Synopsis by Hal Erickson
In the wake of The Thin Man, every studio in Hollywood scrambled to churn out sophisticated mystery-comedies wherein murders are solved by a wealthy, attractive, fun-loving young couple. One of the best of these Thin Man derivations was Universal's Remember Last Night, adapted from Adam Hobhouse's novel Hangover Murders. During a wild cocktail party at the Long Island estate of Tony and Carlotta Milburn (Robert Young and Constance Cummings), one of the guests is murdered. It does not help at all that the revellers were too drunk to remember exactly what happened -- nor is it beneficial to the case that Detective Danny Harrison (Edward Arnold) is a personal friend of all the suspects. In addition, no one but Harrison seems willing to take the case seriously, though of course eventually Tony and Carlotta are obliged to do a bit of sleuthing on their own. The light-hearted aspects of the film are offset by moments of genuine terror, notably the scene in which Professor Jones (Gustav von Seyffertitz) attempts to solve the mystery by hypnotizing the suspects, only to become a victim himself when he gets too close to the truth. An unbilled E.E. Clive provides some great black-humor moments as a police photographer who prefers to "artfully" arrange the corpses. As always, director James Whale invests his material with several of his visual trademarks, including his fascination with elaborate set decorations. There are probably more off-angle close-ups of fancy wall clocks in this picture than in any other Hollywood film -- and how about that cocktail bar in the Milburn's living room, designed in the shape of a yacht?
investigation, murder, killing