrown in jail with the Chicken and the Pole. After his release, Ludwig finds Ruth in Zurich living at the luxurious apartment of her childhood friend. In Austria, meanwhile, Josef escapes from the carnival when the Nazis invade. Ludwig and Ruth are fleeing across the Swiss mountains together toward Paris, until Ruth falls ill and goes into the hospital. Ludwig is then arrested because of a complaint filed by Ammers, a Nazi spy to whom Ludwig attempted to sell perfume. When Ludwig is released from jail, he goes to Geneva, where a recovered Ruth eventually meets him. In Paris, they reunite with their friends, Professor Meyer, Josef, the Chicken and the Pole. While the refugees celebrate in a café, Meyer tells Ludwig that a French professor would like to marry Ruth, which would guarantee her French citizenship. Later that night, Ludwig tells Ruth about Meyer's suggestion, but Ruth flatly refuses. Although work is scarce, the refugees are hired as cheap labor at a construction site. One day, Josef receives word that his wife is mortally ill, and although Ludwig tries to dissuade him, Josef goes to Germany and is immediately arrested. Josef is questioned by a Gestapo colonel and Brenner, and agrees to give up the names of his friends if they will allow him to spend two days with Marie. Brenner reluctantly grants Josef this time, and he learns that Marie never filed for divorce. After she dies, Brenner leads Josef down a staircase and demands the names. Rather than confess, Josef pushes Brenner off a high landing to his death. In Paris, meanwhile, Ludwig is arrested and detained at a prison camp, and Ruth goes to see Durant, the uncle of the professor who fell in love with her, and threatens to marry his nephew if he does not help her free Ludwig. Although Durant realizes he is being blackmailed, he admires Ruth's spirit and agrees to help. Durant obtains a passport for Ruth, but needs money to pay a lawyer for Ludwig's passport. When Josef's Parisian friend Leo receives news of his death, he gives Ruth Josef's savings, which Josef had left behind for the couple should he not survive. Ruth finds Ludwig just as he is being deported, and saves him with the newly bought passport. Now that they have legal passports, Ruth and Ludwig dream of marrying and emigrating to the United States. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.