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Night and Day
     

Night and Day

4.0 1
Director: Michael Curtiz

Cast: Cary Grant, Alexis Smith, Monty Woolley

 

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Faced with the challenge of writing a screenplay based on the life of fabulously wealthy, fabulously successful composer Cole Porter, one Hollywood wag came up with a potential story angle: "How does the S.O.B. make his second million dollars?" By the time the Porter biopic Night and Day was released, the three-person scriptwriting team still hadn't come up

Overview

Faced with the challenge of writing a screenplay based on the life of fabulously wealthy, fabulously successful composer Cole Porter, one Hollywood wag came up with a potential story angle: "How does the S.O.B. make his second million dollars?" By the time the Porter biopic Night and Day was released, the three-person scriptwriting team still hadn't come up with a compelling storyline, though the film had the decided advantages of star Cary Grant and all that great Porter music. Roughly covering the years 1912 to 1946, the story begins during Porter's undergraduate days at Yale University, where he participated in amateur theatricals under the tutelage of waspish professor Monty Woolley (who plays himself). Though Porter's inherited wealth could have kept him out of WWI, he insists upon signing up as an ambulance driver. While serving in France, he meets nurse Linda Lee (Alexis Smith), who will later become his wife. Focusing his attentions on Broadway and the London stage in the postwar years, Porter pens an unbroken string of hit songs, including "Just One of Those Things," "You're the Top," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Begin the Beguine," and the title number. The composition of this last-named song is one of the film's giddy highlights, as Porter, inspired by the "drip drip drip" of an outsized rainstorm, runs to the piano and cries "I think I've got it!" The film's dramatic conflict arises when Porter is crippled for life in a polo accident. Refusing to have his legs amputated, he makes an inspiring comeback, even prompting a WWI amputee to remark upon his courage! Corny and unreliable as biography, Night and Day is redeemed by the guest appearances of musical luminaries Mary Martin (doing a spirited if disappointingly demure version of her striptease number "My Heart Belongs to Daddy") and Ginny Simms, the latter cast as an ersatz Ethel Merman named Carole Hill. Jane Wyman, seen as Porter's pre-nuptial sweetheart Gracie Harris, also gets to sing and dance, and quite well indeed. Beset with production problems, not least of which was the ongoing animosity between star Grant and director Michael Curtiz, Night and Day managed to finish filming on schedule, and proved to be an audience favorite -- except for those "in the know" Broadwayites who were bemused over the fact that Cole Porter's well-known homosexuality was necessarily weaned from the screenplay.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Night and Day purports to be a biography of Broadway composer Cole Porter, but as with most such musical "biopics" of the period, it bares only a scant resemblance to the subject. The real Porter story is much more interesting, dealing as it does with a wealthy sophisticate from a prominent family whose marriage to a wealthy socialite masks his (and possibly her) homosexuality; even more notably, both Porter and his wife, Linda, were apparently good friends and quite fond of each other, adding another potentially interesting layer to their story. Since none of this could be dealt with in 1946, the result is a rather uneventful and unconvincing story filled with showbiz clichés. In other instances (such as Words and Music), the ridiculous screenplay is compensated for by a series of dazzling numbers. Night and Day's numbers, for the most part, are not standouts (despite the dazzling quality of Porter's words and music). This is largely due to the fact that they too often lack real powerhouses performing them. Jane Wyman does reasonably well with her numbers, but she's not a dynamo, and Ginny Simms is simply no Ethel Merman. Only Mary Martin, recreating the number that launched her career, provides the kind of punch that is required. What makes Night and Day work at all is its stars. Cary Grant and Alexis Smith provide enough charisma and star quality to make viewers forget the silliness of the script and the uninspired musical numbers. Grant even manages to suggest that perhaps there's a reason why Porter can't seem to commit to spending time with his wife. The two stars, along with supporting talent like Monty Woolley and an amusingly French Eve Arden, rise far above the material, transforming it into a very pleasant way to waste a couple of hours.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/01/1998
UPC:
0027616227034
Original Release:
1946
Rating:
NR
Source:
Mgm (Warner)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cary Grant Cole Porter
Alexis Smith Linda Lee Porter
Monty Woolley Himself
Jane Wyman Gracie Harris
Dorothy Malone Nancy
Eve Arden Gabrielle
Herman Bing "Peaches"
Tom D'Andrea Bernie
Paul Cavanagh Bart McClelland
John Alvin Petey
Alan Hale Leon Dowling
Victor Francen Anatole Giron
Howard Freeman Producer
Milada Mladova Specialty dancer
Clarence Muse Porter
Mary Martin Herself
Carlos Ramirez Specialty singer
George Riley O'Halloran
Selena Royle Kate Porter
Sig Rumann Willowsky
Ginny Simms Carole Hill
Boyd Davis Dean
Harry Seymour Piano Player
Henry Stephenson Omar Cole
Bobby Watson Director
Donald Woods Ward Blackburn
Philip Van Zandt Librettist
J.W. Johnston Doctor
George Zoritch Specialty dancer
Richard Bartell Photographer
Edward Biby Surgeon
George Boyce Stage Manager
George Nokes Wayne Blackburn Child
Harlan Briggs Doorman
Peter Camlin French Lieutenant
Regina Wallace Tina's mother
Chester Clute Music Publisher
John Parker Compton Actor
Harry Crocker Newspaperman
Frank Ferguson Tina's father
Harold de Becker English Workman
Henri DeSoto Waiter
Fern Emmett Secretary
Herbert Evans Bobby
Helen Pender Pretty Nurse
Rudy Friml Orchestra Leader
Gene Garrick Soldier
Pat Gleason Dance Director
John W. Goldsworthy Yale Gentleman
Lisa Golm Actor
Buddy Gorman English Page Boy
Susanne Rosser Chorine
Edna M. Harris Actor
Hans Herbert Headwaiter
Rune Hultman American Lieutenant
Lynne Baggett Sexboat
Gladden James Actor
Edward Kelly Callboy
Colin Kenny Doorman
George Kirby Cab Driver
Mike Lally Actor
Ellen Lowe Actor
Frank Marlowe Army Driver
Tom McGuire Actor
Bob McKenzie Hansom Cab Driver
Eddie Kane Headwaiter
George Meader Minister
John Miles Actor
Charles Miller Professor
Bert Moorhouse Actor
Jack Mower Livery Chauffeur
Gregory Muradian Small Caroler
Mayo Newhall Bearded Man
Vivien Oakland Married Couple
Garry Owen Bartender
Albert Petit French Waiter
Gordon Richards Coachman
Joe Kirkwood Classmate
Robert Arthur Customer
Marie Melesch Scrub Woman
Virginia Sale Minister's Wife
Fred Santley Yale Alumni
Wallace "Scotty" Scott Chauffeur
Almira Sessions Couple in Hospital Corridor
Nick Stewart Waiter
Laura Treadwell Woman in Theater
Elizabeth Valentine Matron in Hospital
John Vosper Man
Crane Whitley Commercial Artist
Charles Williams Customer
Eric Wilton English Officer
Joan Winfield Nurse
Ernest Golm Foreign Couple
Paul Gustine Men in Theater
Rebel Randall Chorus girl
Jo Ann Marlowe Tina
Bernard DeRoux Assistant to Giron
Richard Erdman Customer
Joyce Compton Chorine

Technical Credits
Michael Curtiz Director
Milo Anderson Costumes/Costume Designer
William Bowers Screenwriter
Everett A. Brown Sound/Sound Designer
Robert Burks Special Effects
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
David Forrest Sound/Sound Designer
Ray Heindorf Score Composer
Charles Hoffman Screenwriter
John Hughes Art Director
J. Peverell Marley Cinematographer
Armor E. Marlowe Set Decoration/Design
Jack Moffitt Screenwriter
LeRoy J. Prinz Choreography
Arthur Schwartz Producer
William Skall Cinematographer
Max Steiner Score Composer
Leo Townsend Screenwriter
William Travilla Costumes/Costume Designer
Jack L. Warner Executive Producer
David Weisbart Editor
Perc Westmore Makeup

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Night and Day 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago