- by ZoŽ
The story of Cole Porter's
- by Heather
Night and Day is a beautiful musical biography of the life
of composer Cole Porter. The movie is worth seeing, simply for the beautiful score that
will have you singing long after the movie is over. This movie traces the life of Porter
from his days at Yale (keep an ear out for the Yale Fight Song, written by Porter) where
he met Monty Wooly, through the war, his marriage, his tragic equestrian accident, and the
many operations that followed, ending up at a Yale reunion. The cast also features a young
Jane Wyman, Monty Woolley as himself, and Mary Martin as herself. The film has some very
moving moments, such as the composition of the song Night and Day at a French hospital
during the war, some very funny moments, and is over all a touching film that leaves you
with a smile. It's one I've watched over and over again, and if you're not singing for a
long while afterwards, you're a stronger person than I!
"Would you be quiet! (turns to her date) Some people
just can't appreciate a song of this magnitude" - a woman in the audience shushing
Cole and his soon-to-be wife, Linda at the opening of 'The Gay Divorcee', during the
performance of "Night and Day"
"Every year, I get 6 or 7 razors for Christmas" -
Monty Wooly, bemoaning the fact that all of his Christmas presents are pranks to get him
to shave his famous beard.
"Well, here's another." - Cole Porter, adding his
razor to the pile.
Film Review - July 10, 1946
- by "Abel"
- submitted by Barry Martin
"Night and Day" is a smash. It will mop up from New England to New Zealand. It has everything.
So much for the boxoffice equation. But there are other elements about this filmusical, based on the career of Cole Porter, which warrant accenting. Primarily it is, perhaps, the best of the songsmith biographicals to date.
There's also this about "Night and Day" - it's the first biographical about a vibrantly alive and active showman-songwriter. While George M. Cohan lived to see his career immortalized in celluloid, he was an ailing man. Then, too, where other film blogs have had a tendency to barely touch salient details, the Porter
and loses none of the on-writer's real-life impact.
A season hasn't gone by without some new set of Cole Porter songs, and the extent of his prolific and memorable catalog of his well nigh staggers the auditor of this 128-minute cinematurgical unfolding.
It's to the credit of director Mike Curtiz, producer Arthur Schwartz and the combined scripters that they weighed the fruitful elements so intelligently, and kept it all down as much as they did. Many a complete routine and portions of others must have would up on the cutting room floor. Wisely all steered clear of making this a blend of "and then I wrote" and a Technicolored song-plug
Here's a guy to whom nothing more exciting happens than that he's born to millions and stays in a "rut" for the rest of his career by making more money. One of the script's dialogicians perhaps tried to cue the sophisticated film fan by having one of the theatrical manager characters observe that Porters stuff is too sophisticated; perhaps he should have started poor on the East Side like so many of the other show biz personalities.
The plot, per se, therefore is static, on analysis, but paradoxically it emerges into a surprisingly interesting unfolding. A real-life ambulance driver in World War I, Porter is shown with the French army. Alexis Smith plays the nurse whom he marries; she's previously introduced as of an aristocratic family. And
thereafter, save for a fall off a spirited steed which has caused Porter much real-life suffering because of broken legs which never set properly, the footage of "Night and Day" is a
succession of hit shows and hit songs.
The tunes are chronologically mixed up a bit - a cinematic license with which none can be captious - and the romantic story line takes the accent principally in that Miss Smith seeks to get her husband away from the mad show biz whirl of London and Broadway. The plea to hide away in their villa on the Riviera plays better than it sounds. It's not stuffy. The aura is all of constant success and the atmosphere is lush for the major portion of the picture. The title song is properly insinuated as the personal theme song of Linda and Cole Porter's private lives.
The talents are socko even though their opportunities are limited. Firstly, Cary Grant as Cole Porter underplays and does his chores exceedingly well, especially as the film progresses. He's a bit old for a Yale undergraduate in the early sequences.
Ginny Simms fares best of the featured femmes, looking a bit like Ethel Merman and handling some of Miss Merman's show tunes - "Got You Under My Skin" (with Adam & Jayne Di Gatano standouts in the accompanying terps); "Just One of Those Things," "You're the Top" (with Grant) and "I Get a Kick Out of You." She's first introduced as a music demonstration counter chirper to Grant's piano-pounding, at the time when he refused help from his family and, with Yale professor-actor Monty Woolley (playing himself), tried to break into show business.
Woolley is capital as the bombastic, brash ex-Yale prof as is Jane Wyman in her
soubret role. Eve Arden gets much out of her chantoosey comedienne bit. Carlos Ramirez registers wih "Begin the Beguine," as Milada Miladova and George Zoritch click with their dance specialty in one of the better LeRoy Prinz dance stagings. Incidentally, "Night and Day" may well be Prinz's best terp production job to date, blending popular values with good imaginative qualities.
Mary Martin gets a buildup for her "Heart Belongs to Daddy" polite strip, looking better as the sequence progresses, for the lens
wasn't too kind to her in the forepart. Estelle Sloan clicks with a sensational tap routine which should catapult her to further attention. The rest are bits but solid such as French impresario Victor Francen,
Selena Royle as Porter's mother, and Henry Stepheson is capital as his grandfather. Also Alan Hale, Donald Woods, Paul Cavanagh, among others.
Unseen but well heard stars of "Night and Day" are the musical artificers who have done a corking job of mixing the Porter
music and serving it so palatably. Ray Heindorf rates particularly in this connection for his production numbers which he orchestrated and maestroed. All the music credits are above par.
"Night and Day" is Warner Bros. keynote production in connection with the company's current buildup campaign to celebrate the 20th anniversary of sound. As with "Don Juan," "Lights of New York" and "The Jazz Singer," which 20 years ago helped WB create a new film era, "Night and Day" takes its place with the screen' distinguished motion picture entertainments.
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - July 26, 1946
- by T.M.P.
- submitted by Barry Martin
"Night and Day" the Warner Brothers, who are reminding
one and all via this picture that they brought sound to the screen
twenty years ago (come Aug.6), have fashioned a generally pleasant
and musically exciting show patterned loosely after the career of
Cole Porter. With Cary Grant giving a casual and thoroughly
ingratiating performance as the gifted song writer, and with Monty
Woolley on hand to let some delightfully acid comments drop where
they may in his best "man-who-came-to-dinner" manner,
the new Technicolored opus at the Hollywood Theatre moves with
slick cinematic and rhythmical ease from one Porter hit tuneshow
and Day" begs quick dismissal as an idealistic smattering of
biography about a living personality, there is no denying that it
is stuffed with the gaudy things that make for a visually handsome
entertainment. Brief and not precisely accurate glimpses of the
tunesmith's early family life in Indiana, his days at Yale, when
he dashed off the football hymn "Bulldog," and his
experiences with the French Army in the first World War are
followed by a lively series of excerpts from a half dozen or so of
his more popular Broadway shows.
It is natural that
the bulk of the story should deal with the salad days of the
composer's career, for they were indeed fruitful days that
enriched Broadway with sparkling musicals such as "The New
Yorkers," "Paris," "Fifty Million
Frenchmen," "Anything Goes" and "Gay
Divorcee" and set us all to humming the brittle-lyrics to a
host of songs, including "You're the Top," "Let's
Do It," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "You Do
Something to Me" and many, many others. Ginny Simms sings
most of the songs, putting them over nicely in her own pleasant
and sort of blue-velvet-tone voice without making any attempt to
imitate the style of an Irene Bordoni or an Ethel Merman. Just as
Mary Martin is in the picture for one delectable sequence, doing
the popular "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" as only she
knows how to put that suggestive ballad over. "Begin the
Beguine," certainly one of Porter's best and most frequently
played tunes, is richly sung by Carlos Ramirez in a setting of
lush tropical splendor, and there is a sizzling specialty tap
dance by Estelle Sloan. LeRoy Prinz, the dance director, has
provided generally plausible and eye-catching settings for the
Day" is a fulsome entertainment, well larded with the flavor
of the Broadway show world and touches of sentiment, romantic and
otherwise, which smack more of Hollywood than Porter. Alexis
Smith's role as Mrs. Porter is largely fictional, but the actress
performs the part with a great deal of charm. Jane Wyman, as a
show girl, and Eve Arden, who plays a French songstress in broad
burlesque, are both very amusing. Michael Curtiz, who was
responsible for the over-all direction of the picture, never
permits "Night and Day" to drag. His is more of an
achievement than might be readily apparent, considering the
sprawling character of the production and the rather thin and
conventional scenario the scenarists concocted about the fabulous
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
<< Back to Reviews | Top of Page