Clash by Night


1h 45m 1952
Clash by Night

Brief Synopsis

An embittered woman seeks escape in marriage, only to fall for her husband's best friend.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Film Noir
Release Date
Jun 1952
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 16 Jun 1952; New York opening: 18 Jun 1952
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.; Wald-Krasna Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Monterey, California, USA; Monterey, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Clash by Night by Clifford Odets, as produced by Billy Rose (New York, 29 Dec 1941).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,432ft (11 reels)

Synopsis

In a seaside Monterey bar, burly fisherman Jerry D'Amato becomes excited when he bumps into Mae Doyle, a girl from his youth who has just returned home. The sophisticated but unhappy Mae fails to recognize Jerry and goes off to find her younger brother Joe. Joe, who helps Jerry on his boat, is less than pleased by Mae's arrival, even though he has not seen her in ten years. When she admits that she made a mistake by becoming involved with an older man who turned out to be married, however, Joe's attitude softens a little. Joe's girl friend Peggy, who works at the local sardine cannery, is awestruck by the worldly Mae and confides that, like Mae before her, she yearns for excitement and does not want to be bossed around by a man. Later, at the fishing docks, the kind but awkward Jerry asks Joe about Mae's availability, and Joe encourages Jerry to invite her out. During their first date at the local movie theater, Jerry introduces Mae to his best friend, projectionist Earl Pfeiffer. Mae is attracted to the cynical Earl, but dismisses him sharply when he subjects her to a misogynistic tirade about his burlesque dancer wife. Sometime later, while on a night boat ride with Mae, Jerry brings up the subject of marriage, but Mae gently maintains that she is not the "wife type." However, after a disturbing, drunken flirtation with Earl, Mae, who has told Earl that she desires men who make her feel confident and alive, agrees to marry Jerry. At the wedding reception, Earl insists on kissing Mae, and when she resists his ardor, he storms off. Later, after the birth of Jerry and Mae's daughter Gloria, Jerry's freeloading uncle Vince complains that Mae is too controlling and accuses Jerry of being henpecked. That night, the now-divorced Earl shows up at the D'Amatos', drunk, and rants about women and marriage until he passes out in their living room. The next morning, before Jerry leaves for work, Mae surprises him by asking for a goodbye kiss. A hung-over Earl then wakes up and questions Mae about the health of her marriage. Sensing that she has resigned herself to a dull life with Jerry, Earl kisses her forcibly. Mae rebuffs him, but later, after a joyful Peggy comes by the D'Amatos' to announce her engagement to Joe, Earl again kisses Mae, who finally gives in to her passions. Sometime later, Jerry rescues his father from a barroom fight but cannot get the old man to discuss the argument. The vindictive Vince, however, informs Jerry that the town has been gossiping about Mae and Earl and that his father was defending the family name. Angry and indignant, Jerry drives Vince out of his house, then tries to force his father to talk. When Papa again refuses, Jerry searches Mae's things and finds some perfume and lingerie at the bottom of a drawer. As soon as Mae and Earl return to the house, having spent the day together, Jerry confronts them with the items. Mae finally confesses that she is having an affair with Earl but maintains that she was driven to it through boredom and loneliness. Deeply wounded, Jerry calls Mae and Earl "animals" and runs off. Earl advises Mae to leave town with him, but she is reluctant to go until she knows that Jerry is safe. Later, Mae finds Jerry at home and tells him that she is in love with Earl and is running away with him. Jerry tries to change Mae's mind, then screams threats when she reveals that she intends to take Gloria. Terrified of Jerry's wrath, Mae leaves the house without Gloria and goes to Joe's place to pack. While Joe condemns his sister's actions, Peggy offers her sympathy. Still enraged, Jerry, meanwhile, shows up at the movie theater and starts to choke Earl. Mae arrives in time to stop Jerry, who throws her across the room before coming to his senses. Soon after, Mae and Earl return to Jerry's to pick up Gloria, but discover the baby gone. When Papa condemns Mae and refuses to reveal where Jerry took Gloria, Mae starts to have second thoughts about leaving. Unconcerned, Earl insists that they can go without Gloria, prompting Mae to realize that she has spent her entire marriage running away from her responsibilities. Disgusted by Mae's expressions of guilt, Earl announces that he is departing, with or without her. In response, Mae declares that she is taking her chances with her husband and heads for Jerry's boat. There, Mae asks Jerry to forgive her and insists that she has changed. While admitting that he may never be able to trust her, Jerry accepts Mae's apologies and agrees to try again. Jerry then tells Mae that Gloria is asleep on the bunk, and she quietly goes to her baby.

Photo Collections

Clash by Night - Behind-the-Scenes photos - Marilyn Monroe
Here are a few photos of Marilyn Monroe taken behind-the-scenes during production of Clash by Night (1952), directed by Fritz Lang.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Film Noir
Release Date
Jun 1952
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 16 Jun 1952; New York opening: 18 Jun 1952
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.; Wald-Krasna Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Monterey, California, USA; Monterey, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Clash by Night by Clifford Odets, as produced by Billy Rose (New York, 29 Dec 1941).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,432ft (11 reels)

Articles

Clash By Night


For all the respect and power she commanded in Hollywood, Barbara Stanwyck had a reputation for being very generous and considerate to the young actors who worked with her. After 65 films and 25 years in motion pictures, she certainly had her patience and generosity tested during the making of Clash By Night (1952) by a co-star whose on-set difficulties have become legend. Although still a young actress and not the top star she was destined to be, Marilyn Monroe was already sorely testing the patience of directors, co-stars, and crew. Yet by all accounts, Stanwyck never lost her temper with the younger woman during the making of Clash By Night or spoke harshly of her in the years to come.

In Fritz Lang's intense study of adultery and betrayal in a northern California fishing village (a change from the original New York location of Clifford Odets' play), Stanwyck plays Mae Doyle, a woman disillusioned with life and men who returns to her home town and marries a simple, decent fisherman - Jerry D'Amato - for security. But the bitter, restless woman soon finds herself falling for Earl, the cynical but far more sexually attractive projectionist at the local movie theater, exactly the kind of man she was trying to get away from. Although she has had Jerry's baby, Mae begins an affair with Earl that almost ends in tragedy.

Monroe played the relatively small part of Peggy, the high-spirited cannery worker who is dating Mae's brother. Playing one of her first important roles, Monroe was nervous to the point of vomiting before every scene and breaking out in red blotches on her hands and face. She was often late, forgetful, and uncommunicative. Lang, not one to suffer actor idiosyncrasies lightly, was at his wits' end with the young actress, but Stanwyck was a model of patience. The director recounted a scene in which Stanwyck had to hang clothes on a line while talking to Monroe, who repeatedly blew her lines. The seasoned professional had to remove the clothes from the line and start over to accommodate the newcomer, but Lang said, "Not once did she have a bad word for Marilyn. She understood her perfectly."

Stanwyck admitted years later that Monroe "drove Bob Ryan, Paul Douglas, and myself out of our minds." She told the Toronto Telegram in 1965 she found Monroe "awkward. She couldn't get out of her own way. She wasn't disciplined, and she was often late, but she didn't do it viciously, and there was a sort of magic about her which we all recognized at once. Her phobias, or whatever they were, came later; she seemed just a carefree kid, and she owned the world." Monroe ended up turning in a performance that was enthusiastically received by critics, strengthening the resolve of her studio, 20th Century Fox, to develop her into a major star.

Not that Stanwyck didn't have her on-set difficulties, too, although the difference in the way she and Monroe handled them illustrates why Stanwyck is still considered one of the best-liked, most professional actresses ever to set foot before a camera. One day during the shooting of Clash By Night, she complained to Lang that a scene they were working on was very badly written and that she could never play it. Lang disagreed. "Barbara, may I speak very frankly and openly with you," he later recalled saying. "I think the scene reminds you of a rather recent event in your private life, and that is why you think it is badly written and you cannot play it." Lang said Stanwyck looked at him for a second and then said slowly, "You son of a bitch." The director didn't repeat what the private event was, although around this time, Stanwyck was getting a divorce from her husband of 12 years, actor Robert Taylor, who had reportedly fallen for another woman. Nevertheless, Lang said she turned on her heels and played the scene "so wonderfully that we had to shoot it only once." Although he said he never worked with any artist in the U.S. or abroad more cooperative than Barbara Stanwyck, this was the only picture the two made together.

Director: Fritz Lang
Producers: Jerry Wald, Norman Krasna, Harriet Parsons
Screenplay: Alfred Hayes, based on the play by Clifford Odets
Cinematography: Nicholas Musuraca
Editing: George Amy
Art Direction: Carroll Clark, Albert S. D'Agostino
Original Music: Roy Webb
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck (Mae Doyle), Paul Douglas (Jerry D'Amato), Robert Ryan (Earl Pfeiffer), Marilyn Monroe (Peggy), Keith Andes (Joe Doyle), J. Carrol Naish (Uncle Vince).
BW-105m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video.

by Rob Nixon
Clash By Night

Clash By Night

For all the respect and power she commanded in Hollywood, Barbara Stanwyck had a reputation for being very generous and considerate to the young actors who worked with her. After 65 films and 25 years in motion pictures, she certainly had her patience and generosity tested during the making of Clash By Night (1952) by a co-star whose on-set difficulties have become legend. Although still a young actress and not the top star she was destined to be, Marilyn Monroe was already sorely testing the patience of directors, co-stars, and crew. Yet by all accounts, Stanwyck never lost her temper with the younger woman during the making of Clash By Night or spoke harshly of her in the years to come. In Fritz Lang's intense study of adultery and betrayal in a northern California fishing village (a change from the original New York location of Clifford Odets' play), Stanwyck plays Mae Doyle, a woman disillusioned with life and men who returns to her home town and marries a simple, decent fisherman - Jerry D'Amato - for security. But the bitter, restless woman soon finds herself falling for Earl, the cynical but far more sexually attractive projectionist at the local movie theater, exactly the kind of man she was trying to get away from. Although she has had Jerry's baby, Mae begins an affair with Earl that almost ends in tragedy. Monroe played the relatively small part of Peggy, the high-spirited cannery worker who is dating Mae's brother. Playing one of her first important roles, Monroe was nervous to the point of vomiting before every scene and breaking out in red blotches on her hands and face. She was often late, forgetful, and uncommunicative. Lang, not one to suffer actor idiosyncrasies lightly, was at his wits' end with the young actress, but Stanwyck was a model of patience. The director recounted a scene in which Stanwyck had to hang clothes on a line while talking to Monroe, who repeatedly blew her lines. The seasoned professional had to remove the clothes from the line and start over to accommodate the newcomer, but Lang said, "Not once did she have a bad word for Marilyn. She understood her perfectly." Stanwyck admitted years later that Monroe "drove Bob Ryan, Paul Douglas, and myself out of our minds." She told the Toronto Telegram in 1965 she found Monroe "awkward. She couldn't get out of her own way. She wasn't disciplined, and she was often late, but she didn't do it viciously, and there was a sort of magic about her which we all recognized at once. Her phobias, or whatever they were, came later; she seemed just a carefree kid, and she owned the world." Monroe ended up turning in a performance that was enthusiastically received by critics, strengthening the resolve of her studio, 20th Century Fox, to develop her into a major star. Not that Stanwyck didn't have her on-set difficulties, too, although the difference in the way she and Monroe handled them illustrates why Stanwyck is still considered one of the best-liked, most professional actresses ever to set foot before a camera. One day during the shooting of Clash By Night, she complained to Lang that a scene they were working on was very badly written and that she could never play it. Lang disagreed. "Barbara, may I speak very frankly and openly with you," he later recalled saying. "I think the scene reminds you of a rather recent event in your private life, and that is why you think it is badly written and you cannot play it." Lang said Stanwyck looked at him for a second and then said slowly, "You son of a bitch." The director didn't repeat what the private event was, although around this time, Stanwyck was getting a divorce from her husband of 12 years, actor Robert Taylor, who had reportedly fallen for another woman. Nevertheless, Lang said she turned on her heels and played the scene "so wonderfully that we had to shoot it only once." Although he said he never worked with any artist in the U.S. or abroad more cooperative than Barbara Stanwyck, this was the only picture the two made together. Director: Fritz Lang Producers: Jerry Wald, Norman Krasna, Harriet Parsons Screenplay: Alfred Hayes, based on the play by Clifford Odets Cinematography: Nicholas Musuraca Editing: George Amy Art Direction: Carroll Clark, Albert S. D'Agostino Original Music: Roy Webb Cast: Barbara Stanwyck (Mae Doyle), Paul Douglas (Jerry D'Amato), Robert Ryan (Earl Pfeiffer), Marilyn Monroe (Peggy), Keith Andes (Joe Doyle), J. Carrol Naish (Uncle Vince). BW-105m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video. by Rob Nixon

Keith Andes (1920-2005)


Keith Andes, the tall, raw-boned actor who had a notable career in film, television and stage, died on November 11 at his home in Canyon Country, California. He was 85. His death was ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles County coroner's office. He had been suffering for years with bladder cancer.

Born John Charles Andes on July 12, 1920, in Ocean City, New Jersey, Keith been began performing in his teens for school productions and for local radio stations in his hometown. After he graduated with a B.A. in education from Temple University in 1943, he pursued a stage career in earnest, and in 1947 scored a triumph in the Broadway musical The Chocolate Soldier, where he won a Theatre World Award for his performance. That same year, he made his film debut as one of Loretta Young's brothers in The Farmer's Daughter (1947). Although his film career never quite took off, one could certainly envy him for playing opposite two of the hottest blonde bombshells of their generation: first with Marilyn Monroe Clash by Night (1952); and then Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Most Likely (1957).

If Andes lacked the star power to be a consistent Hollywood lead, he certainly had no problems with television. Here, his stalwart presence and commanding baritone made him more than servicable for television through three decades: (Goodyear Theatre, Playhouse 90, The Ford Television Theatre); '60s: (Perry Mason, The Rifleman, Star Trek, The Outer Limits, Glynis); and '70s (Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco).

Andes made his last notable screen appearance in the Al Pacino vehicle And Justice For All (1979), before falling into semi-retirement and doing occassional voice work. He is survived by two sons, Mark, Matt; and three grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Keith Andes (1920-2005)

Keith Andes, the tall, raw-boned actor who had a notable career in film, television and stage, died on November 11 at his home in Canyon Country, California. He was 85. His death was ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles County coroner's office. He had been suffering for years with bladder cancer. Born John Charles Andes on July 12, 1920, in Ocean City, New Jersey, Keith been began performing in his teens for school productions and for local radio stations in his hometown. After he graduated with a B.A. in education from Temple University in 1943, he pursued a stage career in earnest, and in 1947 scored a triumph in the Broadway musical The Chocolate Soldier, where he won a Theatre World Award for his performance. That same year, he made his film debut as one of Loretta Young's brothers in The Farmer's Daughter (1947). Although his film career never quite took off, one could certainly envy him for playing opposite two of the hottest blonde bombshells of their generation: first with Marilyn Monroe Clash by Night (1952); and then Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Most Likely (1957). If Andes lacked the star power to be a consistent Hollywood lead, he certainly had no problems with television. Here, his stalwart presence and commanding baritone made him more than servicable for television through three decades: (Goodyear Theatre, Playhouse 90, The Ford Television Theatre); '60s: (Perry Mason, The Rifleman, Star Trek, The Outer Limits, Glynis); and '70s (Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco). Andes made his last notable screen appearance in the Al Pacino vehicle And Justice For All (1979), before falling into semi-retirement and doing occassional voice work. He is survived by two sons, Mark, Matt; and three grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Get something for that head ache!
- Jerry D'Amato
Yeah, a new head.
- Mae Doyle D'Amato
Earl, he's one of the smartest men I know. He's in the movie business.
- Jerry D'Amato
An actor?
- Mae Doyle D'Amato
No, but I bet Earl could be if he wanted to. He works at the Bijou theatre, in the projection booth.
- Jerry D'Amato
That's your idea of being in the movie business?
- Mae Doyle D'Amato
Running movies, what other business would you call it?
- Jerry D'Amato
Home is where you come to, when you run out of places.
- Mae Doyle D'Amato

Trivia

Notes

Many aspects of the story were changed for the screen version of Clifford Odets' play, which starred Tallulah Bankhead and Lee J. Cobb on Broadway. In the play, the action takes place in Depression-ravaged Staten Island, NY, and the characters are Polish American. At the end of the play, the cuckolded husband kills his wife's lover. Robert Ryan, who plays "Earl Pfeiffer" in the film, appeared in the Broadway production as "Joe Doyle."
       In December 1950, Hollywood Reporter announced that RKO was borrowing Joan Crawford from Warner Bros. for the production. According to modern sources, Jeff Chandler and Mala Powers were first considered for the roles of "Earl" and "Peggy." Modern sources note that director Fritz Lang spent one week rehearsing the three main actors before principal photography. Although Keith Andes' onscreen credit includes the statement "and introducing," he had previously appeared in the 1947 RKO film The Farmer's Daughter and the 1949 Film Classics' release Project X (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). RKO borrowed Marilyn Monroe from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production. Although not her first "above-title" film, Clash by Night was Monroe's first significant dramatic role and garnered her much praise. The Hollywood Reporter reviewer commented, "Marilyn Monroe proves she deserves starring status with her excellent interpretation," while the Daily Variety reviewer noted that, "Miss Monroe...has an ease of delivery which makes her a cinch for popularity, given the right roles."
       According to Hollywood Reporter news items, background footage and exterior scenes were shot in Monterey, CA. The film opens with a series of shots depicting life in and around the Monterey shore. In a modern interview, Lang described how he and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca spent several days photographing Monterey's marine life, fishing boats and sardine canneries to create the documentary-like opening. Lang also shot footage of the annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies in San Pedro, CA, but that scene was not included in the final film. A June 1952 Daily Variety item stated that William H. Mooring, film critic for the Los Angeles Catholic newspaper The Tidings, prevailed upon producers Jerry Wald and Harriet Parsons to delete two scenes from the script. Both scenes, which Mooring felt ridiculed religion and belittled the Church, had to do with the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony.
       Barbara Stanwyck won the Motion Picture Exhibitor's "Laurel" award for her performance in the picture. After the film's release, the song "I Hear a Rhapsody" became a hit for Tony Martin. Modern sources add Bob Ewing (Makeup artist), Tony Lombardo (Prop master) and Marjorie Plecher (Supv of Monroe's ward) to the crew. On June 13, 1957, the CBS television network broadcast an adaptation of Odets' play on its Playhouse 90 program. John Frankenheimer directed Kim Stanley, E. G. Marshall and Lloyd Bridges in the production. The BBC network broadcast another version on July 14, 1959, starring Sam Wanamaker and Patricia Neal.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 18, 1952

Completed shooting February 20, 1952.

Released in United States Summer June 18, 1952