18 June 2005 | loza-1
A Delightful Film
I always wonder when I see the lists of "the hundred best films ever made" etc. You see, there is one thing that I have discovered over the years of delving around in old films, and it is this. It is not possible to compile lists of the best films ever made for the simple reason that some of the best films ever made are lying forgotten on shelves in film libraries, and, sadly, some are lost. There are so many great films that the public never get to see. The critics will have you believe that pictures like This is the Night is not particularly good, and is only of interest to fans of Cary Grant and Thelma Todd. People have forgotten all about it. The director, the star, the film is today forgotten.
Then you play the film. The acting is utterly superb, the comic timing superb. The film is cleverly and adventurously put together by the film makers. All the players, Grant, Todd, Ruggles and Young are excellent.
What is there to say about the lead, Damita? Well, with the coming of talking pictures, Damita with her French accent found it tough to get parts that would utilise her exceptional talents. Here is an exception. Not many people know that at Hollywood parties Damita was Chaplin's number one rival when it came to mime during party pieces. In one scene, we get a glimpse at the sort of thing that helped the Hollywood parties go with a swing. In dialogue Damita's comic timing is spot on, which just goes to show that you do not have to be mug ugly to be a comedienne. When she is on screen the laughter is the loudest. And sex appeal? She has been called "a French bombshell." If so, the French have to test her in the Pacific.
It would be criminal to ruin it all by telling everybody what the plot is. All I will say is that if you are not smiling or laughing at this film from beginning to end, then there is something wrong with YOU.
So next time you see a list of the 100 best films ever made, ignore it. My advice to you is to go out and find your own 100 best films. If you don't, you could miss gems like this, and the loser will be YOU.