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Night Unto Night (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 22 August 1949 (Sweden)
A scientist haunted by the incurable illness epilepsy meets a beautiful woman haunted by the voice of her dead husband.

Director:

Don Siegel

Writers:

Kathryn Scola, Philip Wylie (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ronald Reagan ... John Galen
Viveca Lindfors ... Ann Gracey
Broderick Crawford ... C.L. Shawn
Rosemary DeCamp ... Thalia Shawn
Osa Massen ... Lisa
Art Baker ... Dr. Poole
Craig Stevens ... Tony Maddox
Erskine Sanford ... Dr. Johann Altheim
Ann Burr Ann Burr ... Willa Shawn
Johnny McGovern Johnny McGovern ... Willie Shawn
Lillian Yarbo ... Josephine
Ross Ford ... Bellboy
Almira Sessions ... Hotel Maid
Dick Elliott ... Auto Court Manager
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lois Austin Lois Austin ... Mrs. Rose (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

A scientist haunted by the incurable illness epilepsy meets a beautiful woman haunted by the voice of her dead husband.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Whatever it is, there's nothing you can't tell the woman you love. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 August 1949 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Almas en tinieblas See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Filmed in 1947, but not released until 1949. See more »

Quotes

John Galen: Death isn't the worst thing in a man's life... only the last.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: On the east coast of Florida.. See more »

Connections

Featured in Last Summer in the Hamptons (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

What's New?
(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Bob Haggart
Played after the radio announcement
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Offbeat, brooding drama with metaphysical yearnings ultimately reaches too far
8 February 2003 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

A curious, brooding drama with metaphysical airs, Night Unto Night holds interest by its very oddity (and to some extent as an early directorial effort by Don Siegel). It's set in pre-boom, primitive Florida near the Everglades and takes its redemptive close during a purging hurricane, along the way touching on transcendent themes - though it seems to confuse spirituality with spiritualism. These are its dramatis personae:

. Ronald Reagan plays a biochemist (!) come to coastal Florida seeking a simple, reclusive life; he's been diagnosed with epilepsy and, man of science or not, he views his condition as a mysterious and terrible curse. So he rents a gloomy old pile of a house from a young widow where he sets up a laboratory to fiddle with his molds and spores. He's a disturbed, perhaps suicidal man, but, Kings Row notwithstanding, Reagan is an actor who leaves the impression of never having been troubled a day in his life.

. Viveca Lindfors is the widow, who must vacate the house because in it she keeps hearing the voice of her dead husband, whose boat was torpedoed just offshore. Lindfors was imported to Hollywood in an attempt to recreate the mystique of Ingrid Bergman, whom she resembled in voice and visage, but the imposture never quite worked. Still, she's as good here as she ever was and gives a glimpse into the thinking that brought her from Sweden.

. Broderick Crawford is a friend and neighbor. In a drastic stretch, he plays a painter who earns his living doing commercial art but saves his talent for vast murals in what looks like the Socialist-realism school. Nonetheless, he serves as the spokesman for faith, which he carries like a chip on his shoulder, waylaying the scientists and psychiatrists he meets with harangues about their puny rationalism.

. Osa Mussen, though a Dane not a Swede, plays Lindfors' twisted sister, a spiteful hedonist who throws herself at Reagan and does not suffer rebuff kindly. She drinks too much and ignites the volatile gases of the plot's alchemy.

The story, from a novel by Philip Wylie (whose 15 minutes of notoriety would come in the mid-1950s with his book Generation of Vipers), has a reach which far exceeds its grasp. While it does hold interest - thanks chiefly to Siegel's shifting but steady pace - it raises questions which it does not bother to (or cannot) resolve. Too many of its strands (the spirit of the dead man, the murderous enmity between the sisters, Crawford's ill-packed intellectual baggage) start to flap in the winds of the concluding hurricane and fly off, never to be seen again. At the end, all that we're left with of the ineffable is plain old guy-meets-gal chemistry.


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