Film Legends Of Yesteryear (2021): Rita Hayworth in… Tonight And Every Night (1945)

We’ve come around to March 17, and that means that we’re due for another “Film Legends Of Yesteryear” featuring actress Rita Hayworth! This time, we’re here for her 1945 film Tonight And Every Night! But, as you might have come to expect by now, we have a theatrical short to get through first before we move on to the main feature.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Doggone Tired (1949)

(Available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 7 minutes, 34 seconds)

A rabbit tries to keep a hunting dog from getting enough sleep. This is a fun cartoon, with all the various gags as the rabbit tries desperately to make sure the dog will be too tired to catch him in the morning. Tex Avery’s style works well here, as the gags get increasingly more complex and violent (well, in a cartoonish way). A very enjoyable cartoon (even if you do feel sorry for the dog, as everything stops him from sleeping until he is finally out cold).

And Now For The Main Feature…

Near the end of the second World War, a reporter from Life magazine has come to the Music Box theatre in London for a story. It seems that, unlike some of the other theatres in the city, the Music Box had continued to have performances all throughout the German Blitz. The reporter talks to stage manager Sam Royce (Ernest Cossart), who tells him a story connected to the theatre’s survival. Early in the war, a rehearsal run by theatre impresario May “Tolly” Tolliver (Florence Bates) is interrupted by dancer Tommy Lawson (Marc Platt), who auditions to join the group. His skills are good, but his dancing is so improvisational that he immediately forgets what he did, so Tolly turns him down. However, dancers Rosalind Bruce (Rita Hayworth) and Judy Kane (Janet Blair) are impressed, and they try to help him out by teaching him some routines. With their help, he gets in, and becomes a sensation. One night, RAF pilot Paul Lundy (Lee Bowman) comes to the theatre. He finds himself quite interested in Rosalind, and tries to flirt with her when everybody takes refuge in the theatre’s basement during the German bombardment of the city. She is at first resistant to his advances, but they start going out. They have an up-and-down relationship, not helped by him having to take part in some special, secret missions for the war. And, to make matters, worse, Tommy is also in love with Rosalind (while her friend Judy is interested in Tommy). Will everything work out for everyone, or will the war pull everybody apart?

Tonight And Every Night was based on the 1942 play Heart Of A City by Leslie Storm, which was inspired by the famous Windmill Theatre in London, which never closed during the second World War. The movie (filmed in Technicolor) was intended for Rita Hayworth after her previous film Cover Girl (Columbia’s first Technicolor film) was so successful. She worked with choreographer Jack Cole, who would help her in her next film Gilda (and would dance with her in this movie for the song “What Does an English Girl Think of a Yank?” when the dancer originally slated to do so sprained his ankle). The film wasn’t really much of a success in theaters, although it would receive Oscar nominations for Best Song (“Anywhere”) and Best Score.

I’m coming off my first time seeing this movie, and I would say it’s an OK movie. The songs themselves aren’t too terribly memorable, and I don’t really think much of its story. Still, I did enjoy seeing it for Rita Hayworth. Her dancing is still fun to watch in this movie, and her dance to “You Excite Me” is one of her best-remembered routines (and I certainly liked it)! Some of the fun here is dancer Marc Platt making his film debut (who is probably best known as one of the brothers in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers). Admittedly, he doesn’t have too many featured numbers, outside of the character’s “audition” (which includes, in a rather bizarre moment, him using music from a radio, with one station having one of Hitler’s speeches, which he also dances to), but his dancing is still impressive. Supposedly, the Music Box theatre is intended as a stand-in for the Windmill Theatre, although the movie cleans up what that theatre was actually known for (with it getting the closest for the comedy/ not-quite-striptease routine that The Great Waldo, as portrayed by Professor Lamberti, does with his xylophone and Rita Hayworth behind him). Still, I did enjoy the movie, so I would suggest giving it a try, if you get the chance to see it or rent it!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Tonight And Every Night (1945)

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the twelve film Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate Collection from Mill Creek Entertainment. As I indicated previously, this is the first time I’ve seen this movie, so I’m not sure how this movie is supposed to look, exactly. Taking a guess, based on some of the other Technicolor movies that I’ve seen from this era, this transfer looks very much in need of restoration. I think it’s an HD scan, but there are specks and dirt here and there. But, more than that, I think the color is off a bit at times. I don’t think it’s bad enough to say that the movie is unwatchable (but, then again, different people can take some things better or worse than others). For the price, it’s not too bad, so I would still suggest trying it just the same.

Film Length: 1 hour, 32 minutes

My Rating: 6/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

You Were Never Lovelier (1942) – Rita Hayworth – Down To Earth (1947)

You’ll Never Get Rich (1941)Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate CollectionDown To Earth (1947)

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