This Could Be the Night (1957)

104 mins | Drama | 17 May 1957

Director:

Robert Wise

Writer:

Isobel Lennart

Producer:

Joe Pasternak

Cinematographer:

Russell Harlan

Editor:

George Boemler

Production Designers:

William A. Horning, Paul Groesse

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title for the film was Protection Is a Tough Racket . Ray Anthony's credit reads: "And Ray Anthony and His Orchestra.” According to a 9 Dec 1954 DV article, the magazine story "Protection for a Tough Racket," by Cordelia Baird Gross was originally purchased by Perlberg-Seaton for Paramount Pictures production. By 1955, a 12 Jan DV article stated that the article appeared in a Dec 1954 issue of Harper's magazine and was subsequently purchased by M-G-M for shooting in 1955 with Henry Barman producing.
       A 7 Aug 1956 HR news item announced that M-G-M re-optioned James Cagney for a lead, presumably for the role played by Paul Douglas in the released film. M-G-M finally slated the film for production in early Nov 1956 and assigned Joe Pasternak to produce. Although many reviews note that This Could Be the Night was Pasternak's last M-G-M musical, he did make several additional films for the studio. As noted in modern sources, unlike Pasternak's usually vibrant musicals, This Could Be the Night was a comedy in black and white with only incidental song and dance numbers. Several of the songs in the film are not played in their entirety because the film switches back and forth between these stage acts and the narrative.
       This Could Be the Night was the first released film of actor Anthony Franciosa (1928--2006), who appeared in two other films in 1957, A Face in the Crowd and a Hatful of Rain (see above), which also were shot in late late 1956 and early 1957. According ... More Less

The working title for the film was Protection Is a Tough Racket . Ray Anthony's credit reads: "And Ray Anthony and His Orchestra.” According to a 9 Dec 1954 DV article, the magazine story "Protection for a Tough Racket," by Cordelia Baird Gross was originally purchased by Perlberg-Seaton for Paramount Pictures production. By 1955, a 12 Jan DV article stated that the article appeared in a Dec 1954 issue of Harper's magazine and was subsequently purchased by M-G-M for shooting in 1955 with Henry Barman producing.
       A 7 Aug 1956 HR news item announced that M-G-M re-optioned James Cagney for a lead, presumably for the role played by Paul Douglas in the released film. M-G-M finally slated the film for production in early Nov 1956 and assigned Joe Pasternak to produce. Although many reviews note that This Could Be the Night was Pasternak's last M-G-M musical, he did make several additional films for the studio. As noted in modern sources, unlike Pasternak's usually vibrant musicals, This Could Be the Night was a comedy in black and white with only incidental song and dance numbers. Several of the songs in the film are not played in their entirety because the film switches back and forth between these stage acts and the narrative.
       This Could Be the Night was the first released film of actor Anthony Franciosa (1928--2006), who appeared in two other films in 1957, A Face in the Crowd and a Hatful of Rain (see above), which also were shot in late late 1956 and early 1957. According to a 20 Nov 1956 HR news item, four elementary school children won a contest and made their film debut in This Could Be the Night . A 30 Nov 1956 HR news item lists the children as Billy Stoll, Tony Judd, Sandra Harrison and Sharon Gomez; however, only Billy Stoll is listed on the CBCS. Portions of the film were shot on location in New York City, NY.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Apr 1957.
---
Daily Variety
9 Dec 1954.
---
Daily Variety
12 Jan 1955.
---
Daily Variety
27 Sep 1956.
---
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1957
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Apr 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1956
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1956
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 1956
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 1956
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 1956
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1956
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 1956
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 1957
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
16 May 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
13 Apr 1957
p. 337.
New York Times
15 May 1957
p. 39.
New Yorker
26 May 1957.
---
Newsweek
27 May 1957.
---
Variety
10 Apr 1957
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus supv
Orch
Vocal supv
Mus coord
SOUND
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Musical numbers staged by
MAKEUP
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Protection for a Tough Racket" by Cordelia Baird Gross in Harper's (Dec 1954).
MUSIC
"When the Saints Go Marching In," music by James M. Black, lyrics by Katharine E. Purvis
"Trumpet Boogie," music by Ray Anthony and "Now, Baby, Now," composers undetermined.
SONGS
"This Could Be the Night," music by Nicholas Brodszky, lyrics by Sammy Cahn
"Hustlin' Newsgal," music and lyrics by George Stoll
"I'm Gonna Live Till I Die," music and lyrics by Walter Kent, Mann Curtis and Al Hoffman
+
SONGS
"This Could Be the Night," music by Nicholas Brodszky, lyrics by Sammy Cahn
"Hustlin' Newsgal," music and lyrics by George Stoll
"I'm Gonna Live Till I Die," music and lyrics by Walter Kent, Mann Curtis and Al Hoffman
"Taking a Chance on Love," music by Vernon Duke, lyrics by John Latouche and Ted Fetter
"I Got It Bad," music by Edward Kennedy and Duke Ellington, lyrics by Paul Francis and "Sadie Green," composer unknown.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Protection Is a Tough Racket
Release Date:
17 May 1957
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 14 May 1957
Production Date:
early November--late December 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 April 1957
Copyright Number:
LP8131
Physical Properties:
Sound
Perspecta Sound; Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
104
Length(in feet):
9,368
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18456
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When virtuous schoolteacher Anne Leeds, a recent Smith College graduate, answers a classified ad for a part-time secretarial job during the night shift at the Tonic nightclub, crude but likeable Rocco, a co-owner of the club, is charmed by Anne’s flawless English and innocence about his trade. After hiring Anne, Rocco’s younger partner, playboy Tony Armotti, angrily complains that Anne’s background does not fit the club’s profile. Anne’s first night includes witnessing an alleyway brawl and decoding a bookie’s message about one of Rocco’s bets. Before the club opens, Rocco proudly introduces Anne to the staff including headwaiter Eduordo, band leader Ray Anthony, bartender Mike and busboy Hussein Mohammed. Later that night, while Ray and his orchestra are playing to a crowded house, regular Stowe Devlin, a college graduate like Anne, offers to befriend her, but Anne claims that they are both “tourists” in the rough crowd and she prefers learning from the staff. When a customer’s wife calls in search of her adulterous husband, the customer demands that Tony fire Anne after she inadvertently tells his wife that he is at the club. Tony gladly acquiesces to the belligerent man’s demand, but when Rocco insists that Tony hire Anne back, he agrees to visit her at the school where she teaches the following day. Once inside her classroom, Tony reluctantly offers Anne the job, but Anne suggests that her self-confidence makes Tony uncomfortable. When Ann gives one of her young pupils money for lunch, Tony remarks that she is naive to be deceived by the student’s ruse. Anne defends her decision to trust people and accepts his job offer. Back at the club, after Rocco, Tony and the ... +


When virtuous schoolteacher Anne Leeds, a recent Smith College graduate, answers a classified ad for a part-time secretarial job during the night shift at the Tonic nightclub, crude but likeable Rocco, a co-owner of the club, is charmed by Anne’s flawless English and innocence about his trade. After hiring Anne, Rocco’s younger partner, playboy Tony Armotti, angrily complains that Anne’s background does not fit the club’s profile. Anne’s first night includes witnessing an alleyway brawl and decoding a bookie’s message about one of Rocco’s bets. Before the club opens, Rocco proudly introduces Anne to the staff including headwaiter Eduordo, band leader Ray Anthony, bartender Mike and busboy Hussein Mohammed. Later that night, while Ray and his orchestra are playing to a crowded house, regular Stowe Devlin, a college graduate like Anne, offers to befriend her, but Anne claims that they are both “tourists” in the rough crowd and she prefers learning from the staff. When a customer’s wife calls in search of her adulterous husband, the customer demands that Tony fire Anne after she inadvertently tells his wife that he is at the club. Tony gladly acquiesces to the belligerent man’s demand, but when Rocco insists that Tony hire Anne back, he agrees to visit her at the school where she teaches the following day. Once inside her classroom, Tony reluctantly offers Anne the job, but Anne suggests that her self-confidence makes Tony uncomfortable. When Ann gives one of her young pupils money for lunch, Tony remarks that she is naive to be deceived by the student’s ruse. Anne defends her decision to trust people and accepts his job offer. Back at the club, after Rocco, Tony and the club’s torch singer Ivy Corlane jokingly propose a wager regarding Anne’s sexual experience, Ivy ascertains from Anne that the secretary has “no hits, no runs, no errors.” Later that night, dancer Patsy St. Clair tells Anne that she aspires to be a cook and compete in a cooking contest for a new stove, despite her mother Crystal’s insistence that she concentrate on marrying. When Patsy reveals that she has had no time to create a recipe, Anne offers her a family carrot cake recipe. Meanwhile, a bloody Hussein returns to the club complaining that he must change his name to avoid being beaten up because of his ethnic background. When Hussein explains that his father has agreed to the change providing the teenager pass his algebra class, Ann offers to help him with his lessons. After a night of deftly handling almost all the staff’s needs, Anne learns from Hussein that the young women filing up and down the staircase outside the club are going to Tony’s apartment. Days later, when Anne is late for work, Rocco reveals his venerable and fatherly side to her when he asks her to be on time to keep him from worrying. Hussein has received a difficult algebra test to finish by the following morning and when Anne offers to find a customer to help him with the test, Tony insinuates that the job requires a more enticing woman and sends Ivy. Meanwhile, Patsy returns from the contest just in time for her number, a newsgirl strip routine in which she reveals, under several layers, a first place cooking contest ribbon. Back in the office, Rocco confides in Anne that bitterness about his past marriage made him pressure young Tony to stay away from decent women. Throughout the night, Tony hushes staff and customers alike when they show signs of disreputable behavior in front of Anne. When Anne finds out later that Tony has told the staff Anne is a “greenhorn,” under the guise of protecting her, she runs to his apartment to demand an explanation. Tony claims that maintaining her virtue is his responsibility, but Anne retorts that she is not naive, just inexperienced. After sharing a few drinks, Tony brusquely challenges her to “handle” his pass and kisses her. To his surprise, Anne eagerly returns the kiss. When Rocco calls to report that Anne’s landlord, Mr. Shea, is worried that Anne has not returned home, Tony lies to Rocco that Anne is staying with Crystal and Patsy. After a drunken Anne then insists on spending the night and professes her love, Tony hurriedly drives her to Patsy and Crystal’s apartment. Rocco, who spotted the couple as they left and assumed Tony took advantage of Anne, punches his friend when Tony returns to the apartment. The next morning, Anne tells Rocco that nothing happened between her and Tony and admits that she loves him, despite Rocco’s advice that Tony is a “bad character.” Later, Rocco returns to the club and apologizes to Tony. When Tony insists that Anne leave the club, Rocco announces that she has already quit, causing Tony to become strangely sullen. Days later at school, Tony walks into Anne’s classroom in midst of a fight between Anne and her students and tenderly orders them to apologize to their teacher. Although softened by Tony’s good behavior, Anne refuses his offer of severance pay and his suggestion that she return to New England. Back at the club, Tony’s tolerance is tested as each staff member eagerly asks him why Anne quit. He then discovers from Rocco that Anne is now working for Waxie London, an ex-convict who runs a club that fronts a gambling racket. Later that night at Waxie’s, Tony is ordering Anne to quit her job when the police raid the club. After helping Anne out a back window, Tony begs her to return to the Tonic. Anne vehemently rejects his offer and flees, but several nights later, Anne is back working at the Tonic, where the staff celebrates her return as Rocco and Tony offer a champagne toast at the bar. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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