Based upon the French film Le Jour Se Lève, The Long Night opens in the in the midst of a dire situation: ex-serviceman Joe Adams (Henry Fonda) finds himself holed up in his apartment, surrounded by policemen who soon open fire…
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Almost exact scene-by-scene remake of one of my favorite Jean Gabin films, Le Jour Se Leve. Almost every detail of the original film is here, even the scenes with the teddy bear. They even found an American lookalike for Arletty. So why is Joe driving a car instead of a bicycle? Maybe Henry Fonda on a bicycle just wouldn't look right? Or maybe he didn't know how to ride a bicycle???
THE LONG NIGHT might make a delicious double bill w/ SCARLET STREET as they are both very fine 1940s Hollywood remakes of seminal 1930s French films (from either end of that decade). Litvak's remake of the Carné replaces France's finest movie star w/ Henry Fonda, who would have to be on any short list of Hollywood's. And like the Carné this is a committed social cinema, if perhaps less breast-beating about it.
Litvak grounds Carne's dreamily poetic Le Jour Se Leve a bit more firmly in reality and makes a surprisingly riveting little movie. Fonda seems an odd choice for the Gabin role, but he's outstanding, as is Ann Dvorak as a floozy. Gorgeous cinematography--rich black tones. Beethoven's Seventh as a theme. Does its Hollywood-friendly ending betray Carne? Worth watching to ponder and compare..