Classic Film Guide

Night and Day (1946)

Michael Curtiz directed this below average fictionalized musical biography of Cole Porter which earned an Academy Award nomination for its Ray Heindorf-Max Steiner musical Score. Written by Charles Hoffman, Leo Townsend, and William Bowers with an adaptation by Jack Moffitt, it features several uninspired renditions of Porter's music and stage productions including the Yale fight song ("Bulldog"), "What is this Thing called Love?", "I've Got You Under My Skin", "Anything Goes", "You're the Top", "Don't Fence Me In", "My Heart Belongs to Daddy", and the title song (among several others). The film's unusual casting includes Cary Grant as Porter, Jane Wyman as singer Gracie Harris, and Eve Arden as a French cabaret singer Gabrielle; also, there's Alexis Smith as Porter's wife Linda Lee, Monty Woolley as himself and a former Harvard law professor, and Ginny Simms as Carole Hill, who sings many of the songs. Also in the cast are: Victor Francen as Anatole Giron, who gives Porter an opportunity after he'd been injured during World War I, Alan Hale as a producer who passes on Porter's music, Dorothy Malone as a singer, Selena Royle as Porter's mother, Henry Stephenson as the composer's Grandfather, Sig Ruman as the owner of a place rented by Woolley-Porter for rehearsals, and singer Mary Martin as herself. Herman Bing appears uncredited as one of Gracie's wealthy boyfriends. There's a point in the story when Hale's character says (in effect) "I hear it but, although it sounds good enough, I don't feel anything in my heart (or gut)" to indicate there's something wrong with Porter's music (sung by Woolley!); I think that sums up this film pretty well.

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