User Reviews (19)

Add a Review

  • I was expecting a lousy film whose only value was as the debut film of Mae West - I mean Leonard calls it a "crashing bore"! But what I got was a delightful film, excellently acted by all, with a profound theme and great dialogue. It is a film about dissatisfaction - all the characters are unhappy with their lot and desperately grasping for change. George Raft, the slick gangster, wants an education and true love. Constance Cummings also wants true love, although she thinks she wants security. And Alison Skipworth wants the wild life instead of school teacher drudgery. Only Mae West seems happy with her place as a man-devouring cosmetician.

    This film is not a comedy - although it has many hilarious scenes (wait until you see West and Skipworth in bed together!). It is a frank and insightful drama, very risque and dangerously sexual. George Raft is unusually sensitive, Constance Cummings outstanding and Alison Skipworth dazzling. The supporting cast is also fine - led by the incomparable Mae West. A rare treat from the early 1930's.
  • "Night After Night" was an otherwise unmemorable George Raft opus of the early 1930's... The scene was the entrance to a nightspot...

    Enter Mae West, magnificently dripping in so much jewelery it must have given the lighting cameraman several heart attacks in his attempts to "damp it down" so that it didn't "flash up the bottle" as she moved…

    Cries the hat-check girl: "Goodness, what beautiful diamonds!"

    Mae West: "Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie."

    Gangsters' molls... they are part of the legend of the mobster movie… And in "Night After Night" it was never openly established just what kind of a dame Mae West was playing, but with all those rocks she looked like the gangster's moll to top them all
  • Night After Night is a very amusing gangster spoof comedy from the early talkie era. Best remembered as Gorge Raft's first starring role and Mae West's introductory movie role -- as if she needed any introduction! Nevertheless, this unambitious little movie stands on its own, tightly directed by Archie Mayo, beautifully filmed by cinematographer Ernest Haller, and well acted by the entire cast. The dialog is snappy with lots of funny lines, and the musical score, which seems to be that naturally produced by the bands in the speakeasy setting, stays in the background but enhances the light-hearted, devil-may-care Prohibition ambiance. Released in late 1932, this picture looks and sounds very sophisticated technically, showing in what a short time the industry had overcome the problems of creaky early sound equipment.

    Raft, the owner of a high-class speak, is admiring from afar, and in fact has rather foolishly fallen in love with, a classy-looking "Park Avenue dame" (Constance Cummings) who frequents his joint, sitting all by herself and looking dreamy. Because he knows he's a no-class mug, he hires a stuffy old school teacher (Alison Skipworth) to teach him how to get some -- class, that is. It's a hopeless case of course, but Raft manages to get a date with the swell broad anyway, mainly because the building his joint occupies was once her girlhood home. The brew is stirred by a rival gang trying to horn in on his operation, a pistol-packing, madly jealous ex-moll (Wynne Gibson), and Raft's cynical henchman (Roscoe Karns) grousing about the entire proceeding. Raft thinks he has it going swimmingly with the swell dame when he gets her to dinner at his joint, especially since he has his tutor Skipworth at the table to give him moral support and keep his shaky class from slipping. The party gets livelier when it is crashed by another of his old flames, that moll of molls Mae West. The inimitable Mae works her very bad influence to get the school teacher roaring drunk.

    Those to whom this is the first Mae West movie, may wonder why there was so much fuss over her. Sure, her two best assets -- the ones the inflatable life preserver was named for -- look great in a see-though negligee, but she's still a chubby middle-aged woman. Well, stick around. She would have probably said something like, "It ain't what ya got, it's how you carry it." Mae's role here is a supporting one. She doesn't show up until the midway point and has only a couple of scenes, but as George Raft reportedly complained, "She stole everything but the cameras!" Raft and Cummings are okay in the leads, both charming in fact. But it is the supporting cast that shines in this little jewel. Mae West is Mae West, and Roscoe Karns is Roscoe Karns at his best. Yet Alison Skipworth as the stuffy but lovable old schoolmarm practically steals the show, as she did nearly every movie she was in. She even keeps up with Mae West in the scene-stealing game. Here's a hot tip for you little mugs and mollies who are new to the racket of watching beautiful, old black and white movies -- you can't go wrong if you make a point to never miss an Alison Skipworth picture!

    Night After Night is slick, solid, Old Hollywood entertainment all the way.
  • In particular this is a great showcase for George Raft in his first leading role and Mae West in her first film role. Raft plays Joe Anton, a bootlegger who buys a mansion at a foreclosure auction and turns it into a speakeasy. Anton wants what he thinks the Park Avenue crowd has now that he has the money - class. He employs Mabel Jellyman (Alison Skipworth) to tutor him properly in elocution and current events. But Anton has other troubles with his current life as a gangster besides not knowing what fork to use. Rival gangsters are demanding that he sell out to them or they will rub him out. He has two old girlfriends that keep showing up unannounced too - Maudie (Mae West) is easy going about things, but Iris (Wynne Gibson) is demanding to the point of being violent that their old relationship continue. Matters get really complicated when "a real lady" shows up alone night after night at Joe's speakeasy. She's not looking for a pickup, in fact she shuns advances of any kind. It turns out she's the destitute ex-resident of Joe's mansion who misses her old house and her old life.

    If you're looking for a really clever tight script, that doesn't seem to be the purpose of this film. It's just one of Paramount's sophisticated pre-codes with lots of little scenes that make the whole thing worthwhile. The scene with a hung-over Alison Skipworth getting a job offer from Mae West with Skipworth trying to tactfully figure out exactly what business Mae is in is priceless - Skipworth can't help but notice that Maudie (Mae West) is covered in diamonds with no visible means of support. There's been lots of speculation about the nature of the relationship between Joe and his man Friday Leo (Roscoe Karnes) given the rather revealing bath scene the two men are in, but I think that was just an opportunity for a little precode male beefcake.

    Highly recommended as one of a very few of the Paramount precodes actually on DVD.
  • NIGHT AFTER NIGHT (Paramount, 1932), directed by Archie Mayo, from the play "Single Night" by Louis Bromfield, is a little remembered feature known solely for its movie debut of the legendary Mae West (1892-1980). Although NIGHT AFTER NIGHT focuses mainly on its leading players, George Raft and Constance Cummings, and a little more footage to Roscoe Karns and Alison Skipworth, this average story, set almost entirely in one night at a speakeasy, about a mug owning a nightery wanting to elevate himself into the upper class of high society, actually is more interesting when Mae West dominates the scene.

    NIGHT AFTER NIGHT begins with the opening titles super imposed in front of a mansion with the underscoring to "There's No Place Like Home." With the credits still rolling, a brief history about the mansion is told, first seen with a "for sale" sign, followed by a sign reading "home for rent," and finally the last look of another sign "sold at public auction," before the list of cast credits is focuses fading out with the number of the house address of "55." George Raft plays Joe Anton, a former boxer now the proprietor of a mansion converted into a New York City speakeasy (as pictured during the opening credits) who wants to become part of the social class. Because he has become interested in a mysterious but glamorous woman (Constance Cummings) who patrons his place unescorted night after night, he hires Mrs. Mabel Jellyman (Alison Skipworth), a middle- aged schoolteacher, to teach him the proper methods in speaking and the refinements of life. Eventually Joe becomes acquainted with the woman identified as Jerry Healy of Park Avenue who patronizes his place mainly because the speakeasy happens to be the mansion she had lived in years ago. Because of Anton's involvement with "Miss Park Avenue," Iris Dawn (Wynne Gibson), one of his former mistresses becomes insanely jealous, enough to want to confront Joe and Miss Healy with a loaded pistol. Joe, however, gets even more complications when another one of his old flames, Maudie Triplett (Mae West), enters the scene with her vulgarity and broad humor, rousing up his place.

    The supporting cast consists of Roscoe Karns as Leo, Joe's close friend and assistant; Louis Calhern as Dick Bolton, appearing only in one scene opposite Cummings; Al Hill as Blainley; Harry Wallace as Jerky; and Tom Kennedy as Tom, the bartender, among others.

    Sadly, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT is a long forgotten and often neglected little movie from the Depression era. Best known for playing gangsters, for his initial starring role, Raft's character is only associated with them, particularly gang leader, Frankie Guard (Bradley Page) who wants to buy Joe's establishment.

    The story-line is slight, in fact, enough to stretch it to the 70 minute mark, with few of those minutes going to the fourth billed Mae West as Maudie. West fans would have to sit through more than a half hour devoted to other actors before making her classic entrance, first outside the speakeasy surrounded by men, followed by her walk to the coat check room where the attendant looks over her jewelry and says, "Goodness! what beautiful diamonds." West: "Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie." With this line, and some others that were to follow, written especially by Mae West herself, a new star is born.

    Essentially, this is a light drama with a touch of comedy, compliments of the wit and wisdom of Mae West, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT is one of those rare cases where two tough babes become essential in the story instead of the standard one, but it is West who's character is the most original and natural of the two. While debut films of future major stars are seldom promising, with this one being no exception, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT has become the one and only movie in which West would play a supporting role. Unlike latter West comedies, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT does not take time out for a song or two, but the use of popular tunes of the day, many introduced in other Paramount 1932 productions, including "Everyone Says I Love You," "Mimi," "Isn't It Romantic," "You Little So and So," and "Love Me Tonight" as underscoring during the nightclub sequences.

    Although it was Raft who reportedly encouraged West to accept this minor supporting role, he probably never imagined that she's steal the show. In spite of NIGHT AFTER NIGHT being the film that launched George Raft career as a leading man, basically established Mae West into a box office attraction. For Raft, maybe she done him wrong.

    Another unfortunate thing about NIGHT AFTER NIGHT is that because it essentially belongs to Raft and Cummings, it hardly ever became part of commercial television's Mae West festival back in the 1960s and 70s. In fact, this was and still is the least known and revived of her movies, even when given a rare cable television broadcast on Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: August 24, 2016). Prior to that, MCA Home Video distributed NIGHT AFTER NIGHT as part of the Mae West centennial package in 1992, releasing all her Paramount movies of the 1930s, including the neglected NIGHT AFTER NIGHT. The legend of Mae West has dimmed some over the years, but once watching any of her movies, even the one that offers little of her presence as NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, it would become apparent that she was something special. Goodness probably had nothing to do with it, but talent and her dialog delivery sure does. (***)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's a pity this film isn't more widely known and shown. I cannot agree with those who dismiss it as "Mae West's first film". The leads and supporting actors all give their best. Raft is alternately charming and tough in this, Alison Skipworth delicious as the schoolteacher who yearns for a more exciting life. The plot isn't very profound, light entertainment about characters who think the grass is always greener on the other side.

    So OK, West had her own personal style and wit, but that doesn't diminish the other actors' performances in this delightful early 1930s picture.
  • Although this film is will always be remembered for introducing Mae West to cinema audiences it is actually a starring vehicle for George Raft. He had made quite an impact in 'Scarface' and here he is top billed for the first time. The studio really wanted him to be a 'Valentino' type and he certainly looks the part in this film. He's the snappiest dresser you ever did see and there's a lot of heavy makeup on his face to accentuate his smouldering good looks. He even gets to take a bath and it's quite obvious he's naked for the scene - it's all geared up to make the ladies in the audience come over all unnecessary! Unfortunately for George he suggested Mae West for a small role in the film and when she appears she hits it like a whirlwind. It's a pretty slow movie and when Mae arrives she knocks it for six with her quick-fire delivery and outrageous behaviour. She may be fat and nearly forty but she is a wow and for those people who suggest she may have been a man in drag just take a look at her in her negligee and you'll see it's quite clear she's all woman!There's not much in the way of a plot, the art direction is nothing to write home about and there's nothing innovative in the way of camera work but it's worth watching to see these two sexy, classic stars make their mark in Hollywood history. If you want to see how they ended up then you should watch 'Sextette' made forty six years later but I don't think I'd recommend it! Enjoy them in their prime!
  • I'm sorry, but I do not understand most of the reviews here taking so much time on Mae West (not my aunt). This was the first movie in which I was aware of Constance Cummings, and for me, she makes it. Mae West is an amusing diversion, a counterpoint to the core story, but it is not her movie. Constance Cummings is both gorgeous and icily, mysteriously seductive. In every one of her scenes. she fascinates and dominates.

    Yes, it's fun to hear the first iteration of Mae's "goodness had nothing to do with it", and yes, the ending is simplistic and abrupt, but it was the Cummings character that kept me watching.
  • While I enjoyed “The Mae West Glamour Collection” more than I expected to, I decided to leave her debut film for last, knowing that it wouldn’t be a typical vehicle of hers since she wasn’t the lead; I also figured it would be, as Leonard Maltin bluntly puts it, “a crashing bore”. However, I was quite surprised by how engaging and entertaining it all was – if, by no means, a classic. The film, in fact, is an agreeable blend of two styles that were en vogue during the early Talkie era: the sophisticated comedy-drama and the gangster picture, apart from also being adapted from a stage play (as were a good many movies back then).

    The lead proper of the film is George Raft, who had just shot to stardom following his memorable supporting role in Howard Hawks’ SCARFACE (1932); of the stars associated with the heyday of the Gangster movie, Raft always seemed to me the most limited in range – but he does well enough here, flanked by his butler-cum-henchman Roscoe Karns (a mainstay of 1930s comedies). Watching this flick 75 years after it was made, I couldn’t help but wonder about all the gay subtexts today’s audiences would erroneously interpret in their “relationship” here!

    Raft is the owner of a speakeasy who wants to improve himself for the sake of ‘mysterious’ socialite Constance Cummings (who, as it turns out, used to own the building) – despite being involved with at least two other women of lower standards (Wynne Gibson and Mae West); to do so, he engages the services of elderly teacher Alison Skipworth. Cummings (who’s adorable throughout – as had also been that same year in Harold Lloyd’s MOVIE CRAZY) incurs the wrath of jealous Gibson, who confronts her and Raft with a gun – a situation which Cummings finds exciting, drawing her nearer to Raft than she intended and deluding him into thinking that she has affections for him; of course, when he finds out that she had counted on marrying wealthy Louis Calhern all along, he gives up his cultured airs and withdraws his promise of selling the club to a rival! But during the ensuing mob fracas at Raft’s joint, Cummings realizes that she loves him after all...

    As I said, I found the film to be fairly interesting for several reasons: Mae West’s own role isn’t central to the main plot (in fact, she not only appears exactly at the midway point of the film but shares more scenes – and even a bed! – with Skipworth than she does with Raft himself), but her presence certainly boosts proceedings; already, she’s got her way with dialogue (and not just the famous “Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie” line) but it also feels like she’s playing a real character in this case rather than just being her in-your-face ‘naughty’ self…and West’s figure is perhaps at its sexiest here with as racy a costume as Pre-Code Hollywood liberalism ever got!

    It’s amusing to watch the accompanying trailer today – hyping Raft’s rising star power (even mentioning a couple of earlier films apart from SCARFACE, both of which are now completely forgotten), and how this was achieved largely through the clamor of the movie-going public, when NIGHT AFTER NIGHT’s greatest (single?) claim to fame nowadays is for having introduced Mae West to the silver screen!

    Finally, I wonder whether Universal is planning to release a second set of her films (they own four of her remaining titles); THE HEAT’S ON (1943) is a Columbia picture but it has already been released by Universal on R2 as part of a 6-Disc Mae West Set which also includes the bulk of the as-yet-unavailable titles on R1 (plus a couple of overlaps)!
  • Night After Night finds George Raft as a former boxer now owner of a swank speakeasy who is looking to move up in class. A part Raft could really identify with considering his own humble circumstances.

    In addition Raft is juggling three women, society girl Constance Cummings, former flapper Wynne Gibson, and the one and only Mae West.

    Without Mae in this film, Night After Night would be just a routine film with nothing terribly special. But because Mae made her screen debut, the film has come down as a legend.

    West is only on the screen for about 15 minutes of the film, but it's 15 unforgettable minutes. Raft is trying to acquire some culture and polish and hires Alison Skipworth to educate him in the finer arts. He brings her along to dinner with Constance Cummings to impress Cummings and Mae crashes the party.

    When Paramount hired West they apparently did not know what to do with her. The part she has here as originally written is a supporting role. Remember she was a star on Broadway and wrote a lot of her own material. Mae persuaded the powers of Paramount to let her write her own lines and she wound up stealing the film.

    As this was pre-Code the budding relationship of Mae to Skipworth shows more than a hint of lesbianism. As it was Mae West was quite the gay community icon, still is.

    Without her, Night After Night is a routine, even substandard melodrama, with Mae it's a classic.
  • Since I just checked from the library this 5-disc collection of Mae West movies, I dove right in to watch her first one, Night After Night. She's only a supporting role here but when she's on screen, she steals it for all it's worth. And now-forgotten supporting player Alison Skipworth, as a teacher hired to give speakeasy owner George Raft proper English lessons, is a hoot alongside West in her exchanges with Ms. West. The rest of the film is basically about Raft and his following of a proper lady played by Constance Cummings that wasn't bad to see but, really, without Mae, this movie would probably suffer in obscurity today. Can't wait to watch the other four soon...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ....according to George Raft. Paramount realising that in Raft they had a new star on their hands, tailored a Louis Bromfield story, "Single Night", to fit Raft's smooth charm. Being the good guy that he was, he wanted to do an old friend a favour and so, saw to it that Mae West was given the part of his former girl friend. "She'll be sensational" he told Paramount who wanted to give the part to Texas Guinan. When Mae actually saw how small the part was she was very keen to cancel her contract but producer, William Le Baron, suggested that she re-write her part and from the time she hip swivelled over to the hat check girl, who had remarked "Goodness, what lovely diamonds" with "Goodness had nothing to do with it" - the movie belonged to Mae West!!! No matter that the nominal stars were George Raft and Constance Cummings and that they were both pretty terrific. Actually there is a lot going on in this movie and some super performances.

    Joe Anton (Raft) is just dazzled with Jerry Healy (Cummings) who, night after night, comes to his club to sit alone at a table, talking to no one. It seems that the stately club was once her childhood home and Joe, who is already questioning his place in society, sees her not only as a lady but also the girl of his dreams. The reality is that the family fortune has been lost and she is contemplating marrying Dick Bolton (Louis Calhern) for his money. She is thrilled with the attention of Joe, who she sees as living life on the edge but he mistakes her excitement for love.

    Even by the movie's start Joe is trying to improve himself by taking lessons in diction and current affairs from Mrs. Jellyman (Alison Skipworth, the funniest performance in the film). She is coaching him in world events and when he finally makes a date with Jerry, he insists Mrs. Jellyman be there too - and when she arrives she finds out just what she has been missing through her years of teaching!! Hovering in the background but soon to make a splash is Joe's current mistress Ivy (the always terrific Wynne Gibson) - she is not keen on him bettering himself and she will stop at nothing when she finds out she has been thrown over - even a shoot out with him. Gibson makes her scenes count as does West who plays Maudie. From the moment she crashes dinner, Mrs. Jellyman's life is never going to be her own again.

    West is unforgettable - she just dazzled and the easy comfortable way she had with Joe made you feel that they would have been far more suited to each other than he and Jerry. She also convinces Mrs. Jellyman to go into business with her - "I'll pay you $100 a week" - no, not the world's oldest profession, perish the thought, but the beauty parlour business (yes, that's right) with Jellyman installed as manager of her newest establishment!!!!

    Even though I'm a huge fan of Constance Cummings, with all the larger than life characters she tended to blend into the background and her character proved a bit unsympathetic as the movie progressed but Cumming's acting skills came to the fore in her big scene and she made you believe that she really did care for Joe at the end.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film has the distinction of being Mae West's movie debut. It also has the distinction of being one of her most enjoyable performances--as she plays a different sort of gal she played in later films. Now Mae is NOT the star of the film--clearly a supporting character. No, instead this is a George Raft film and while he's good in the film, the film ends so badly that he really looks like a total sap. That, combining by being a bit upstaged by West must have annoyed least a bit.

    The film is about Raft and his desire to be sophisticated and accepted by society. That's because he operates the fanciest and most respectable speakeasy in New York and he wants to feel accepted by his high-class clientèle. And, in particular, Raft has noticed a certain pretty lady (Constance Cummings) who has been coming there alone recently. He knows she has class and wants to make a great impression on her.

    This leads to the most wonderful part of the film--the big fancy night Raft plans with Cummings. Because he's just a mug, he decides to have his 'class' teachers (Alison Skipworth) sit in on the dinner. This isn't a bad idea necessarily, but when an old friend (Mae West) shows up (as well as a VERY crazy ex-girlfriend), things seem to completely fall apart. BUT, oddly, through this, he manages to win Cummings...or at least temporarily.

    What follows is interesting. You learn that although Cummings supposedly has class, she is a very class-less person. And Raft realizes, he's too good for her! Now this is a GREAT idea..and the film really hooked me. However, the ending of the film COMPLETELY mucks up this great message! Grrrr, did this make me mad! Fortunately, the various scenes with Skipworth and West were so good that it STILL makes it all worth watching. I was surprised, as I really have never liked West in films in the past. I think the differences this time are that she is a supporting character AND she didn't play the 'awsomely irresistible dame' she did in other films--something that frankly made no sense since she was WAY too old and 'seasoned' to be so ridiculously desirable (she even did this in film into her 80s!!! YECK!!).

    Overall, a very auspicious start and a film that really hooked me...until a really stupid ending.
  • elo-equipamentos10 September 2018
    I've my Mae West's collection and all them properly already watched, now doing the first revisiting of his debut, apart his role appears only in the middle of the picture, after that the whole picture burnning bright, she takes colors to an usual picture of gangster and easy girls, another high point is the gorgeous Constance Cummings in a tigh dress showing a fabulous attributes, the story is quite silly but when Mae West invited Miss Jellyman becomes one of them, it's a great funny and a fine moment to delight, West already near of forty and a bit fat but somehow got a great career for many years to comes, remarkable and isn't just for a few!!!


    First watch: 2011 / How many: 2 / Source: DVD / Rating: 7
  • I bought a DVD compilation of five of Mae West's films including this gem which was the first one in the collection. The film centers around George Raft, a New York City gangster Joe Anton, who has a speak easy during prohibition. Mae West played Maudie Triplette, a female friend of his with her unique saucy attitude and flair for dramatics. Joe Anton wants to be a gentleman so he hires a proper tutor, Miss Jellyman, to help him improve himself in private lessons. He's got problems with women like he's attracted to Park Avenue beauty, Jerry Healy, played by the great Constance Cummings and Iris is troubled disturbing as the woman who desires to have him. Anyway, the film has a bunch of laughs with seriousness even in the Great Depression. I found the film to be charming with the cast especially Mae West who steals every scene out from everybody else. She's only a supporting player but you can see who she does it.
  • "Night After Night" is a comedy drama in which Mae West makes her film debut. Her Maudie Triplett has a tinge of the persona that West would soon develop and be known for. Her presence in this film is the biggest plus for it. Otherwise, it's a George Raft vehicle in which his usual low-life character, Joe Anton, tries to get some class. He wants to impress Constance Cummings' Jerry Healy, while he still strings along an old flame, Wynne Gibson's Iris Dawn.

    The film isn't without a considerable cast. In addition to the leads, Alison Skipworth plays Mabel Jellyman. Louis Calhern is Dick Bolton, who is part of a love triangle that include Anton and Healy. Roscoe Karns is Leo.

    It's not that interesting a story, and it becomes quite far-out with Joe redoing his office and business settings with lavish design and touches. If not for Mae West - as others have noted, this film wouldn't rate six stars. This is one that might be good for afternoon nappers watch, but it's not worth spending the cash for a DVD.
  • Not much in "Night After Night" stands the test of time. It is most conspicuous as Mae West's debut and for some risqué dialogue. West, a close friend of George Raft from their Vaudeville days, hints at the saucy legend she will become.

    The story is insubstantial and hardly credible - certainly more style than substance. There is hardly time to care about anyone. Raft is clearly uncomfortable and gets no help from Mayo's stiff direction. Frighteningly, Raft is sharpest when he turns violent on his lady love.

    There are some major highlights: For the guys: * Mae makes the best of her brief scenes. For the gals: * In an early sequence, Raft is basically naked.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    George Raft's character(Joe) owns an up and coming high class NYC speakeasy, in a converted former mansion. The screenplay follows his infatuation with a cultured "Park Avenue" girl(played by Constance Cummings) who has been frequenting his club, usually alone. He discovers that she grew up in the former mansion where his club is, that her family lost it in the '29 crash, and that is why she frequents his club. She has a boyfriend(played by Louis Calhern), who occasionally shows up, but Raft hopes to woo her away from him, as his ticket to respectability. Additionally, he hires an aging grand dame school teacher(played by Alison Skipworth)to help him clean up his grammar and polish his manners. Raft contrasts Constance's aurora with that of his 2 low class chlorine girlfriends, played by Wynne Gibson and Mae West.

    Another important facet of the plot is a rival speakeasy whose business has been much hurt by the success of Raft's club. Initially, Raft refuses to sell his business to them, except perhaps at an exorbitant price. Later, he changes his mind, and offers to sell it at a reduced price. Apparently, he did this to obtain enough money in the short term to further impress Constance, after he thinks she is warming up to him. But after he finds out this was a false impression, he reneges on the sale. Not a good idea, as he soon discovers! Raft and Constance now have a great deal of trouble making up their minds whether they love or hate each other. The last portion of the film gets pretty wild and I will leave it to you to find out. The hurried ending is rather unsatisfactory, as it leaves us up in the air. Surely, at only 73min. long, there was time for a more satisfying ending.

    This film is part of the Mae West Essential Collection DVD, which includes 9 of her early films. After success on Broadway, this was her first film role, though hardly a starring role. Of Raft's 3 women, she came across as the least attractive and least interesting, being older, at near 40, than the others. Her role was not really essential to the film. Wynne Gibson, as Raft's latest moll, was more essential to the plot. She was stereotyped in films as a tough, but good looking, low class broad.

    Raft does a good job in his first starring role. Having grownup in Hell's Kitchen and frequenting clubs as a dancer, he was typecast as a tough guy of one sort or another, in his early career. Constance is a delight, although her character was oversensitive to her status as a Park Avenue girl. Interestingly, of the 4 lead characters, she was the only one who didn't grow up in some part of greater NYC.

    I'm sure the plot of the self-made owner of an entertainment establishment, encountering a free classy girl down on her luck, and hoping to use her as a stepping stone toward respectability, has been done in films many times. I am familiar with several such, including "San Francisco", starring Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    070: Night After Night (1932) - released 10/30/1932; viewed 6/25/06.

    BIRTHS: Sylvia Plath.

    KEVIN: Mae West's debut film Night After Night is not really a Mae West movie. She's listed fourth in the credits, her character is not really key to the plot, and she doesn't even appear until 35 minutes in. Yet the moment she shows up, she muscles her way through and steals every scene she's in. Since that's no surprise at all, on to the actual leads in the film. George Raft is more than adequate as the likable romantic gangster Joe Ranton who falls for Constance Cummings' rich society girl Healy. When the film begins, it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that Joe was a gangster. (I actually thought, "What's with all the guns? …oh.") There is a memorable scene when Joe confronts Healy about when she kissed him, and she claims that she didn't do it because she loved him. In that scene, you can see Raft's brittle deadpan good looks start to crack and you know that underneath he is just boiling at this woman for jerking him around like that. For the most part, the movie is far from a classic, but Mae West is the one who makes it worth checking out. I look forward to seeing her actually drive the story in the future.

    DOUG: This 70-minute mob comedy starring George Raft features the screen debut of the inimitable Mae West. If that's what you're looking for, enjoy, but be prepared: West doesn't appear until halfway into the movie, and is only present for all of about 15 minutes. When she's on screen, she's awesome, dropping some of the juiciest, most suggestive one-liners ever. I'd give the movie 3 stars out of 5, mostly thanks to West, who lights up the screen every moment she's on; the movie never really feels alive when she's not there. George Raft is the lead, and he does pretty good. The whole show ends very abruptly, as if they just ran out of film before they shot the big shootout and just decided to air the movie as is. If you really want to see all of Mae West's stuff, by all means give this one a look. If you want to see her at the forefront, skip this one and go straight to She Done Him Wrong. Something else I noticed: Mae West looks a lot like Alex Borstein.

    Last film: Red Dust (1932). Next film: Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932).