Jette's very good column the other day called Remember the Night one of the seven Christmas movies you haven't ever seen. Jette caught it on TV once and hadn't watched it since. This 1940 romantic comedy is another one of those films that reminds you why you'd better not ditch your VHS player yet. If you want to see this (and, oh, you will want to see this, if you're a Preston Sturges fan), you have three options: one is to buy a grey-market DVD, something anyone with a search engine and a credit card can do. Another is to get one of the few VHS copies available off Amazon for $50 (excuse me, $49.99). The last, and cheapest, is to live in an urban area with a good specialty video store--such as Silver Screen in the Berkeley area suburb of El Cerrito.
If the last is the case, it's worth checking today to see if someone hasn't rented it out yet. Remember the Night is an unknown classic of the holiday, stressing romance, comedy and -- most important on Christmas -- hope and rebirth. The American cinema's most versatile actress, Barbara Stanwyck plays a character study for screenwriter Sturges' later The Lady Eve. Here she's a larcenous woman who turns out to be essentially no worse than the people around her.