AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Night Without Sleep
Alternate Title: Purple like Grapes
Director: Roy Baker (Dir)
Release Date:   Nov 1952
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 26 Sep 1952; Los Angeles opening: 10 Nov 1952
Production Date:   7 Apr--late Apr 1952; retakes began 30 Jun 1952
Duration (in mins):   77-78
Duration (in feet):   6,977
Duration (in reels):   9
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Cast:   Linda Darnell (Julie Bannon)  
    Gary Merrill (Richard Morton)  
    Hidegarde Neff (Lisa Muller)  
    Joyce MacKenzie (Laura Harkness)  
    June Vincent (Emily Fletcher Morton)  
    Donald Randolph (Dr. Clarke)  
    Hugh Beaumont (John Harkness)  
    Louise Lorimer (Mrs Carter)  
    William Forrest (Mr. Carter)  
    Steven Geray (George, maître d')  
    Mauri Lynn (Singer at club in Harlem)  
    Bill Walker (Henry)  
    Mae Marsh (Maid)  
    Ben Carter (Benny)  
    Jack Boyle (Dance director)  
    Sam Pierce (Sam)  
    Michael Ferris (Ship steward)  
    Sylvia Simms (Phone operator)  
    Beverly Tyler (Kit, singer)  
    Harry Seymour (Ned)  
    Charles Tannen (Steve Brooks)  
    Albin Robeling    
    Tubby, a dog    

Summary: Early one morning, Richard Morton, an alcoholic, washed-up composer and playwright, awakens from a nightmare in which he has killed someone. Uncertain what time it is, Richard stumbles around the living room and remembers how he met his wife Emily: Six years earlier, Richard has just finished the score of his new play, Purple Like Grapes , when he learns that there is not enough money to produce it. A friend of Richard's induces wealthy socialite Emily Fletcher to back the show, and Emily, who had met Richard before and fallen in love with him, bets Richard that he will marry her if the show is a success. Back at the house, Richard muses that Emily won her bet but did not back a winner, as he has not written anything since then, despite her constant nagging. Believing that only an hour has passed since he took Emily to the airport to visit her family in Boston, Richard remembers the quarrel they had as she packed: Emily reprimands Richard for being drunk so early in the afternoon, and for wasting money on a psychoanalyst. Resenting Emily's wealth and mothering, Richard accuses her of not caring about him as a person and only wanting him to be "her genius." While Emily taunts Richard about his lack of success, he tries to arouse her jealousy by stating that he has a mistress. Emily laughs at him, and back in the present, Richard realizes that it is morning rather than evening, and therefore thirteen hours have passed since he took Emily to the airport not one. Concerned about his memory loss, Richard then recalls the last time he saw his psychiatrist, Dr. Clarke, who warned him that because of his alcoholism and latent hostility toward women, he could commit murder if he blacked out. Trying desperately to remember the previous evening, Richard realizes that he has on a tie belonging to his friend, John Harkness, and remembers driving from his Long Island home to John's apartment in New York City: At their apartment, John and his wife Laura are having a cocktail party, and although Richard is already drunk, he has yet another martini. Richard is distracted from his problems with Emily and from his upcoming date with his mistress, Lisa Muller, when he catches the eye of movie star Julie Bannon. Richard is immediately taken with the lovely, gracious Julie, who reveals that they met six years earlier, although Richard does not remember her. Julie, who is to leave for London in the morning, accepts a cab ride from Richard, and their mutual attraction grows. Richard reluctantly leaves her to meet Lisa, who is furious that he is late. Incensed by Richard's drunkenness and callousness, Lisa refuses to be placated and throws a glass of water in his face. Angered, Richard tells her that one day she will go too far, then apologizes and promises that he would never hurt her. After the weeping Lisa storms out of the restaurant, Richard calls Julie, who agrees to go with him to a club in Harlem. There, Richard gives Julie a single rose and their romance intensifies. After dinner, Julie finally reveals to Richard that she was a dancer in Purple Like Grapes and developed on crush on him that has never faded. Richard admits that he is unhappy with his wife, but fears that it is too late for him to start anew with Julie. At Richard's studio, he plays the piano for Julie, who enthusiastically declares that he could resume working if he set his mind to it. Richard lashes out at her, stating that she is just like all the other women who have pushed him to succeed. Crying, Julie declares that Richard hates women and leaves. As Richard is having another martini, Lisa phones and begs him to come to her apartment. There, Lisa attempts to make up with Richard but realizes that he has fallen in love with someone else. When she learns that the other woman is Julie, Lisa threatens to cause a scandal and ruin her reputation. Enraged, Richard comes after her, but back in the present, can remember no more. At his home, Richard fears that he killed Lisa and calls her apartment. After many rings, Lisa finally answers and assures him that he did not hurt her. Wondering if he has misremembered the argument with Lisa and could have killed Julie instead, Richard then phones her hotel, and is relieved to learn that she, too, is well. Feeling confident, Richard goes upstairs and is horrified to discover Emily's body in the bedroom. Realizing that he must have blacked out, killed Emily and then left for his date with Lisa, Richard is filled with remorse. Before he can call the police, however, Julie arrives to bid him farewell, and he makes her promise to go on with her life no matter what happens to him. After she leaves, Richard calls the purser aboard the Queen Mary , and when Julie later settles into her cabin, she is touched to find that Richard has sent her a single rose. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Roy Baker (Dir)
  Gerd Oswald (Asst dir)
Producer: Robert Bassler (Prod)
Writer: Frank Partos (Scr)
  Elick Moll (Scr)
Photography: Lucien Ballard (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Lyle Wheeler (Art dir)
  Addison Hehr (Art dir)
Film Editor: Nick De Maggio (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Thomas Little (Set dec)
  Paul S. Fox (Set dec)
Costumes: Charles LeMaire (Ward dir)
  Renie (Cost des)
Music: Cyril Mockridge (Mus)
  Lionel Newman (Mus dir)
  Edward Powell (Orch)
Sound: Arthur L. Kirbach (Sd)
  Harry M. Leonard (Sd)
Special Effects: Ray Kellogg (Spec photog eff)
Make Up: Ben Nye (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: Sam Wurtzel (Unit prod mgr)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Too Late for Spring," music by Alfred Newman, lyrics by Haven Gillespie; "Look at Me," music by Alfred Newman, lyrics by Ken Darby.
Composer: Ken Darby
  Haven Gillespie
  Alfred Newman
Source Text: Based on the novel Night Without Sleep by Elick Moll (Boston, 1950).
Authors: Elick Moll

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 25/9/1952 dd/mm/yyyy LP2350

PCA NO: 15882
Physical Properties: Sd: Western Electric Recording
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Psychological
 
Subjects (Major): Alcoholics
  Drunkenness
  Memory
  Motion picture actors and actresses
  Murder
  Playwrights
 
Subjects (Minor): African Americans
  Cocktails
  Dogs
  German Americans
  Long Island (NY)
  Misogyny
  Mistresses
  New York City
  New York City--Harlem
  Nightclubs
  Psychiatrists
  Psychoanalysis
  S.S. Queen Mary
  Restaurants
  Roses
  Singers
  Wagers
  Wives

Note: The working title of this film was Purple Like Grapes . Elick Moll's book first appeared as a novelette in Cosmopolitan in Jun 1949 under the title "Purple Like Grapes." In Feb 1950 LAT reported that after co-writing the screenplay with Frank Partos, Moll wrote a novelization of the screenplay, which was published in book form as Night Without Sleep . The LAT news item also announced that Edmund Goulding had been named to direct the picture. According to a 3 Aug 1949 HR news item, Tyrone Power was originally set as the picture's star, and Susan Hayward was under consideration for one of the female leads. On 4 Nov 1949, LAEx reported that Richard Basehart would play the male lead. Although a 15 Apr 1952 HR news item includes Harry Carter, Harold Miller, Richard Gordon and Sayre Dearing in the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   11 Oct 1952.   
Daily Variety   26 Sep 52   p. 3.
Film Daily   1 Oct 52   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Feb 49   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Aug 49   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Apr 52   p. 4, 10.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Apr 52   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Apr 52   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Apr 52   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jun 52   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Sep 52   p. 4.
Los Angeles Examiner   4 Jul 1949.   
Los Angeles Examiner   4 Nov 1949.   
Los Angeles Examiner   11 Nov 1952.   
Los Angeles Times   15 Feb 1950.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   4 Oct 52   p. 1550.
New York Times   27 Sep 52   p. 13.
Variety   1 Oct 52   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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