Musical Monday: The Night is Young (1935)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

night is young2This week’s musical:
The Night is Young (1935)– Musical #543

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Dudley Murphy

Starring:
Ramon Novarro, Evelyn Lane, Charles Butterworth, Una Merkel, Edward Everett Horton, Donald Cook, Henry Stephenson, Rosalind Russell, Herrman Bing, Mitzi the Mare

Plot:
Archduke Paul Gustave (Novarro) is betrothed to a woman he doesn’t wish to marriage. He is in love with Countess Zarika Rafay (Russell), who his uncle Emperor Franz Josef (Stephenson), disapproves of. However, Emperor Josef allows Paul to have an affair before he gets married. Paul lies and says he’s in love with ballerina, Lisl Gluck (Lane). She agrees to live at the castle so he can continue his relationship with the countess and he will provide her clothing and her friends anything she wants. Paul warms towards Lisl and the two fall in love.

Ramon Novarro and Evelyn Laye in "The Night is Young" (1935)

Ramon Novarro and Evelyn Laye in “The Night is Young” (1935)

Trivia:
-Ramon Novarro broke his contract with MGM after this film, according to an April 9, 1938 article, “Ramon Novarro, Handsome Movie Idol, Quit Films to Follow Yoga Philosophy” by Fredrick Othman.
-Music written by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein. This was one of four films Romberg wrote original operetta for, according to Sigmund Romberg by William A. Everett.
-Based on a story by Vicki Braum, author of “The Grand Hotel”

Notable Songs:
-My Old Mare performed by Charles Butterworth
-The Night is Young performed by Evelyn Laye
-When I Grow Too Old to Dream performed by Evelyn Laye and Ramon Novarro
-There’s a Riot in Havana performed by Evelyn Laye and Ramon Novarro
-Lift Your Glass performed by Evelyn Laye and Ramon Novarro

Edward Everette Horton and Novarro

Edward Everette Horton and Novarro

My review:
This the second musical I have watched with Ramon Novarro and I’m still pleasantly surprised and delighted at how well he sings.

The Night is Young (1935) is a cute and very funny little film. The laughable lines are largely thanks to actor Una Merkel, Charles Butterworth and Edward Everett Horton. Butterworth is an actor who general gets on my nerves, but he’s very funny in this film.

Rosalind Russell in a small role as the countess.

Rosalind Russell in a small role as the countess.

While Rosalind Russell is in this film, she only has three brief scenes. She does not even mention this brief role in her autobiography.

While Ramon Novarro and Evelyn Laye carry the film well, for me, the comedic character actors are what makes this film. However, the comedy drops off a little more than half way through the film and we focus on the romance of Novarro and Laye.

Laye may not be a familiar name to most film watchers. Popular on the stage in England, she only made six films from 1927 to 1935. She didn’t make another film or television appearance until 1957 and made several appearance in the 1970s and 1980s. She has a beautiful voice and is a lovely prescience on screen, but she isn’t as memorable as her co-stars.

While there were lovely songs throughout the film, my favorite was one Butterworth sang about his horse, Mitzi, called “My Old Mare.”

Charles Butterworth and Una Merkel: The comedic relief of "The Night is Young."

Charles Butterworth and Una Merkel: The comedic relief of “The Night is Young.”

While “The Night is Young” is a fun and charming film, it’s ending fairly sad, realistic that it’s almost startling when “The End” appears. I won’t say what happens, but it’s surprising for musical comedy, when most of them seem to end happily.

If you come across this one, watch it. If nothing else, it will make you laugh and smile.

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2 thoughts on “Musical Monday: The Night is Young (1935)

  1. Evelyn Laye was also the wife of British actor Frank Lawton, who worked in such films as ONE MORE RIVER, DAVID COPPERFIELD, and CAVALCADE… I’ve always enjoyed them. Another thing: One of Ms. Laye’s most devoted fans was King George VI, (Father of the present Queen)

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    • Thanks for dropping by and reading! I didn’t know much about her husband but did see where the royal family was a fan. I’m guessing she was bigger on the stage since she wasn’t in many films?

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