The Last Temptation of Christmas

This is from REMEMBER THE NIGHT, written by Preston Sturges and directed by Mitchell Leisen. Though Sturges was often very critical of the way other directors handled his work during his screenwriter-for-hire period, and his script was considerably shortened by Leisen here, we know this is one of the Paramount films Sturges kept a print of, so he must have been somewhat pleased with the result.

The overused word “underrated” is easy to apply to Leisen, particularly after the decades-long campaign waged against his reputation by another writer, Billy Wilder. Interestingly, in Wilder’s last major interview, with Cameron Crowe, while Crowe procedes with the usual Wilder-approved Leisen-bashing (based in part on the director’s background as art director for DeMille, and his homosexuality), Wilder actually softens his view, with an only-slightly-grudging “He was a very good director.”

More on Leisen soon. And somebody needs to write the “definitive cinematic study” of Sterling Holloway, whose rendition of “The End of a Perfect Day” is calculated to release those pent-up emotions that tend to attach themselves to us at this time of year.

“As it turned out, the picture had quite a lot of schmaltz, a good dose of schmertz and just enough schmutz to make it box office.” — P. Sturges.

It's Chriiiiiiiiistmas!!!

My pal and Benshi film describer David has a fine overview of Leisen’s career and themes HERE:

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/05/leisen.html

One Response to “The Last Temptation of Christmas”

  1. […] had respected Leisen enough to hire him to film one of his best scripts. And EASY LIVING and REMEMBER THE NIGHT, discovered in the Lindsay Anderson Archive, showed that Leisen could also do great work with […]

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