» » One Romantic Night (1930)

Short summary

A scheming mother wishes to make a succesful match between her daughter and a prince, yet another man, a commoner, may stand in the way.

This film is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-1946. Because of poor documentation (feature films were often not identified by title in conventional sources) no record has yet been found of its initial television broadcast. It's earliest documented telecasts took place in New York City Wednesday 13 July 1949 on WJZ (Channel 7) and in Philadelphia Saturday 31 December 1949 on WCAU (Channel 10).

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Uaoteowi
    Very rare film based on Molnar's THE SWAN (an alternate title), ONE ROMANTIC NIGHT tells the story of a princess who must choose between a romantic tutor (Conrad Nagel) or a rascally prince (Rod La Rocque). Getting in the way and making things difficult is the princess' mother (Marie Dressler).

    A terrific cast makes this watchable (although my copy is bad), but the story is rather dull. Gish (in her talkie debut) looks and sounds great; Dressler of course steals every scene she's in. Nagel is OK, and La Rocque is handsome but somewhat prissy.

    At age 37, Gish was probably too old for the part of the princess, but it's the kind of character that fit her screen persona. Gish herself did not like the film and considered it slow and dull. She also didn't like the director, whose work she was unfamiliar with. She had not made a film since 1928's silent THE WIND and wouldn't make another film for 3 years. La Rocque, Nagel, and Dressler had all made talkies before this film.

    Oddly, this story was filmed again in the 50s as THE SWAN and starring Grace Kelly and Alec Guinness.
  • comment
    • Author: Mardin
    Lovely, demure Lillian Gish (as Princess Alexandra) is expected to marry randy, royal Rod La Rocque (as Prince Albert). Instead, Ms. Gish is attracted to someone out of her societal class, her brothers' tutor Conrad Nagel (as Nicholas Haller). Gish's dalliance with Mr. Nagel puts her "arranged" royal wedding with Mr. La Rocque in jeopardy. As he finds his prospective bride slipping away, La Roque finds himself falling in love with Gish. Who will the Princess choose?

    This re-titled version of Molnár's "The Swan" was certainly an unsuitable talking picture debut for Gish. Although she speaks well, the script and direction offer Gish little opportunity to show her considerable dramatic skills. Reportedly, the legendary actress clashed with director Paul L. Stein; and, George Fitzmaurice was called in to complete the film. The supporting cast, including Marie Dressler and Philippe De Lacy, and cinematography (Karl Struss), are attractive. La Rocque is unusually weak as the winning man; probably, his performance suffers due to the lack of direction (un-unified Fitzmaurice, Gish, and Stein). The unhappy experience resulted in Gish concentrating her energies on stage work.

    ***** One Romantic Night (5/3/30) Paul L. Stein ~ Lillian Gish, Rod La Rocque, Conrad Nagel, Marie Dressler
  • comment
    • Author: Nahelm
    Pre-World-War-Two Hollywood got a lot of mileage out of Hungarian plays, in this case one by Ferenc Molnar which had been filmed previously and would be filmed again. These plays had one thing in common – people impersonating other people or pretending to be something other than what they really were in order achieve a status-seeking goal. Here, a princess (Lillian Gish), at the urging of her ambitious mother (Marie Dressler), keeps company with her younger brothers' tutor (Conrad Nagel) in order to make a prince (Rod La Rocque) jealous so that he will propose to her. This is the kind of story that might have been the backbone for an operetta directed by the likes of Lubitsch. But this film plays it straight and without the visual wit that Lubitsch brought to his projects. It begins promisingly as foppish, decadent LaRocque is dragged away by his handlers from a wild party to pay a visit to Gish and Dressler. But as soon as he arrives at his destination the film degenerates into one boring setup after another in which various combinations of people talk a lot about whether they are in love or not or which suitor will win Gish. Occasionally a voice is raised, a kiss is planted on lips or hands, or Dressler pulls nervously on her hanky.

    In talkies, La Rocque fared best as a villain (as in THE LOCKED DOOR) but as the prince it's hard to tell whether his character is meant to be bad or good. He has a fey way with line readings that brings to mind the chronologically later Vincent Price. Although he looks magnificent in military garb, he lacks the natural joie de vivre that Maurice Chevalier brought to similar roles and he seems to be mocking himself. Nagel is, as always, dashing and sympathetic but at certain moments pompous. Dressler restrains herself commendably; in general she contributes much needed punch as well as dashes of humor. The ethereally beautiful Gish is every inch the princess in a flawless performance; the role she plays, unfortunately, is so tepid that her efforts hardly matter. She was 36 years old when this was shot but Karl Struss's soft focus cinematography helps.
  • comment
    • Author: Sadaron above the Gods
    If you've seen the 1956 version of THE SWAN, then this earlier version will very, very familiar as the scripts are so very similar--much more than the average remake. Yet, despite the strong similarity, the 1930 version just didn't work for me.

    A major part of the problem was the poor decision to cast Lillian Gish in the lead. While she was always a lovely actress, she was simply way too old for this part. The character is supposed to be a young lady, but Gish is nearing 40 and having her play an eligible young princess is just silly. Also, while I have loved Gish in many other films, in her first sound film she is quite poor--often interrupting or talking over the lines of other actors. Now the director should have noted this and re-filmed a few scenes. However, it also was likely that Gish was just out of her element with sound and this interfered with her timing...and perhaps her confidence. Fortunately, in future sound films she improved tremendously--though she also did very few sound films during the 1930s--choosing instead to work on the stage.

    In contrast, Grace Kelly was much younger and elegant and seemed more like a real princess--regardless of what the future would hold for her in Monaco. It also didn't help that Gish had the wimpy and rather effeminate Rod LaRocque as a romantic interest; whereas Kelly had a more handsome and regal Alec Guinness.

    Another problem with the 1930 version is that it lacks the elegance and grace of the later version--and a lot of this is because in 1930 they still weren't that adept at using the new medium of sound. Like a typical 1930 film, there was little incidental music and the movie seemed amazingly flat. Just a bit of romantic or dramatic music here or there would have helped.

    Overall, it's an interesting idea for a film but the execution left quite a bit to be desired. I would love to find a copy of the first version of the film (1925) but I have no idea where to look.
  • comment
    • Author: Vudozilkree
    Of the three film versions,including the 1925 silent movie not commercially available,and the 1956 Grace Kelly version once commercially available on VHS, this version most closely approximates Molnar's MAIN point in writing this comedy - erg the sharp distinction in the social classes in nineteenth century European monarchies. Prince Albert is pictured as a rakish Royal who can still come across affable and understanding, as not forcing Alexandra into an arranged marriage and also, understanding the tutor's plight and not willing to see him suffer. Dr. Haller is much more appropriately the spokesman for the dignity of the common man which is a central theme in European comedies than is the parallel character, Dr. Agi, in the 1956 remake. Though Lillian Gish does not look 17 as does Grace Kelly in the 1956 remake, she is far more prepared to act as a teenager in the film than is Grace Kelly, who brings her marvelous and much-appreciated regal aloofness to this portrayal as she does to all her other films. However, Gish ended up getting the director changed midstream and is possibly the root cause of the film's alternate denouement in which the Prince tricks rather than coaxes the title character in at least be willing to consider his offer of a Royal union.
  • comment
    • Author: Xwnaydan
    Some of my observations:

    Lillian Gish talks. She made the cut, to sound motion pictures. Is this her real voice? She is glamorous. She is dolled up. Marie Dressler is well done up, too, and her black gown is stunning -- a far cry from Marie's grimy turn in Min and Bill. Again, I am more used to seeing Lillian in silent films. Lillian was from Ohio, where I live.

    Two romantic admirers. One is a stupid, smarmy, mustache-and-eyebrows-(lipstick, too?)- painted-on prince. One is an intelligent astronomer who gulps brandy in a flash. Drunkard is the astronomer's newest description.

    It is good to see Lillian dressed as royalty, wearing a jeweled tiara and a lovely evening gown. Lillian looks very darling here.
  • comment
    • Author: Siratius
    I found this movie very enjoyable . I didn't Lillian Gish was best for the part but she played it well...her facial expressions and eyes are the most interesting thing to watch in the film . Marie Dressler is usually a very good actress but doesn't fit the role well either ; maybe no one in the film does , but it's a pleasant watch anyway . La Rocque was weak ; Nagel was his handsome self but better suited with Garbo...O.P. Heggie was his usual delight . I would recommend this film .... one question : why does it go by two different titles ? I think the title of The Swan sounds much more interesting..."One Romantic Night" seems rather tripe ...... beautiful early talkie sound/picture quality
  • comment
    • Author: Steep
    One Romantic Night (1930)

    * 1/2 (out of 4)

    Screen legend Lillian Gish made her talkie debut in this rather static (?) comedy about a love triangle. In the film she plays a princess who is promised to a man (Rod La Rocque) but of course she's in love with another (Conrad Nagel). This film was filmed once before in 1925 and again later with Grace Kelly but I haven't seen either of those to make a far comparison. I'm certainly hoping that either one is better than this film because sadly this film is quite poor. I love Gish and always have but this film here is pretty poor from start to finish and even her lovely grace can't save it. In fact, I'd say she's part of the problem because she's way too old (37 at the time) to be playing the part, which is clearly mean for someone in their early twenties, if not younger. Having her squeeze into a role like this is certainly unfair and especially considering this was also her first talkie. Her talking sequences are really bland, which took me by surprise. I thought she would have handled the jump a lot better than she did because she had a lovely voice but it seems she's trying way too hard to push her voice. Just watch her in a number of scenes where she actually looks like she's trying to "push" her voice. She wouldn't make another film for three years and apparently hated making this movie, its director and had an overall negative opinion on the film but after seeing this you could understand why. Both La Rocque and Nagel are rather stiff and bland as well. Supporting players Marie Dressler and O.O. Heggie fair somewhat better but they can't save the film either. The entire film is poorly directed and I'd question whether anyone knew if they were making a comedy or drama because I honestly couldn't tell. Things are that flat from start to finish so there's really no one to recommend this to unless, like myself, you're a Gish fan and want to say you've seen her first talkie.
  • Cast overview:
    Lillian Gish Lillian Gish - Princess Alexandra
    Rod La Rocque Rod La Rocque - Prince Albert
    Conrad Nagel Conrad Nagel - Dr. Nicholas Haller
    Marie Dressler Marie Dressler - Princess Beatrice
    O.P. Heggie O.P. Heggie - Father Benedict
    Albert Conti Albert Conti - Count Lutzen
    Edgar Norton Edgar Norton - Colonel Wunderlich
    Billie Bennett Billie Bennett - Princess Symphorosa
    Philippe De Lacy Philippe De Lacy - Prince George
    Byron Sage Byron Sage - Prince Arsene
    Barbara Leonard Barbara Leonard - Mitzi
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