Lady of the Night

Lady of the Night

Director: Monta Bell

Cast: Monta Bell, Norma Shearer, Malcolm McGregor, George K. Arthur

     
 

Norma Shearer was very much an up-and-coming young actress when she played a dual role in this MGM drama. Molly, a girl of the streets (Shearer), is getting out of reform school at the same time that Florence (also Shearer) is graduating from a finishing school. While at a dance hall, Molly has a run-in with a lusty young man, but she is rescued by David, a young… See more details below

Overview

Norma Shearer was very much an up-and-coming young actress when she played a dual role in this MGM drama. Molly, a girl of the streets (Shearer), is getting out of reform school at the same time that Florence (also Shearer) is graduating from a finishing school. While at a dance hall, Molly has a run-in with a lusty young man, but she is rescued by David, a young inventor whose workshop is nearby (Malcolm McGregor). As a result, Molly becomes David's friend, and she is the one who insists that David sell his invention -- a safecracking device -- to the banking industry instead of to a gang of crooks who have offered him a percentage of their take. Through the bankers, David meets Florence, and soon both she and Molly are in love with him. David believes that Florence is the right girl for him, but when she discovers the existence of Molly, she insists that Molly was first. Molly, realizing that Florence would be a better match for David, returns to Chunky, a young man who, like her, comes from the street (George K. Arthur). Shearer's stand-in for this picture was a very ambitious young starlet by the name of Lucille LeSueur -- better known later on as Joan Crawford.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Lady of the Night is remembered today (if at all) for being the big breakthrough film that really made Norma Shearer a star. It's a grand vehicle for Shearer, giving her the opportunity to play two different roles, and she grabs hold of this opportunity and runs with it; if she's a little raw in her acting at times, there's still a youthful energy that makes up for this minor deficit. More importantly, Shearer doesn't take the easy way out with Florence, the rich girl; there's more depth here than the part demands, largely due to the manner in which Shearer plays her, as a woman who wants something, even though on the surface life has given her everything she needs. Her Molly is even more impressive, partially due to the writing, but also due to Shearer's immense ambition combined with vulnerability. The actress also looks glorious, lovingly filmed under director Monta Bell's careful guidance and often appearing simply luminous. While not a classic, Lady is still more than just a vehicle for the leading lady. The story is no great shakes, but Bell handles it with sensitivity and a genuine feeling for emotion; these are people who are all filled with an emptiness and a desire, a longing for something, and Bell presents their stories in an affecting and touching manner. If things occasionally become a bit too melodramatic, that's the fault of the story, not the director. On the whole, Lady of the Night is worth catching, especially for fans of the star.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/19/2010
UPC:
0883316227343
Original Release:
1925
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:26:00
Sales rank:
39,947

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