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A young orphan girl, courted by an unpleasant older wealthy man who has a hold over her adoptive mother, falls in love with a young stranger at a party. Odd noises begin to be heard as a group of bootleggers clandestinely try to get away with their hidden loot. One of them is killed and the young man is suspected of being the killer.Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ONE EXCITING NIGHT is an odd film directed by D.W. Griffith. It stars Carol Dempster and Henry Hull. The film is unusual for Griffith because it's a comic mystery. Although the film is too long, it's entertaining.
Dempster is an unknowing heiress who is always seeking the love of her mother. But the woman is not her mother. Dempster is being pawned off on an older suitor who is after her estate. At a party she meets and falls for Hull, but then odd happenings begin and there is a murder.
The intricate plot is probably defeated by the long running time, but this film is underrated possibly because it lacks major stars. Yet Henry Hull is an appealing leading man here, and Carol Dempster is a surprise.
A minor actress in the teens, Dempster was elevated to stardom in the 20s by Griffith after she became his mistress. Although Dempster has historically been regarded as a dud, she's quite good here as the awkward heroine, Agnes Harrington. She has an angular beauty that was slightly out of step with the era's ideals, but in the right role, Dempster was a good actress. In Griffith's THE SORROWS OF Satan and ISN'T LIFE WONDFERUL, Dempster turns in excellent performances. She retired from films before talkies came in and never looked back.
Also good are Margaret Dale as the "mother," Porter Strong as Romeo, Morgan Wallace as Rockmaine, and Charles Emmett Mack as the "guest."
Filming locations are quite good.
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