So Ends Our Night


1h 57m 1941

Brief Synopsis

An anti-Nazi on the run and a young Jewish couple race across Europe trying to escape Hitler's ever powerful influence. When the political refugee risks his life to see his dying wife in Austria, he has a dangerous encounter with a rabid Nazi.

Film Details

Also Known As
Flotsam
Release Date
Feb 14, 1941
Premiere Information
Los Angeles premiere: 21 Jan 1941; Miami, FL premiere: 24 Jan 1941
Production Company
David L. Loew-Albert Lewin, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Flotsam by Erich Maria Remarque (Boston, 1941).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,910ft

Synopsis

In Austria in 1937, some German refugees are awakened in their hotel and arrested. During questioning by Austrian customs officials, refugee Ludwig Kern admits that because he is Jewish, he and his family were stripped of their nationality and passport. Ludwig is sentenced to forty days in prison for illegal entry, after which he will be deported. Josef Steiner, a German political dissident, then is questioned by Gestapo official Brenner, who offers him a passport in exchange for the names of the men who helped him escape from a prison camp. Josef refuses the offer, and as Brenner has no jurisdiction in Austria, is given the same sentence as Ludwig. Josef and Ludwig share a room with "The Chicken," so named because he dreams of eating roasted chicken, "The Pole," and a man arrested for pickpocketing and gambling. Josef, who is already talented at card tricks, learns more cardsharping from the gambler and advises Ludwig that he must toughen up to survive. Ludwig and Josef become fast friends and are released into the woods to cross the border into Czechoslovakia. That night, Josef, an Aryan who opposes the Nazis, recalls the last time he saw his wife Marie: After escaping from prison camp, Josef hides in a friend's attic, while his friend delivers a letter to his wife. When his friend is unable to get near Marie for fear of his own life, Josef decides to leave Germany permanently. Dressed as a day laborer, Josef goes to the marketplace where Marie regularly shops, and walks behind her as if they are strangers. After vowing his undying love, Josef urges her to divorce him so the Nazis will leave her alone. Josef glimpses Marie one last time when they pass each other on the street, then leaves Germany for good. Josef now returns to Vienna so he can receive letters about his wife, and uses his newfound skills at cards to win a card game. After narrowly escaping the angry players who accuse him of cheating, Josef buys a passport and a new identity as "Johann Huber." Ludwig, meanwhile, finally arrives in Prague, where he hopes to reunite with his father. Unable to find his father, Ludwig takes up residence in a small hotel, where he meets Ruth Holland, another Jewish refugee. When Ludwig tells her that they must forget their past, Ruth recalls the event that prompted her to flee Germany: Ruth, who is studying to be a chemist, complains to her fiancé Herbert that she will have to give up school because of religious persecution. Herbert unfeelingly tells her that her religion has also caused him trouble and that he wished she had died along with her parents. In the present, Ludwig takes Ruth to the movies to relieve some of their tension, and they fall in love. After Ruth leaves for Vienna, a Refugee Committee tells Ludwig that his father committed suicide, Ludwig travels to Vienna and finds Josef working as an amusement park barker. Josef's sympathetic boss, Leopold Potzloch, hires Ludwig to be beautiful Lilo's assistant in the shooting gallery, and both Lilo and Leopold carefully instruct Ludwig to use weighted slugs if someone starts to win. Ruth, meanwhile, has been continuing her education in Vienna, but her kind professor, Meyer, tells her she will have to leave. Feeling the loss, Ruth finds Ludwig at the carnival and they reunite. One night, after an Austrian police chief enjoys a winning streak at the shooting gallery, Ludwig uses one of the special bullets. The police chief is a sore loser and accuses Ludwig of cheating him. Ruth intervenes when he demands to see Ludwig's passport, but Ludwig attacks the policeman for insulting Ruth. Ludwig is thrown in jail with the Chicken and the Pole. After his release, Ludwig finds Ruth in Zurich living at the luxurious apartment of her childhood friend. In Austria, meanwhile, Josef escapes from the carnival when the Nazis invade. Ludwig and Ruth are fleeing across the Swiss mountains together toward Paris, until Ruth falls ill and goes into the hospital. Ludwig is then arrested because of a complaint filed by Ammers, a Nazi spy to whom Ludwig attempted to sell perfume. When Ludwig is released from jail, he goes to Geneva, where a recovered Ruth eventually meets him. In Paris, they reunite with their friends, Professor Meyer, Josef, the Chicken and the Pole. While the refugees celebrate in a café, Meyer tells Ludwig that a French professor would like to marry Ruth, which would guarantee her French citizenship. Later that night, Ludwig tells Ruth about Meyer's suggestion, but Ruth flatly refuses. Although work is scarce, the refugees are hired as cheap labor at a construction site. One day, Josef receives word that his wife is mortally ill, and although Ludwig tries to dissuade him, Josef goes to Germany and is immediately arrested. Josef is questioned by a Gestapo colonel and Brenner, and agrees to give up the names of his friends if they will allow him to spend two days with Marie. Brenner reluctantly grants Josef this time, and he learns that Marie never filed for divorce. After she dies, Brenner leads Josef down a staircase and demands the names. Rather than confess, Josef pushes Brenner off a high landing to his death. In Paris, meanwhile, Ludwig is arrested and detained at a prison camp, and Ruth goes to see Durant, the uncle of the professor who fell in love with her, and threatens to marry his nephew if he does not help her free Ludwig. Although Durant realizes he is being blackmailed, he admires Ruth's spirit and agrees to help. Durant obtains a passport for Ruth, but needs money to pay a lawyer for Ludwig's passport. When Josef's Parisian friend Leo receives news of his death, he gives Ruth Josef's savings, which Josef had left behind for the couple should he not survive. Ruth finds Ludwig just as he is being deported, and saves him with the newly bought passport. Now that they have legal passports, Ruth and Ludwig dream of marrying and emigrating to the United States.

Film Details

Also Known As
Flotsam
Release Date
Feb 14, 1941
Premiere Information
Los Angeles premiere: 21 Jan 1941; Miami, FL premiere: 24 Jan 1941
Production Company
David L. Loew-Albert Lewin, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Flotsam by Erich Maria Remarque (Boston, 1941).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,910ft

Award Nominations

Best Score

1941

Articles

Frances Dee (1907-2004)


Frances Dee, the lovely, intelligent actress who was a leading lady to some of Hollywood's top male stars of the '30s, including Maurice Chevalier, Ronald Colman, Fredric March and her late husband, Joel McCrea, died on March 6 at Norwalk hospital in Norwalk, Connecticut from complications of a stroke. She was 96.

She was born Jane Dee, on November 26, 1907 in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of an Army officer who grew up in Chicago after her father was transferred there when she was still a toddler. After he was re-stationed to Los Angeles in the late '20s, Jane accompanied him back.

Although she didn't harbor any serious intentions of becoming a star, Dee, almost out of curiosity, found work in Hollywood as an extra. With bit parts in small features in the films Words and Music (1929), True to the Navy, and Monte Carlo (both 1930), it didn't take long for studio executives to take notice of the sleek, stylish brunette. They changed her first name to Francis, and gave her a prominent role opposite Maurice Chevalier in one of the first all-talking musicals, The Playboy of Paris (1930).

She proved she could handle drama in her next big hit, An American Tragedy (1931) as Sondra Finchley, the role played by Elizabeth Taylor in the George Stevens' remake A Place in the Sun (1951). She met her husband Joel McCrea while filming The Silver Cord (1933), and after a romantic courtship, were married that same year in Rye, New York. It was well-known within film industry circles that their 57-year marriage (ending in 1990 when McCrea passed away) was one of the most successful among Hollywood stars.

From there, Dee played important leads in several fine motion pictures thoughout the decade: Little Women (1933), starring Katharine Hepburn; Blood Money (also 1933), where she was cast thrillingly against type as a sex-hungry socialite whose taste for masochistic boyfriends leads to harrowing results; Of Human Bondage (1934), in which she played Leslie Howard's devoted girlfriend; The Gay Deception (1935), a charming romantic comedy co-starring Frances Lederer; Wells Fargo (1937) a broad sweeping Western where she again teamed up with her husband McCrea; and the classic period epic If I Were King (1938) making a marvelous match for Ronald Colman.

Dee's film career slowed considerably in the '40s, as she honorably spent more time raising her family. Still, she was featured in two fine films: the profound, moving anti-Nazi drama So Ends Our Night (1941) with Fredric March; and Val Lewton's terrific cult hit I Walked with a Zombie (1943), portraying the inquisitive nurse trying to unravel the mystery of voodoo occurrences on a West Indian plantation. Dee officially retired after starring in the family film Gypsy Colt (1954) to commit herself full-time to her children and her husband.

For those so inclined, you might want to check out Complicated Women (2003), a tight documentary regarding the racy Pre-Code films that represented a realistic depiction of the Depression-era morality before the Hays code took over Hollywood in 1934. Frances Dee, although well in her nineties, offers some lucid insight into her performance in Blood Money, and clearly demonstrates an actor's process of thought and understanding in role development.

She is survived by three sons including the actor Jody McCrea, who found fame as "Bonehead" in the AIP Beach Party films of the '60s, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole
Frances Dee (1907-2004)

Frances Dee (1907-2004)

Frances Dee, the lovely, intelligent actress who was a leading lady to some of Hollywood's top male stars of the '30s, including Maurice Chevalier, Ronald Colman, Fredric March and her late husband, Joel McCrea, died on March 6 at Norwalk hospital in Norwalk, Connecticut from complications of a stroke. She was 96. She was born Jane Dee, on November 26, 1907 in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of an Army officer who grew up in Chicago after her father was transferred there when she was still a toddler. After he was re-stationed to Los Angeles in the late '20s, Jane accompanied him back. Although she didn't harbor any serious intentions of becoming a star, Dee, almost out of curiosity, found work in Hollywood as an extra. With bit parts in small features in the films Words and Music (1929), True to the Navy, and Monte Carlo (both 1930), it didn't take long for studio executives to take notice of the sleek, stylish brunette. They changed her first name to Francis, and gave her a prominent role opposite Maurice Chevalier in one of the first all-talking musicals, The Playboy of Paris (1930). She proved she could handle drama in her next big hit, An American Tragedy (1931) as Sondra Finchley, the role played by Elizabeth Taylor in the George Stevens' remake A Place in the Sun (1951). She met her husband Joel McCrea while filming The Silver Cord (1933), and after a romantic courtship, were married that same year in Rye, New York. It was well-known within film industry circles that their 57-year marriage (ending in 1990 when McCrea passed away) was one of the most successful among Hollywood stars. From there, Dee played important leads in several fine motion pictures thoughout the decade: Little Women (1933), starring Katharine Hepburn; Blood Money (also 1933), where she was cast thrillingly against type as a sex-hungry socialite whose taste for masochistic boyfriends leads to harrowing results; Of Human Bondage (1934), in which she played Leslie Howard's devoted girlfriend; The Gay Deception (1935), a charming romantic comedy co-starring Frances Lederer; Wells Fargo (1937) a broad sweeping Western where she again teamed up with her husband McCrea; and the classic period epic If I Were King (1938) making a marvelous match for Ronald Colman. Dee's film career slowed considerably in the '40s, as she honorably spent more time raising her family. Still, she was featured in two fine films: the profound, moving anti-Nazi drama So Ends Our Night (1941) with Fredric March; and Val Lewton's terrific cult hit I Walked with a Zombie (1943), portraying the inquisitive nurse trying to unravel the mystery of voodoo occurrences on a West Indian plantation. Dee officially retired after starring in the family film Gypsy Colt (1954) to commit herself full-time to her children and her husband. For those so inclined, you might want to check out Complicated Women (2003), a tight documentary regarding the racy Pre-Code films that represented a realistic depiction of the Depression-era morality before the Hays code took over Hollywood in 1934. Frances Dee, although well in her nineties, offers some lucid insight into her performance in Blood Money, and clearly demonstrates an actor's process of thought and understanding in role development. She is survived by three sons including the actor Jody McCrea, who found fame as "Bonehead" in the AIP Beach Party films of the '60s, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Flotsam. The film opens with the following written foreword: "When the present rulers of Germany came into power, thousands of people, compelled to take refuge in neighbouring countries, found themselves in the most fantastic dilemma of our times. For they had no passports, those all-important papers which enable a person to enter and remain in a country other than his own. Without passports, these refugees had no legal right to live anywhere. They were forced to keep on the march-an endless march interrupted only by arrest and imprisonment for illegal entry. Then deportation into another country where the same fate awaited them. This is a story of the people without passports. It begins in Vienna in 1937, before the German occupation of Austria." Louis Gruenberg was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic Picture) for his work on the picture. David L. Loew and Albert Lewin formed their production company in January 1940; this was their first film. So Ends Our Night also marked the first screen credit for producer-director Stanley Kramer.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1941

Released in United States 1997

Released in United States 1941

Released in United States 1997 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade) as part of program "American Romantics: Frank Borzage and Margaret Sullavan" August 22 - September 16, 1997.)