- by ZoŽ
Stephen has signed a
contract as a new Paramount player. He goes home to find his wife in the
arms of a Parisian chap called Gerald. It all gets quite complicated, when
Stephen falls in love with a woman, Germaine, who is hired to pose as Gerald's wife. Eventually, Stephen and his wife get back together, and Gerald
falls for Germaine.
- by Cheryl Trahan
"This Is The Night" was made in 1932, the first
full feature film for Cary Grant. Cary plays an Olympic javelin thrower who returns home
to find his wife with another man, Roland Young. Roland Young immediately invents a wife
and then must produce one. He hires an actress, Lily Damita, to play the wife, then falls
in love with her. Cary is suspicious, questions the "wife" and feels attracted
to her. His wife, Thelma Todd, then becomes jealous and regrets her affair with Roland
Young. "This Is The Night" is a forerunner to the Screwball comedies that Cary
becomes famous for later on. The humor is great and Cary's entrance into film is very
funny, he is singing at the top of his lungs!! Some of the humor is forced, but still very
funny. The silent film influence is still evident with a great deal of physical action
going on. Thelma Todd's dress gets caught in the door of the car at the beginning of the
movie and this scene is priceless. The gag is carried out through the remainder of the
movie, with the chauffeur/servant always as the culprit.
VARIETY Film Review - April 19, 1932
- by "Bige"
- submitted by Barry Martin
Smartly produced and directed Frenchy bedroom chase that could
have been assured of a better showing with more marquee strength
Lily Damita and Charlie Ruggles will have do to the personal
drawing, with Roland Young problematical and Thelma Todd doubtful;
but the cast's excellent work and the picture's directorial
quality make it entertainment that should see moderately good
returns all over.
By his satirical application of
music to comic situations and the tongue-in-cheek treatment from
start to finish, Frank Tuttle's meg work cannot escape comparison
with Lubitsch brand. It follows the same trend of thinking
and the results are as near perfect as they could be with a flimsy
farce plot as the framework.
The yarn was built for a Chevalier
by nature. Since there's no such male personality in the
troupe, the romance burden was given to Miss Damita. The
stage version ('Naughty Cinderella') was handled similarly with
Irene Bordoni the lead. Masculine phase is devoted chiefly
to high comedy, as handled by Ruggles and Young. No heavy
lover type is Young but his droll, dry wit carries him through.
Dialog on the whole is spicy for
the screen, with a strip that's somewhat Minsky by Miss Damita,
and some leg stuff for comedy and other purposes boosting the s.
Fooling the old man in the familiar
manner is the basis of the plot, which is enough evidence that the
story could not have made the grade without the treatment
received. Young succeeds in combining pathos and laughs, a
trick that every high-grade film comedian must know. His
comedy side kick, Ruggles, continues to be a sure-fire laugh
grabber, but the sure-fire point seems likely to get him into
trouble and possibly shorten his screen life. They're go
Ruggles doing a stew again, and, as there is but one way to play
soused, for Ruggles or anyone else, repetition is beginning to
hurt. In non-alcoholic moments Ruggles is an exceptionally
versatile and suave comic.
Mis Damita plays the misunderstood
French girl well enough, and, as usual, is physically effective,
although a switch in make-up, chiefly the bangs, is a slight
setback. Thelma Todd is the other woman - tall, blonde,
stunning and perfect. It's hard to tell about Cary Grant in
this talker due to limitations of his role, but he looks like a
potential femme rave.
Miss Todd as a married lady who's
stuck on another fellow, although her much better looking and
younger husband is a champ javelin tosser, has the bad habit of
losing her dress in slammed doors. The first breakaway dress
bit and the picture's opening are advance notice of the director's
plans. Gown bit No. 1 occurs as she steps from a limousine
to enter the theatre. The crowd starts to chant 'She's Lost
Her Dress,' and the lyrics are reprised all over town. Stunt
photography is largely responsible for the effective opening, and
the camera is relied on for good results through out the footage.
Technical production end very good,
especially the Venice canal views, which carry the bulk of the
NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - April 15, 1932
- by Mordaunt
- submitted by Barry Martin
Clever farcical incidents and intriguing melodies make "This
is the Night," the present screen attraction at the
Paramount, a most enjoyable entertainment. It is an expert
adaptation of the late Avery Hopwood's stage offering,
"Naughty Cinderella," which was presented with Irene
Bordoni in the latter part of 1925. The film cast is headed by
Roland Young, Lily Damita and Charles Ruggles, whose intelligent
fun aroused constant chuckles and hearty laughter from an audience
Frank Tuttle, the director, has
succeeded in giving to this production a foreign aspect. It is by
all odds the best of his pictorial contributions. In some respects
it is an opera bouffe, in which nothing is taken seriously. George
Marion Jr. has furnished a capital script with a few lyrics, which
are as pleasing as most of those in light films that have come
from either France or Germany.
Paris and Venice are the locales of
this bright and cheery subject. In one of the early sequences,
Gerald Grey (Mr. Young) is escorting Claire Mandanich, the blond
wife of an athlete named Stepan, to a party, when the automobile
door closes on her long skirt, which is torn from her. This gives
the producers the opportunity to have a variety of persons
chanting "Madame has lost her dress," and one even
perceives the Eiffel Tower sending forth the news that
"Madame has lost her dress." Agents de Police sing
"Madame has lost her dress," and Claire, having a fur
coat, does not bother any further about her dress, but rides back
to her domicile with Gerald.
On the way, Claire hazards that her
husband, who is supposed to be on the Atlantic, is a javelin
thrower who is competing in the Olympic Games. Gerald tells Claire
that she might at least have told him that her husband was a
javelin thrower, as it makes a great deal of difference in his
demeanor toward her. Then, in Claire's apartment, at the moment
Bunny West is delivering two railroad tickets for Venice, Stepan
returns. He could not stay away from his wife, he explains. He is
carrying his javelins in a leather bag, and when Gerald appears
with Claire, it is quite obvious that the philanderer is not a
little disconcerted by the sight of the long weapons. He decides,
after he has told Stepan he is married, that he must find a woman
to pose as his wife and Germaine consents to play the role. In
view of the fact that Germaine is impersonated by the attractive
Miss Damita, it is not astonishing that she causes Stepan to be
interested in her. This happens when the characters are in Venice.
Subsequently Claire is furious with Gerald for paying ardent
attention to Germaine.
As time goes on and hectic
happenings occur, Bunny and Gerald, one day while talking over
matters become intoxicated. First they profess their great
affection for one another and then Bunny offers to take Germaine
off his friend's hands and when the latter objects Bunny declares
that Gerald is being very "doggy in the mangerish."
Gerald says that he is liable to break some of Bunny's most
important bones, which elicits from Bunny that Gerald thinks that
he is "the menace of Venice."
All sorts of happy ridiculous
things take place and Germaine not only wins the admiration of all
save Clare, but the devotion of Gerald.
It is a handsomely mounted and
beautifully photographed picture. Mr. Young is a joy to behold.
Miss Damita is vivacious and competent. Mr. Ruggles vies with Mr.
Young in making the most of the humorous situations. Thelma Todd
does splendidly as Claire and Cary Grant is efficient as the
On the surrounding program are Duke
Ellington and his band, George Dewey Washington and others.
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