The Big Night (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Big Night (1951)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Nineteen-year-old John Barrymore Jr. made an impressive starring debut in The Big Night. Barrymore plays George La Main, a young man whose father, ex-boxer Andy La Main (Preston S. Foster), is inexplicably beaten up by sportswriter Al Judge (Howard St. John). Journeying farther and farther into the nether regions of his city's "night world," George tries to find out why his dad was roughed up. Along the way, he makes the acquaintance of a variety of "fringies," played by such able performers as Howard Chamberlain, Philip Bourneuf, Joan Lorring, and, in her last film, Dorothy (Citizen Kane) Comingore. The Big Night was co-adapted by director Joseph Losey and screenwriter Stanley Ellin from Ellin's "dark" novel Dreadful Summit.

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John Drew Barrymore
as George La Main
Preston S. Foster
as Andy La Main
Joan Lorring
as Marion Rostina
Dorothy Comingore
as Julie Rostina
Philip Bourneuf
as Dr. Lloyd Cooper
Emile G. Meyer
as Packingpaugh
Myron Healey
as Kennealy
Mauri Lynn
as Tery Angelus
Robert Aldrich
as Ringside Fight Fan
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Critic Reviews for The Big Night

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

Losey's nerve-jangling style matches the subject: his images' crisscrossing and striated lines evoke George's unresolved tangle of conscience and identity.

December 2, 2019 | Full Review…

Apparently everybody was concerned with theatrical effects and forgot all about a story with point and intelligence.

February 10, 2007 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

The Big Night is so slow, murkily lit, and incoherently involved with the meek pantomime of John Barrymore, Jr., that it might make more sense if the reels were run backward.

September 15, 2021 | Full Review…

Neither juvenile delinquent drama or a wild youth thriller, this is a portrait in rage and shame and disappointment in fathers and father figures.

May 4, 2012 | Full Review…

An hysterical melodrama posing as a film noir due to the dark underworld it inhabits.

February 7, 2007 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews

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The Big Night Quotes

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