TENDER IS THE NIGHT is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel about a wealthy but disturbed woman of the 1920s who marries her psychiatrist. As she becomes stronger, he becomes weaker and totally dependent on her emotionally and financially.


Fitzgerald wrote beautiful prose, but much of his work has been difficult to adapt to the screen. He himself worked as a writer in Hollywood but wound up uncredited on most of the scripts and told someone that he did recognize one of his lines in a film that evidently had not been cut from a script. In this film, Robards plays Dick Driver, a psychiatrist who falls for one of his patients, Nicole. Nicole is being treated for mental instability, the result of incest. When Dick realizes his feelings, and hers, he quickly distances himself, but she runs into him after she leaves the sanitarium and the two wind up getting married.

Robards falls in love with the beautiful Jones as he helps bring her out of her mental illness. The Code was as omnipresent as David O. Selznick and the barest hint of the cause of her illness was made because talk of incest was still a big taboo. It would take Chinatown more than ten years later to bring that sin into the open on screen. One thing that wasn’t included from the novel was a theme of miscegenation as well in deference to our Southern audiences still not the beneficiaries of the Civil Rights revolution. Fascinating as to what was considered worse by Hollywood box office standards in 1962.

The DVD comes with no special features, but it’s another stellar Movie on Demand release from FOX. The A/V Quality is pretty strong for a vintage flick. However, there are points where the audio track kept slipping out of Mono and into a paper thin Dolby 2.0 mix. I’m not sure whether to chalk that up to my receiver trying to rid the non-remastered audio and doing its best or something else. Still, it’s well representative of its age. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to classic cinema fans.


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