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directed by Joseph Losey
USA 19

Awkward teenager George LeMain (John Drew Barrymore, credited as John Barrymore Jr.) is given a small birthday party... by his widowed father Andy (Preston Foster) at his bar. He is puzzled that his father's longtime girlfriend, Frances, is not there, but neither Andy nor Flanagan (Howland Chamberlain), bartender and George's surrogate mother, will say why. George is embarrassed when he is unable to blow out all the candles on his cake, but that's nothing compared to the humiliation to come when sportswriter Al Judge (Howard St. John) enters the tavern. Judge orders the elder LeMain to remove his shirt ("Show me some skin," he demands) and get down on all fours. Andy meekly offers no resistance when Judge brutally canes him. Enraged at both Judge and his father, George takes a gun from the cash register and goes off into the night to settle the score. His first stop is the fights, where after getting conned out of his money, he meets Lloyd Cooper (Philip Bourneuf), an alcoholic college professor who later introduces him to his girlfriend Julie Rostina (Dorothy Comingore) and her sister Marion (Joan Lorring). Although George and Marion hit it off, she tells him he is too young for her. Resuming his hunt, George finally comes face to face with Judge and learns that Frances, who was Judge's sister, had killed herself because Andy refused to marry her. Confused, George drops his gun and starts to leave. However, when Judge picks it up and turns the tables on him, George struggles for the gun, shoots Judge, and runs back into the night. When he gets home, he confronts his father with Judge's story. He learns not only that it's true, but also that his mother is not dead but had run off with another man. Joseph Losey's The Big Night functions largely as a perverse coming-of-age tale in which the price George pays for growing up is disillusionment with his emasculated father. Armed with this knowledge and a stronger sense of his abilities, George may now be better equipped to navigate the rejections, humiliations, and sadomasochistic relationships of his noirish world.

Excerpt of review from MRQE located HERE


Theatrical Release: November 13th, 1951

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DVD Review: MGM - Region 0 - NTSC

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Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:19:54

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.51 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: March 27th, 2012
Keep Case

Chapters 10



"Some men are like that. Sometimes a man loves one woman in the whole world. If she turns out to be the wrong one...well, it's just tough."

It's standard single-layered but progressive in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and looks very thick and grainy. It is not so much noise as also requiring a good cleaning. Black levels are strong and detail consistent. The grittiness supports the film with a textured transfer with some shadows and light play. Quite watchable.

The mono sound is decent but unremarkable and there are no subtitles offered. There are no supplements.

Losey had a gift for presenting the rougher edge of society. This is more a drama than anything else with characterizations a strong point.  

  - Gregory Meshman



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Region 0 - NTSC


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