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Night Work (1930)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Music, Romance  |  3 August 1930 (USA)
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Willie, as an assistant window-dresser, is the lowest man on the totem pole at a department store. To add insult-to-injury Willie is also the store's designated 'Fired Man."; when a ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Quillan ...
Sally Starr ...
Frances Upton ...
John T. Murray ...
Tom Keene ...
Harvey Vanderman (as George Duryea)
Ben Bard ...
Robert McWade ...
Phil Reisman
Douglas Scott ...
Oscar, the Orphan
Addie McPhail ...
Kit Guard ...
Georgia Caine ...
Mrs. Ten Eyck
Georgie Billings ...
Buster (as George Billings)
Charles Clary ...
Mr. Vanderman
Tom Dugan ...
Johnny Harris
Arthur Hoyt ...
George Twining


Willie, as an assistant window-dresser, is the lowest man on the totem pole at a department store. To add insult-to-injury Willie is also the store's designated 'Fired Man."; when a disgruntled customer demands that somebody-must-be-fired, Willie is summoned and summarily fired, only to be rehired when the now-satisfied customer has departed. Willie inadvertently adopts a four-year-old orphan at a cost of ten-dollars a week, and things go from bad to worse since Willie doesn't make ten-dollars a week. But, with the help of Mary, a beautiful young nurse, Willie manages to turn some corners and improve his lot in life, albeit with some skids along the way. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Music | Romance






Release Date:

3 August 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il benemerito spiantato  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Deep In Your Heart
Music by Ted Snyder
Lyrics by Mort Harris
Sung by Marjorie Kane
See more »

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User Reviews

Eddie Quillan Found a Way to Shine!!!
25 February 2015 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Sally Starr was going to be MGM's answer to Clara Bow and she was very cute and snappy in "So This Is College"(1929) (a film that also introduced Robert Montgomery) but her part was not sympathetic (always a bad sign) and by 1930 she was already at Pathe (really down there). In "Night Work" she doesn't have much to do (and talks very fast) but Eddie Quillan does though and he runs the gamut of emotions in this feel good movie which has a bit of everything. Although a bit over long Eddie plays Willie, a peppy window dresser who hopes someday to make his mark in the department store where he works. He also doubles as a "fired man" - whenever a customer comes in with a complaint, Eddie is sent for as head of department to be told off and fired, leaving the customers with a happy glow!! He meets Mary Robins (Sally Starr) an assistant at the local orphanage who is in town to promote a sponsorship appeal. Eddie accidentally signs up, doesn't realise it is not a one off but finds himself really falling for cute little Oscar (Douglas Scott is adorable). Oscar's parentage is a mystery - he was brought to the home 4 years before on April 1st and according to the taxi driver, the shadowy woman offered him $50 to forget her and the ornate ring she wore. Hearing of this unusual story a wealthy businessman is convinced that Oscar is his grand child but that's all Willie needs to spur him into action towards getting the adoption fee.

He gets a second job as a night waiter at a ritzy club and this is where the musical interlude comes in. Marjorie "Babe" Kane was a cute singer in those early musicals, usually used as a specialty singer and often the bright spot in sometimes dreary films ("The Great Gabbo"). She did sound similar to Helen Kane but if you have ever heard Ginger Rogers in her early appearances ("A Night in a Girl's Dormitory", "Young Man of Manhattan") she had a similar style but one she had developed during her teenage years - she called it a "babytalk" style. Anyway Kane sounds more like Ginger!! She does a cute song called "I'm Tired of My Tired Man". There is also a dance contest where Willie is called on to do some fancy eccentric dancing with partner (Addie McPhail). Of course he hasn't told Mary any of this as she thinks he is an oil magnate - he big noted himself but his oil wells never came in!! When she finds out her heart is broken but all is not lost as it seems there was another baby bought in the same night - and he proves the long lost heir!!

Quillan juggled many styles - the goofy romantic, eccentric dancer, the crooner and the heart felt dramatic, proving that the stirring parts in "Black Legion" and "The Grapes of Wrath" were in him from the start. Also "Our Gang" member Shirley Jean Ricketts was one of the cute orphans.

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