7.2/10
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37 user 13 critic

Night Must Fall (1937)

Passed | | Drama, Mystery, Thriller | 30 April 1937 (USA)
When a rich but cantankerous dowager on an isolated estates hires an engaging handyman, her niece/companion becomes suspicious of his motives.

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writers:

Emlyn Williams (from the stage success of), John Van Druten (screen play)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Merle Tottenham ... Dora
Kathleen Harrison ... Mrs. Terence
May Whitty ... Mrs. Bramson (as Dame May Whitty)
Rosalind Russell ... Olivia
Eily Malyon ... Nurse
Matthew Boulton ... Belsize
Robert Montgomery ... Danny
Beryl Mercer ... Saleslady
Alan Marshal ... Justin
Winifred Harris ... Mrs. Laurie
E.E. Clive ... Guide
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Storyline

Crotchety old Mrs. Bransom hires a charming young man named Danny as a live-in companion. Less charmed by Danny is Mrs. Bransom's niece, Olivia, a repressed young woman who suspects Danny of foul play. When news of a local murder is revealed, Olivia suspects Danny. Although repulsed by the thought he may have committed the crime, Olivia also finds herself becoming increasingly attracted to him at the same time. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

AMAZING! DIFFERENT! UNIQUE!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 April 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Al caer la noche See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM didn't want Montgomery to do the film, and at its premiere at Grauman's Chinese screened a trailer disclaiming the film and warning the audience about the film's "spurious content." Despite this, the film was well-received by audiences and critics. See more »

Goofs

In Mrs. Bramson's bedroom, Danny tucks in Mrs. Bramson and leaves, closing the bedroom door with an audible click. The next scene shows Danny outside the bedroom again closing the still-open door. See more »

Quotes

Olivia Grayne: You've been drinking.
Danny: I've had a drink... and I feel fine...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The main title reads "The astonishing London and New York stage success 'Night Must Fall' ". See more »

Connections

Version of Night Must Fall (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Mighty Lak' a Rose
(1901) (uncredited)
Written by Ethelbert Nevin
Whistled by Robert Montgomery
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliantly acted, moody psychological drama
3 January 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Night Must Fall," which was originally a play by Emlyn Williams, contains three fantastic roles for actors, and as a film, it has been beautifully cast, directed (by Richard Thorpe), and photographed. Set in an English cottage in a village that borders a forest, Rosalind Russell lives with her horrid, verbally abusive aunt. Along comes Danny, basically brought into the household to be spoken to about a promised marriage to one of the maids in the house. Danny is a sexual opportunist, a murderer, and a psychopath who can hone in on what each person he meets needs and wants. He soon becomes charmingly indispensable to the aunt. The Russell character senses his black soul but is attracted to him nonetheless, and he knows it. What transpires is an intriguing mystery and psychological drama.

Robert Montgomery was a wonderful actor, adept at many kinds of roles but most often cast in the light comedies so often made in the '30s. Here he is fantastic - a charming, frightening liar with a huge ego who thinks his crafty mind will win in the end. Russell gives a beautiful, underplayed performance as an unhappy young woman, dating a man she's not sure she loves, attracted to this stranger and to the possibility of something interesting happening to her. Dame May Witty is great as an abrasive shrew.

This is one of those gems - and doesn't Hollywood know it, they've remade it enough - but it's a real tour de force for the right actors. A winner.


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