Boris Karloff and Mae Clarke reunited after "Frankenstein"
1932's "Night World" began shooting Jan. 28, from a story suggested by director Hobart Henley (working title "Night Club"), previously at the helm for Bette Davis' screen debut "The Bad Sister." It appears that all the major stars at Universal found time to appear, from Lew Ayres ("All Quiet on the Western Front") to both Boris Karloff and Mae Clarke from James Whale's blockbuster "Frankenstein," adding George Raft for two scenes (reunited with Boris from "Scarface") and future columnist Hedda Hopper for just one. Right from the opening moments of this hour long pre-Code gem we are privy to the worrisome tribulations of doorman Tim Washington (Clarence Muse), whose wife is expected to recover from an operation, itching for a chance to join her at the hospital if Karloff's "Happy" MacDonald would allow him to. As the owner of Happy's Place, third billed Boris spends the entire film decidedly unhappy, a faithless wife (Dorothy Revier, his previous costar in "Graft") cavorting with the choreographer (Russell Hopton), and the often soused socialite Michael Rand (Ayres), in occasional need of a sock on the jaw. Mae Clarke is credited below Ayres as chorus girl Ruth, desperate to put off Raft's advances ("my apartment never closes!") while seeing that Rand doesn't drink himself to an early grave mourning for a beloved father brutally murdered by a heartless mother. Bert Roach effortlessly wears out a gag about looking for anybody from Schenectady, but the amazing Busby Berkeley numbers simply dazzle, especially one kaleidoscopic shot of the entire chorus line from high above and another that movies through the girls' open legs ("the more he comes, the lower he gets!"). For all the action going on, Boris is only around for 9 minutes screen time, a perpetual smile planted on his kisser even at the moment of his demise at the hands of unruly bootleggers, no doubt pleased that they shot the wife first! (his next film found him top billed in James Whale's "The Old Dark House," bidding farewell to forgotten supporting parts).
- Mar 28, 2021
Contribute to this page
Suggest an edit or add missing content