Night After Night (1932)

 

night after night“Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.”

Ex-Boxer Joe Anton (George Raft) runs a successful speakeasy. Now that he’s hit the good times, he’s turned his ambitions towards high society. Joe is captivated by a lonely, high class woman named Jerry Healey (Constance Cummings) who sits alone at his speakeasy night after night. In order to impress Jerry, Joe employs a teacher to educate him, teach him good manners, and improve his speech.

Joe’s life is complicated by current and former relationships. Iris (Wynne Gibson) is his current jealous flame, and he can’t wait to get rid of her. Maudie (Mae West) is a former good-natured flame who blows into town and into the speakeasy.

Night after Night has a flimsy, romantic plot that puts George Raft in the amusing and slightly whimsical role of being a man whose grammar has to be corrected in order to impress a ‘lady’. The film’s laughs come from teacher, Miss Mabel Jellyman (Alison Skipworth) and Maudie. When these two women get together, the situation loosens up. A subplot concerning a gangster and the sale of the speakeasy runs throughout the film.

Night after Night gave Mae West her first film role. It’s a fairly small part (she appears in only four scenes), but she steals the film. The romance between Joe and Miss Healey seems tepid and misguided at best, but when Maudie shows up at the speakeasy, the fun begins. She immediately strikes up an unlikely friendship with Miss Jellyman, and the pair of them get drunk. Night after Night was made in 1932–and with Hays Code was not yet enforced, Joe’s great line remains in the film: “if I was a pirate and I had you on my ship, I wouldn’t toss you to my crew.” From director Archie Mayo.

Mae West: “You stick with me dearie, and I’ll make you platinum blonde.”

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