[Quick Summary: A prosecutor takes a female defendant to his hometown during Christmas break.]
You should know (if you didn't already):
1) Sturges writes brilliant minor characters.
2) He doesn't waste any of them.
ex. After the prosecutor (Sargent) sleeps in a field, he's brought to a judge for trespassing.
"SARGENT (very amiably): Good morning, Your Honor, I'm afraid there's been a little misunderstanding here all around. This gentleman... (He indicates the owner).....found my car parked in his field and naturally came to the conclusion.....
THE JUSTICE (interrupting): What's the charge, Hank?
THE OWNER: Trespass on posted property, wanton destruction of fence and petty larceny.
SARGENT (indignantly): That's a ga....
THE JUSTICE (interrupting): What'd they steal?
THE OWNER: They were milking one of my cows when I caught them."
Note how funny and well-rounded they are:
- The judge interrupts with confidence. He's in charge here.
- The owner isn't afraid to speak up. He's a complaining comic relief.
Also note how they move the story forward:
- The judge treats Sargent (who is a lawyer) as a potential criminal. He turns Sargent's world upside down.
- The owner's accusations push Sargent and the defendant closer and work as a team.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I often forget to fully flesh out minor characters. No more.
Remember the Night (1940)
by Preston Sturges