Night Must Fall (1937)

115 or 117 mins | Mystery | 30 April 1937

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writer:

John Van Druten

Producer:

Hunt Stromberg

Cinematographer:

Ray June

Editor:

Robert J. Kern

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The opening credits read: "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell in the Astonishing London and New York Stage Success Night Must Fall ." The names of actors Dame May Whitty, Alan Marshall, Merle Tuttenham and Kathleen Harrison appear after the title, however, in the cast and character credits, the actors are listed in the order of their appearance. According to a HR news item, Charles Bickford was at one time sought for a loanout from Paramount for the film for the role of Danny. According to other HR news items, portions of the film were shot on location in Sherwood Forest and Redondo Beach, CA. The Redondo Beach location, which one news item noted utilized the services of its "entire costermonger [street vendor] colony," was apparently cut from the film before its preview. A carnival sequence, which may also have been shot in Redondo Beach and required 350 extras, was also cut from the film. Whitty, Tuttenham, Harrison and and Matthew Boulton all appeared in the London version of the play in which author Emlyn Williams played "Danny." Whitty and Boulton also appeared in the 1936 Broadway production with Williams. Whitty received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in this film. Montgomery was also nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Actor. Other adaptations of Williams' play include a 1964 British film directed by Karel Reisz starring Albert Finney and Mona Washbourne and a 1956 NBC Television ... More Less

The opening credits read: "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell in the Astonishing London and New York Stage Success Night Must Fall ." The names of actors Dame May Whitty, Alan Marshall, Merle Tuttenham and Kathleen Harrison appear after the title, however, in the cast and character credits, the actors are listed in the order of their appearance. According to a HR news item, Charles Bickford was at one time sought for a loanout from Paramount for the film for the role of Danny. According to other HR news items, portions of the film were shot on location in Sherwood Forest and Redondo Beach, CA. The Redondo Beach location, which one news item noted utilized the services of its "entire costermonger [street vendor] colony," was apparently cut from the film before its preview. A carnival sequence, which may also have been shot in Redondo Beach and required 350 extras, was also cut from the film. Whitty, Tuttenham, Harrison and and Matthew Boulton all appeared in the London version of the play in which author Emlyn Williams played "Danny." Whitty and Boulton also appeared in the 1936 Broadway production with Williams. Whitty received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in this film. Montgomery was also nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Actor. Other adaptations of Williams' play include a 1964 British film directed by Karel Reisz starring Albert Finney and Mona Washbourne and a 1956 NBC Television play. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1-May-37
---
Daily Variety
17 Apr 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Mar 37
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 37
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 37
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 37
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 37
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 37
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 37
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 37
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 37
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 37
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 37
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Apr 37
p. 66.
New York Times
30 Apr 37
p. 17.
Variety
5 May 37
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Night Must Fall by Emlyn Williams (London, 31 May 1935).
DETAILS
Release Date:
30 April 1937
Production Date:
8 February--31 March 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
28 May 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7118
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
115 or 117
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3252
SYNOPSIS

In a small English village, the police drag the river, searching for the body of Mrs. Shellbrook, who has been missing for several days. Meanwhile, at the home of Mrs. Bramson, a churlish, elderly woman who pretends to need a wheelchair, the maid Dora tells her mistress that her Irish boyfriend, Danny, works for Mrs. Shellbrook. Danny, who knows that Mrs. Bramson is a hypochondriac and only pretends to need a wheelchair, is very solicitous toward her. He tells her that she reminds him of his mother, then says that he loves Dora and would marry her if he had a better job. Mrs. Bramson's niece and companion, Olivia Grayne, is suspicious of Danny, but Mrs. Bramson stubbornly refuses to listen to her. Soon Mrs. Bramson's attorney, Justin Laurie, arrives to give Mrs. Bramson some money, and warns her not to keep much cash around the cottage, but she is unconcerned. Meanwhile, Justin, who is in love with Olivia, asks her to marry him, but she refuses because she yearns for something "romantic" to happen. After Justin leaves, Mrs. Bramson puts money into her safe and is secretly observed by Danny. A short time later, Danny purchases a scarf in the village and gives it to Mrs. Bramson, saying that it belonged to his mother. Olivia, who sees the price tag on the scarf, says nothing as she and Danny secretly eye each other, acknowledging their mutual attraction. Soon Dora discovers Mrs. Shellbrook's decapitated body. Though Olivia accuses Danny of the murder, he denies it and says that he merely fantasizes and pretends to be mysterious. Though she is still fascinated ... +


In a small English village, the police drag the river, searching for the body of Mrs. Shellbrook, who has been missing for several days. Meanwhile, at the home of Mrs. Bramson, a churlish, elderly woman who pretends to need a wheelchair, the maid Dora tells her mistress that her Irish boyfriend, Danny, works for Mrs. Shellbrook. Danny, who knows that Mrs. Bramson is a hypochondriac and only pretends to need a wheelchair, is very solicitous toward her. He tells her that she reminds him of his mother, then says that he loves Dora and would marry her if he had a better job. Mrs. Bramson's niece and companion, Olivia Grayne, is suspicious of Danny, but Mrs. Bramson stubbornly refuses to listen to her. Soon Mrs. Bramson's attorney, Justin Laurie, arrives to give Mrs. Bramson some money, and warns her not to keep much cash around the cottage, but she is unconcerned. Meanwhile, Justin, who is in love with Olivia, asks her to marry him, but she refuses because she yearns for something "romantic" to happen. After Justin leaves, Mrs. Bramson puts money into her safe and is secretly observed by Danny. A short time later, Danny purchases a scarf in the village and gives it to Mrs. Bramson, saying that it belonged to his mother. Olivia, who sees the price tag on the scarf, says nothing as she and Danny secretly eye each other, acknowledging their mutual attraction. Soon Dora discovers Mrs. Shellbrook's decapitated body. Though Olivia accuses Danny of the murder, he denies it and says that he merely fantasizes and pretends to be mysterious. Though she is still fascinated by him, Olivia is now certain that Danny is the murderer. Mrs. Bramson dismisses her niece's accusations because she has grown very found of the attentive Danny. When police inspector Belsize comes, he searches Danny's room and find a large, locked hatbox. He is just about to open it when Olivia impulsively grabs the box and says that it is hers. After Belsize leaves, Danny faints, and at dinner that night both he and Olivia are ill at ease. Olivia soon calls Justin and asks if she can stay with him, then begs Mrs. Bramson to come along, but she refuses. Even when the maids also leave the cottage, Mrs. Bramson feels safe enough to stay while Danny, who has cut the telephone wires, walks the maids part way to the village. Alone in her drawing room, Mrs. Bramson hears noises and becomes frightened. When she screams for Danny, he comes in and calms her down by giving her something to drink and lulling her to sleep. Then, when he is certain that she is asleep, he starts to smother her. She begins to wake up, but it is too late, and Danny kills her. He then robs the safe, after which Olivia returns and sees what has happened. She admits that she was attracted to him, but says that that is over. He threatens to kill her, too, to cover up his crimes, but just then the police, who were called by Justin when he could not reach Olivia by phone, arrive and arrest Danny. As he leaves, Danny says "I'll hang in the end, but they'll get their money's worth worth at the trial." Finally, as Danny is taken away, Justin and Olivia embrace. +

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

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