USA Today - 08/04/2000
"...This is one of the great unsung Fonda performances....[With] crisp film-noirish photography..."
Told almost entirely in flashback, THE LONG NIGHT reveals how Joe Adams (Henry Fonda), a World War II veteran trying to adjust to civilian life, comes to murder second-rate magician and con man Maximilian (eerily played by Vincent Price). Since the murder, Joe has locked himself in his apartment, hiding from the police while trying to recall the events that led up to this horrifying moment. The flashbacks use surreal imagery and film noir storytelling to show Joe's life as a sandblaster in a grimy mill town on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. It is here that he meets the lovely dreamer, Jo Ann (Barbara Bel Geddes), who desperately wants to escape her dull life. When magician Maximilian and his assistant, Charlene (Ann Dvorak), come to town, the creepy magician tries to con Joe and seduce Jo Ann, with the situation steadily escalating. Featuring an all-night police battle scene and Fonda's deft performance, director Anatole Litvak's THE LONG NIGHT makes for a gritty, engaging drama.
THE LONG NIGHT is told almost entirely in flashback by Joe Adams (Henry Fonda), relating how he came to murder the man who now lays dead in his apartment (Vincent Price).
THE LONG NIGHT is a remake of the 1939 film LE JOUR SE LEVE. Original director Marcel Carné said it was the flashback construction of the film, not the plot, that originally drew him to do LE JOUR SE LEVE.
Henry Fonda chose the role of Joe Adams after returning from service during World War II, wanting to change his image as a romantic lead in light comedies.
Jo Ann was Barbara Bel Geddes' debut role. She went on to star in many other films, most notably Hitchcock's VERTIGO and television's DALLAS series.