Julie Andrews and James Gardner are at their very best in this charming holiday tale of two lonely people finding their way to each other after the loss of their respective spouses to Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Julie plays a fiesty surgeon who values her independence. James plays a construction foreman with a few old-fashioned notions about what women can/can’t do, and the clash is inevitable! It’s hilarious, sweet, and funny all at the same time. You’ll LOVE watching this video and will surely want to add it to your personal collection. It’s a classic for Julie Andrews fans!
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I only came across this beautiful little television movie a few months ago but after a viewing last week I can honestly say it’s a pleasure to welcome Julie Andrews back in the kind of acting vehicle which suits her perfectly. Reteamed with veteran actor James Garner for the third time this pair of experienced movie pros work wonders with a touching and quite thought provoking story about loss in its many forms and how different people tend to handle it. Filmed in a chilly Montreal “One Special Night”, takes us into the lives of two very different people who’s lives have taken some unexpected turns for the worse and how during the lead up to the Christmas season these two individuals happen to find not only each other but also themselves at the same time. Romance between two older people hasn’t been portrayed on screen as well in a long time and Julie Andrews and James Garner display that wonderful chemistry that they enjoyed together so well in their earlier teamings in “The Amercianization of Emily” and in “Victor/Victoria”.
As the story opens we find these two individuals, Robert (James Garner) and Catherine (Julie Andrews), living and working in the same part of Montreal without knowing each other. Just as the Christmas season is getting underway Robert becomes stranded at the hospital after visiting his wife who is suffering from dementia and alzheimers due to a sudden heavy blizzard. Hospital worker Catherine impulsively offers him a lift home in her car and to say the pair immediately have a clash of wills is an understatement as they disagree on everything to do with life and people however the pair face an even worse dilemma when Catherine’s car slides off the road and the pair become lost. After an amusing trip on a tractor the pair seek refuge in an unoccupied cabin and are forced to stay the night there as the blizzard increases in ferocity and communications have been cut. However after the initial antagonism the pair; so very different in every way, over the course of the evening find a great source of comfort in each others company as they talk about their families and their own lives and especially their partners, in Robert’s case a terminally sick wife and in Catherine’s case her deceased but much missed husband. After spending the evening in the cabin the pair are finally rescued in the morning by Robert’s son in law and they make a date to meet in a week’s time at a coffee house they both know. However the best laid plans often go astray and the day they are due to meet Robert’s wife dies and Catherine believes he decided against further contact. It takes the approaching delivery of Robert’s grandchild to finally reunite the pair just as Christmas begins when at the hospital Catherine finally discovers the real reason why Robert didn’t arrive at the coffee house. All ends happily when the actual birth of the child at which Catherine is present cements the future relationship that this couple never expected to have happen to them at this supposedly “late” period of their lives
Despite the story of “One Special Night”, being opened out with an examination of the family problems among the siblings of James Garner’s character this film is very much a two character study from beginning to end. I often feel that because of her extraordinary musical talents and her huge string of successes in that area with classics like “Mary Poppins”, and “The Sound of Music”, Julie Andrews’ dramatic abilities are often strangely overlooked. You only have to go back to the first collaboration between Julie and James Garner “The Americanisation of Emily”, to see what she was capable of if given a strong dramatic role. Here in “One Special Night”, she is again given a similiar opportunity to shine dramatically and as in her work in another earlier television movie she made with Ann Margaret titled “Our Sons”, which dealt with the effects of A.I.D s on two families she proves what a superb dramatic actress she truly is. As the lonely Catherine still not dealing with her husband’s passing she is both strong and vulnerable and is always very identifiable to anyone who has suffered a similar loss. Her chemistry with James Garner in “One Special Night”, is vivid as always and it is a credit to these two gifted performers that their three films together have all been so different in content and the demands they have placed on them as performers with both coming up trumps each time. James Garner gives I believe one of his finest recent performances and is on a par with his superlative work in the tragic television movie “Heartsounds”, which he made with Mary Tyler Moore many years back. The screenplay despite dealing with a Christmas themed story never shirks from displaying real human emotion and the romance between Catherine and Robert is never a smooth sailing affair but is one that experiences numerous misunderstandings and crossed signals that do threaten to end the connection these two…
This is by far one of my favorite holiday movies! I just caught it again (for the third time) on Lifetime, on Thanksgiving night and it was a wonderful way to wind down Thanksgiving and begin the Christmas season, as the movie takes place on Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas morning. Julie Andrews has long been a favorite of mine and I was excited to see her reunited with James Garner. It is obvious that they have worked together previously and their chemistry is perfect as two “strangers in the night.” It is charming without being overly sentimental and is just a pleasure to watch because it is so well written (you really get to know these characters within a 2-hour span)and it leaves you wanting to know more about them, more about their past and their future together. Do yourself a favor, make a cup of tea and sit down and enjoy this most enchanting holiday movie.