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John Francis Dillon
"Happy" MacDonald and his unfaithful wife own a Prohibition era night club. On this eventful night, he is threatened by bootleggers, and the club's star dancer falls in love with a young socialite who drinks to forget a personal tragedy, among other incidents. Written by
Sort of like a soap opera set in a speakeasy....and they sure cram a lot into 57 minutes!
You can certainly tell that "Night World" is a pre-code picture. It's set in a speakeasy--just the sort of sordid locale that wouldn't have been allowed after the new Production Code went into effect in mid-1934. Of course, by then alcohol was legal and speakeasies were a thing of the past anyways. The film is very much like a soap opera--with a variety of folks and love affairs going on during the course of the picture.
Several story lines are going on at the same time in this film and at then end, they all converge. One story is about the owners of the club, Happy (Boris Karloff) and Jill. However, Jill is cheating on her hubby and the way this story ends is pure dynamite. The main story involves a young man who's been drinking himself into oblivion (Lew Ayres). Why and his relationship with a girl who works in the club (Mae Clark) is fascinating. Finally, the doorman (Clarence Muse) has something going on with his sick wife. Again, all three stories converge at the end for a very slick and tense finale.
I rarely give short films like this such high scores. However, with this one, the writing was so good and the ending so enjoyable I highly recommend it. Thrilling and enjoyable throughout.
By the way, the dance numbers, though smaller in scale than his trademark choreography, were directed by Busby Berkeley.
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