NIGHT AFTER NIGHT (1932)

My first viewing of Mae West’s debut film, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT(1932) was interesting.

Overall, an ok story made worth watching by a couple of scenes which I liked a lot.

 

If ever a poster was misleading, this is it – it is by no stretch a ‘sinister house.’

George Raft runs a high class  speakeasy . He gets a lot of well off clients and wants to be more like them.

 

Mae West, George Raft

Mae West sashays in almost half way through the film – and steals it, even though she only has about fifteen minutes screen time.

Right from the starting gate, she’s off and quipping in her very first scene, as she comes into the club and the hat check  girl admires her jewels :

”Goodness, what beautiful diamonds!”

Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.”

 

Wynne Gibson

I’m not sure what that is skulking round Wynne Gibson’s shoulders  but it looks dangerous . She’s mad because Raft has taken an interest in Constance Cummings, a high society  woman.

 

Constance Cummings

Constance Cummings was only 22 and showed she had a big career in front of her. However she married an Englishman in  1933 and moved to England the following year. She made about twenty films in the early 30s and only acted sporadically in England – including “ Blythe Spirit.”

 

George Raft, Alison Skipworth

I was very impressed with 70 year old English actress, Alison  Skipworth , as ‘Miss Jellyman’, who has some lovely scenes, both with Raft and with Mae West.

Raft has employed her to help him speak properly and to give him topics for conversation when he finally gets round to inviting Ms. Cummings for dinner.
We generally don’t rate George Raft’s acting range, but I love how, in this film, whenever he meets Alison, his manner and tone change completely. He respects and admires her . And even invites her to his dinner date, so that she can introduce some news items they have been talking about.
Unfortunately Mae , playing a former girlfriend of Raft, interrupts the tete-a-three and ends up getting Alison drunk.

There is a very funny scene the following day when Mae suggests Alison could work for her. Alison thinks Mae is a ‘lady of the night’ and says: ”Dont you think I’m a bit old?”

Mae laughs and points out she runs a chain of beauty parlours and thinks Alison would make a great hostess.

 

 

Roscoe Karns

Roscoe is so good as George’s wing man, ready to step in any time for his boss and pal.

 

Mae West, Constance Cummings, Wynne Gibson, Alison Skipworth.

The ladies in Raft’s life. He should end up with Mae but settles for Constance.

Seems a waste not to give Mae a song in the film.

 

 

Some translations I don’t have to look up.

 

The recent blu-Ray release has Mae West’s name up first . And why not.

’Variety’ in 1932 got it right: “Paramount won’t be taking a chance to shoot the works on her from now on.”

Not short of 90 years old, the Blu-ray print of “Night After Night” is excellent.

I’d like to see some more of Alison Skipworth. She was in “Six of a Kind”, “Madame Racketeer”, “Hitch Hike Lady.”

 

 

 

Paramount were giving George Raft his first starring role.

6 responses »

  1. I just coincidentally watched “Satan Met a Lady” , the first version of “The Maltese Falcon,” last week on TCM and Ms. Skipworth was in the movie playing the Sydney Greenstreet role. She played the role of “Madame Barrabas” and she was fabulous; as good as Mr. Greenstreet’s “Gutmann.” I wondered to myself where did this actress come from and why hadn’t I paid attention to her in other movies? By the way, even though I normally like Bette Davis, I thought she was a little over the top as the female lead, and found Ms. Skipworth the better actress.

    Thank you for your post. As always, I find them interesting and instructive.

  2. How interesting. I had no idea that Ms. Skipworth played that role in “Satan Met a Lady”. That’s praise indeed to say she equalled Sydney Greenstreet. I hope I can see more of her films. I guess “The Maltese Falcon” is regarded as the best adaptation.

  3. It’s always interesting to see movies with Cummings and to read about her, especially as I knew her in England. Even if her British may have been a bit sporadic, she had a very distinguished stage career there including Mary Tyrone opposite Olivier in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Wings” which she took to Broadway and won the Tony Award for Best Actress in 1979.
    Miss Cummings saw me in Tennessee Williams’ “Slapstick Tragedy” in London in ’83 and wrote the then-immigration minister in support of my being allowed to continue my career there, as did Granada Television and others. At that point she was appearing as Amanda in “The Glass Menagerie” at London’s Greenwich Theatre. Her husband was playwright Benn Levy whose plays she appeared in, as well as many hits with the National Theatre.

  4. What’s especially touching to recall is that in fact I never even met her until after she’d written Thatcher’s minister, almost two years after she’d seen “Slapstick Tragedy”, backstage at the Greenwich Theatre in June ’85. Such support is rare indeed as she was under no constraint of friendship or any type or obligation to others.

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