Gambling boat operator Jenny Blake throws over her gambler beau Jack Morgan in order to marry into high society.Gambling boat operator Jenny Blake throws over her gambler beau Jack Morgan in order to marry into high society.Gambling boat operator Jenny Blake throws over her gambler beau Jack Morgan in order to marry into high society.
The Duke plays a part that would normally go to an actor like Ray Milland. He's the political boss of Memphis and the old Southern gentry of the town, tow his line. John Wayne even has a bodyguard, Leonid Kinsky. Who'd have ever thunk that.
Wayne and Blondell are partners in a riverboat gambling ship. Wayne would like to make it a matrimonial partnership. But Blondell, who's a girl from the wrong side of the tracks wants some respectability as well as money. When Ray Middleton gambles away the title to the old Alderson family estate, Blondell offers to marry him to save the good gentry from being thrown out on their duffs. It's a marriage she has soon cause to regret.
Blondell sings a nice number entitled Up In a Balloon on the riverboat stage and I bet she was looking around for Busby Berkeley. Kind of strange to see her singing without the splashy Warner Brothers production around her. But her performance was effective, the best in the film.
What struck me so curious was that they seem to have grabbed off characters from other films and tossed them here. Hattie Noel plays Blondell's black maid and it's a total ripoff of Hattie McDaniel from Gone With the Wind. Edith Barrett and Blanche Yurka play Middleton's aunts, Barrett good, Yurka evil. Edith Barrett copied Patricia Collinge as Birdie Bagtry Hubbard from The Little Foxes and Yurka is another Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca.
Still it does mix well and while it's not a great film, Lady for a Night is a passably decent one, though it's far from the usual Duke.
- Jun 25, 2005