Review: Remember Last Night? (1935)

>> Tuesday, January 9, 2007

USA/B&W-81 m./Dir: James Whale/Wr: Harry Clork, Doris Mallory, & Dan Totheroh/Cast: Robert Young (Tony Milburn), Constance Cummings (Carlotta Milburn), Edward Arnold (Danny Harrison)

In an obvious attempt to capitalize on the success of MGM’s The Thin Man (1934), Universal Studios released their own comic-murder mystery the following year, featuring another tipsy twosome, multiple murders, suspicious characters, and a luxury estate with cocktail bars in every room (including the bedrooms). Remember Last Night?, based upon Adam Hobhouse’s novel, The Hangover Murders, concerns a couple of newlyweds (Robert Young and Constance Cummings) who wake up the morning after a wild party with a honey of a hangover and a dead man in one of the guest rooms. Unfortunately, all of the attendees of the previous night’s binge were so bombed on bubbly that none of them can recall what happened. Police detective, Danny Harrison (Edward Arnold) has his work cut out for him, trying to keep all of the suspects in one place and sober enough to interrogate.

Universal’s knockoff lacks the witty banter of The Thin Man, and its plastered protagonists come across as manic and belligerent when stinko, rather than witty and urbane. However, that’s not to say that Remember Last Night? is completely without charm. On the whole, it’s a fast-moving romp, aided greatly by touches of dark humor provided by James Whale, who directed this throwaway between Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Showboat (1936)--Perhaps he lost a bet. If you’re looking for a frothy curio of a time when intemperance in excess was considered cute, this is just the film for you. However, I should warn easily offended viewers that the film is regrettably scarred by a racially distasteful blackface scene.

Drinks Consumed--Champagne, brandy (sidecars), scotch (& soda), wine, and unspecified cocktails

Intoxicating Effects--Slurred speech, drunk driving, destruction of property, brawling, hangover, and memory blackouts

Potent Quotables--TONY: I’ll never take another drink as long as I live.
CARLOTTA: Neither will I.
TONY: I wonder if there’s one around anyplace.

Video Availability--Never released in any video format

Similarly Sauced Cinema--Earlier in 1935, the Frankenstein Monster (Boris Karloff) discovered “Drink--GOOD!” in James Whales’ Bride of Frankenstein.

James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters (Paperback)

2 comments:

Anonymous December 22, 2008 at 5:12 PM  

Whale didn't lose a bet. He chose to direct this because he didn't want to direct Dracula's Daughter. By directing this picture he tied himself up long enough to get out of the assignment. Reportedly this is among Whale's favorites of the films he directed and he had a lot of fun making it.

Anyone interested in more information can check out the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remember_Last_Night%3F

garv December 22, 2008 at 5:38 PM  

Interesting. Thanks for the info.

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I like to drink. I like to watch movies. I like to watch movies about drinking. I like to write about the movies I’ve watched, but only if I’ve had a drink first.

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