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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > WWII > Literature > So Ends Our Night (VCI DVD)

So Ends Our Night (VCI)

 

Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C-     Film: B

 

 

It is sad that history keeps repeating itself in the worst ways and part of how that happens is that people keep ignoring what happens when people are targeted for insane reasons to hurt said people or worse.  John Cromwell’s So Ends Our Night (1941) is one of those smart, intense films about the Nazis and how their attempt to take over and destroy the world broke it up.  Based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel Flotsam, written before WWII, the film follows a few storylines in telling its story of torn loyalties, murder and the dark side of human nature.

 

Glenn Ford is particularly good as Ludwig Kern, the son of a Jewish mother and Aryan father, while Fredric March is trying to get back to his very ill wife (Frances Dee) before it is too late for him to escape and for her to live.  Margaret Sullivan is Ruth Holland, a Jewish chemist who is being hunted down so she cannot help the Allies, and they want her out of the way just for being Jewish to begin with.  Erich von Stroheim plays the Nazi heavy.

 

Talbot Jennings screenplay adaptation is smart, sensitive, insightful and honest.  The film was not the hit it should have been, then real life entered and it was all too real for the rest of the world.  The film has so much going for it and it is good that it has finally made its way to DVD from VCI.

 

Credit should also be given to the genius of William Cameron Menzies, who is responsible for the production design of its film, gives the film yet another layer in which it works on.  Menzies’ innovations doing so many things, including being a director at times himself, is so purely cinematic that we could consider him a precursor to Stanley Kubrick in some ways.

 

The 1.33 x 1 image is soft and uses some kind of Digital Video Noise Reduction (DVNR) they should have abandoned that causes unnecessary ghosting throughout.  With that said, the black and white itself has some good gray scale, while the film is shot with a moodiness and skill by Director Of Photography William H. Daniels, who shot many of Erich von Stroheim’s films like the 1924 classic Greed, then worked well into the sound era with films like Grand Hotel, Ninotchka, My Man Godfrey, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Some Came Running, In Like Flint and Valley Of The Dolls.  The use of shadows and light is not necessarily from Film Noir, but it is effective.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono shows its age too, but is cleaned up enough and is listenable, though has sonic limits.  Extras include five text biographies and five preview trailers.  This version is 177 minutes, though Britain supposedly got a longer cut.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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