Clash by Night (1952)

104-105 mins | Drama | June 1952

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HISTORY

Many aspects of the story were changed for the screen version of Clifford Odets' play, which starred Tallulah Bankhead and Lee J. Cobb on Broadway. In the play, the action takes place in Depression-ravaged Staten Island, NY, and the characters are Polish American. At the end of the play, the cuckolded husband kills his wife's lover. Robert Ryan, who plays "Earl Pfeiffer" in the film, appeared in the Broadway production as "Joe Doyle."
       In Dec 1950, HR announced that RKO was borrowing Joan Crawford from Warner Bros. for the production. According to modern sources, Jeff Chandler and Mala Powers were first considered for the roles of "Earl" and "Peggy." Modern sources note that director Fritz Lang spent one week rehearsing the three main actors before principal photography. Although Keith Andes' onscreen credit includes the statement "and introducing," he had previously appeared in the 1947 RKO film The Farmer's Daughter and the 1949 Film Classics' release Project X (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). RKO borrowed Marilyn Monroe from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production. Although not her first "above-title" film, Clash by Night was Monroe's first significant dramatic role and garnered her much praise. The HR reviewer commented, "Marilyn Monroe proves she deserves starring status with her excellent interpretation," while the DV reviewer noted that, "Miss Monroe...has an ease of delivery which makes her a cinch for popularity, given the right roles."
       According to HR news items, background footage and exterior scenes were shot in Monterey, CA. The film opens with a series of shots depicting life in and ... More Less

Many aspects of the story were changed for the screen version of Clifford Odets' play, which starred Tallulah Bankhead and Lee J. Cobb on Broadway. In the play, the action takes place in Depression-ravaged Staten Island, NY, and the characters are Polish American. At the end of the play, the cuckolded husband kills his wife's lover. Robert Ryan, who plays "Earl Pfeiffer" in the film, appeared in the Broadway production as "Joe Doyle."
       In Dec 1950, HR announced that RKO was borrowing Joan Crawford from Warner Bros. for the production. According to modern sources, Jeff Chandler and Mala Powers were first considered for the roles of "Earl" and "Peggy." Modern sources note that director Fritz Lang spent one week rehearsing the three main actors before principal photography. Although Keith Andes' onscreen credit includes the statement "and introducing," he had previously appeared in the 1947 RKO film The Farmer's Daughter and the 1949 Film Classics' release Project X (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). RKO borrowed Marilyn Monroe from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production. Although not her first "above-title" film, Clash by Night was Monroe's first significant dramatic role and garnered her much praise. The HR reviewer commented, "Marilyn Monroe proves she deserves starring status with her excellent interpretation," while the DV reviewer noted that, "Miss Monroe...has an ease of delivery which makes her a cinch for popularity, given the right roles."
       According to HR news items, background footage and exterior scenes were shot in Monterey, CA. The film opens with a series of shots depicting life in and around the Monterey shore. In a modern interview, Lang described how he and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca spent several days photographing Monterey's marine life, fishing boats and sardine canneries to create the documentary-like opening. Lang also shot footage of the annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies in San Pedro, CA, but that scene was not included in the final film. A Jun 1952 DV item stated that William H. Mooring, film critic for the Los Angeles Catholic newspaper The Tidings , prevailed upon producers Jerry Wald and Harriet Parsons to delete two scenes from the script. Both scenes, which Mooring felt ridiculed religion and belittled the Church, had to do with the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony.
       Barbara Stanwyck won the Motion Picture Exhibitor's "Laurel" award for her performance in the picture. After the film's release, the song "I Hear a Rhapsody" became a hit for Tony Martin. Modern sources add Bob Ewing ( Makeup artist ), Tony Lombardo ( Prop master ) and Marjorie Plecher ( Supv of Monroe's ward ) to the crew. On 13 Jun 1957, the CBS television network broadcast an adaptation of Odets' play on its Playhouse 90 program. John Frankenheimer directed Kim Stanley, E. G. Marshall and Lloyd Bridges in the production. The BBC network broadcast another version on 14 Jul 1959, starring Sam Wanamaker and Patricia Neal. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 May 1952.
---
Daily Variety
14 May 52
p. 3.
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1952.
---
Film Daily
16 May 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Dec 50
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 51
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 51
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 52
p. 3.
Look
3 Jun 52
pp. 106-08.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 May 52
p. 1366.
New York Times
18 Jun 52
p. 31.
New York Times
19 Jun 52
p. 32.
New Yorker
28 Jun 1952.
---
Newsweek
2 Jun 1952.
---
Time
9 Jun 1952.
---
Variety
14 May 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Pres
WRITERS
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Loc mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Clash by Night by Clifford Odets, as produced by Billy Rose (New York, 29 Dec 1941).
SONGS
"I Hear a Rhapsody," words and music by Dick Gasparre, Jack Baker and George Fragos, sung by Tony Martin.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1952
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 June 1952
New York opening: 18 June 1952
Production Date:
8 October--early December 1951
addl scenes late January 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Wald-Krasna Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 May 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1766
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
104-105
Length(in feet):
9,432
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15599
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a seaside Monterey bar, burly fisherman Jerry D'Amato becomes excited when he bumps into Mae Doyle, a girl from his youth who has just returned home. The sophisticated but unhappy Mae fails to recognize Jerry and goes off to find her younger brother Joe. Joe, who helps Jerry on his boat, is less than pleased by Mae's arrival, even though he has not seen her in ten years. When she admits that she made a mistake by becoming involved with an older man who turned out to be married, however, Joe's attitude softens a little. Joe's girl friend Peggy, who works at the local sardine cannery, is awestruck by the worldly Mae and confides that, like Mae before her, she yearns for excitement and does not want to be bossed around by a man. Later, at the fishing docks, the kind but awkward Jerry asks Joe about Mae's availability, and Joe encourages Jerry to invite her out. During their first date at the local movie theater, Jerry introduces Mae to his best friend, projectionist Earl Pfeiffer. Mae is attracted to the cynical Earl, but dismisses him sharply when he subjects her to a misogynistic tirade about his burlesque dancer wife. Sometime later, while on a night boat ride with Mae, Jerry brings up the subject of marriage, but Mae gently maintains that she is not the "wife type." However, after a disturbing, drunken flirtation with Earl, Mae, who has told Earl that she desires men who make her feel confident and alive, agrees to marry Jerry. At the wedding reception, Earl insists on kissing Mae, and when she resists his ... +


In a seaside Monterey bar, burly fisherman Jerry D'Amato becomes excited when he bumps into Mae Doyle, a girl from his youth who has just returned home. The sophisticated but unhappy Mae fails to recognize Jerry and goes off to find her younger brother Joe. Joe, who helps Jerry on his boat, is less than pleased by Mae's arrival, even though he has not seen her in ten years. When she admits that she made a mistake by becoming involved with an older man who turned out to be married, however, Joe's attitude softens a little. Joe's girl friend Peggy, who works at the local sardine cannery, is awestruck by the worldly Mae and confides that, like Mae before her, she yearns for excitement and does not want to be bossed around by a man. Later, at the fishing docks, the kind but awkward Jerry asks Joe about Mae's availability, and Joe encourages Jerry to invite her out. During their first date at the local movie theater, Jerry introduces Mae to his best friend, projectionist Earl Pfeiffer. Mae is attracted to the cynical Earl, but dismisses him sharply when he subjects her to a misogynistic tirade about his burlesque dancer wife. Sometime later, while on a night boat ride with Mae, Jerry brings up the subject of marriage, but Mae gently maintains that she is not the "wife type." However, after a disturbing, drunken flirtation with Earl, Mae, who has told Earl that she desires men who make her feel confident and alive, agrees to marry Jerry. At the wedding reception, Earl insists on kissing Mae, and when she resists his ardor, he storms off. Later, after the birth of Jerry and Mae's daughter Gloria, Jerry's freeloading uncle Vince complains that Mae is too controlling and accuses Jerry of being henpecked. That night, the now-divorced Earl shows up at the D'Amatos', drunk, and rants about women and marriage until he passes out in their living room. The next morning, before Jerry leaves for work, Mae surprises him by asking for a goodbye kiss. A hung-over Earl then wakes up and questions Mae about the health of her marriage. Sensing that she has resigned herself to a dull life with Jerry, Earl kisses her forcibly. Mae rebuffs him, but later, after a joyful Peggy comes by the D'Amatos' to announce her engagement to Joe, Earl again kisses Mae, who finally gives in to her passions. Sometime later, Jerry rescues his father from a barroom fight but cannot get the old man to discuss the argument. The vindictive Vince, however, informs Jerry that the town has been gossiping about Mae and Earl and that his father was defending the family name. Angry and indignant, Jerry drives Vince out of his house, then tries to force his father to talk. When Papa again refuses, Jerry searches Mae's things and finds some perfume and lingerie at the bottom of a drawer. As soon as Mae and Earl return to the house, having spent the day together, Jerry confronts them with the items. Mae finally confesses that she is having an affair with Earl but maintains that she was driven to it through boredom and loneliness. Deeply wounded, Jerry calls Mae and Earl "animals" and runs off. Earl advises Mae to leave town with him, but she is reluctant to go until she knows that Jerry is safe. Later, Mae finds Jerry at home and tells him that she is in love with Earl and is running away with him. Jerry tries to change Mae's mind, then screams threats when she reveals that she intends to take Gloria. Terrified of Jerry's wrath, Mae leaves the house without Gloria and goes to Joe's place to pack. While Joe condemns his sister's actions, Peggy offers her sympathy. Still enraged, Jerry, meanwhile, shows up at the movie theater and starts to choke Earl. Mae arrives in time to stop Jerry, who throws her across the room before coming to his senses. Soon after, Mae and Earl return to Jerry's to pick up Gloria, but discover the baby gone. When Papa condemns Mae and refuses to reveal where Jerry took Gloria, Mae starts to have second thoughts about leaving. Unconcerned, Earl insists that they can go without Gloria, prompting Mae to realize that she has spent her entire marriage running away from her responsibilities. Disgusted by Mae's expressions of guilt, Earl announces that he is departing, with or without her. In response, Mae declares that she is taking her chances with her husband and heads for Jerry's boat. There, Mae asks Jerry to forgive her and insists that she has changed. While admitting that he may never be able to trust her, Jerry accepts Mae's apologies and agrees to try again. Jerry then tells Mae that Gloria is asleep on the bunk, and she quietly goes to her baby. +

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

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