Cast & Crew
Christopher Bowden, a forty-one-year-old writer of television commercials for a New York advertising agency, is over-worked and overwhelmed by the need to find time to spend with his wife Maggie, their two young sons, Tom and Chrissie, and daughter Betsy. The family has recently moved into a new home in Connecticut, from where Chris commutes daily by train into New York, causing him additional strain. One evening, having failed to leave his office in time to return home for Chrissie's birthday party, an exhausted Chris finally heads for the railroad station. On the platform, Chris experiences heart palpitations yet manages to board the train. His condition worsens, however, and when he experiences severe chest pains and his left arm goes numb, he informs the train conductor that he thinks he is having a heart attack. The conductor orders an unscheduled stop at the next station and a very ill Chris is eventually taken by ambulance to a city hospital where he is examined, treated and placed in a overnight. Maggie does not learn of Chris's whereabouts until three-thirty the next morning when a local police officer comes to inform her. She immediately calls Chris's New York physician, Dr. Bernie Fischer, who tells her that he will check on Chris's condition and meet her at the hospital at seven a.m. Maggie then leaves the children in charge of older son Tom and goes into New York. At the hospital, Bernie confers with the ward doctor and decides to move Chris, by ambulance, to the hospital he is based at, where he will have a private room and receive more attention. Later, with nurse "Chorny" Chornis, assigned to Chris's care, Bernie visits his heavily sedated patient then tells Maggie that they will know more about the prognosis in a few days, but assures her that eight out of ten men who suffer heart attacks survive. However, Chris suffers another attack, but quick reactions by Chorny and Bernie remove him from danger, although he is now delirious and has a fever. Maggie, meanwhile, remains very worried and begins to understand the toll their life-style has had upon Chris and their marriage. Six days after his attack, Chris wakes up feeling much better and with a new attitude toward life. When Maggie visits him, they both realize that they are still very much in love and re-stabilize their relationship. Although the worst is over, Bernie intends to keep Chris hospitalized for several more days, noting that, psychologically, Chris will benefit from talking with other patients. Maggie also talks with Bernie, confiding that, before Chris's heart attack, their fifteen-year marriage had become very confused and contentious. Bernie suggests to her that she and Chris are both caught in the trap of desiring material possessions and "keeping up with the Joneses." Meanwhile, Chris is influenced by one of his new roommates, the wealthy Mr. Rosalie, who, although he is thirty-seven years old, believes that he is dying. After Chris learns that doctors can find nothing wrong with Rosalie, he is forced to reevaluate his own situation. In order to reorganize their priorities and simplify their lives, Maggie cancels an order for an expensive color television set and tells Chris that she intends to return to college to gain a degree in order to become a teacher. When Chris is released from the hospital and returns home, he receives a very loving welcome from his children. After Chris tells Maggie that he has decided to return to work slowly and will no longer compete in the "rat race" of modern business, he and Maggie embrace and look forward to a much happier life together.
John Hall Jr.
Burton J. Rowles
This film's working title was Brave Tomorrow. Screenplay writers Robert Wallace and Burton J. Rowles adapted Wallace's Life article and their jointly written teleplay for the film. The television story, also directed by John Newland, was titled "The Long Way Home" and featured John Beal and Rosemary Murphy in the same roles they recreated in the film, with Betty Low as the wife and Mike Keene as the physician. The Motion Picture Daily review of the film states that Wallace's article was autobiographical. The film marked the screen debut of actress Augusta Dabney and was John Newland's debut as a feature film director. In the onscreen cast list, actor Humphrey Davis was listed as "Humprey Davis."
That Night! was an independent production made for RKO release. When that company ceased distribution, its unreleased projects were picked up and distributed by Universal-International. The film's original title-as on the print viewed-was minus the exclamation mark. The film was subsequently promoted the slogans "An Intimate Look into That Most Important Night of Any Marriage!" and "Seldom has the Screen Seen Such a Daring Theme!" However, that campaign was muted and less sensational for the New York opening. The August 22, 1957 premiere took place in Stamford, CT, Wallace's hometown. The film received very good reviews, with several praising its use of authentic New York locations. The New York Times review stated: "...crisp little independent picture...It is not a particularly cheering picture. In fact, it is doggone sobering. It sets one to thinking, breathing deeply and walking slowly out of the theatre when it is done. But it is constantly gripping and absorbing."