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Fantastic Night

Fantastic Night

A Feature film by Marcel L'Herbier

Produced by Union Technique Cinématographique (UTC)

Release in France : 10/07/1942

  • Contents

Actors (22)

Production and distribution (2)

TV Broadcasts: Cumulative total

TV broadcasts: details by country


Denis is distracted: he's studying all day for philosophy exams and working all night at the flower market; plus, whenever he closes his eyes, he dreams of a mysterious woman in white. His girlfriend Nina is annoyed at him for his inattention, so she steps out behind his back with a friend of his. One night, while napping at the flower mart, he pursues the mystery woman in what he thinks is a dream, and finds himself with her in a restaurant with her father and her fiancé, then on to a magic shop, the Louvre, a nightclub, and a mental asylum. During the night, he discovers a plot against her, and still believing it's a dream, goes to great lengths to try to save her.

Source : IMDb



As L'Herbier was finishing Histoire de rire, his first film made during the Occupation, he was presented with a scenario written by Louis Chavance and Maurice Henry which immediately suggested to him the possibility of creating a film in the spirit of some of his earlier silent films, on a theme that he characterised as a "realistic fairy-tale". (At the time he seemed to be thinking of a tradition begun by the films of Georges Méliès, though in his later memoirs he made a link rather with a style derived from the Lumière brothers, in which realistic images were here pushed towards a kind of surrealism.) It gave him the opportunity to return to the kinds of experiment with visual style, and now also with sound effects, which had marked silent films such as L'Inhumaine and Feu Mathias Pascal.

The dialogue was written by Henri Jeanson, uncredited because he was at the time forbidden to work for the press or the cinema following his imprisonment for pacifist writings and non-cooperation with the Vichy government.

Filming began in December 1941 at the Joinville studios in Paris. L'Herbier described the working conditions as being the worst he had known because of the extreme cold, sometimes as low as -15°C, but at the same time he found it an exhilarating experience because he felt a creative freedom that he not known for many years.


La Nuit fantastique was first shown in Paris in July 1942, in a version running for about 90 minutes because of nearly 15 minutes of cuts made by the distributor. L'Herbier blamed this for the film's lack of success with the public during 1942 and 1943. It was only in 1944 that a complete version was released. This prompted André Bazin to write a substantial review article in which he asserted the film's significance in establishing a new spirit of independence to French film-making and in rehabilitating the spirit of Méliès and "the marvelous". Another critic who saw the film on its release recalled it later with enthusiasm, saying that it had restored a sense of innovation to the Occupation cinema.

Source : Wikipedia

Full credits (13)

Assistant directors :

Robert-Paul Dagan, Jean Laviron

Dialogue Writer :

Henri Jeanson

Screenwriter :

Louis Chavance

Sound Recordist :

Maurice Carrouet

Production Manager :

Hubert Vincent-Bréchignac

Production Designer :

René Moulaert

Artistic Director :

Marcel Magniez

Adapters/dialogue writers :

Louis Chavance, Marcel L'Herbier, Maurice Henry

Producers :

Guillaume Radot, André Mallet

Director of Photography :

Pierre Montazel

Camera Operator :

Henri Tiquet

Editors :

Suzanne Catelain, Emilienne Nelissen

Music Composer :

Maurice Thiriet

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :


Sub-genre :

Romantic comedy, Legend, Fantasy

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Original French-language productions :


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French release :


Runtime :

1 h 43 min

Current status :


Visa number :


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Color type :

Black & White

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Posters (2)


Festival Selections

Festival du Film français en Israël  - 2005

Festival du Film français en Israël (Israel, 2005)


Official Selection