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Tonight's the Night (1954)

Happy Ever After (original title)
Approved | | Comedy | 19 December 1954 (USA)
The whole village mourns when General O'Leary, owner of a hunting estate in South Ireland, is killed in an accident. His nephew, Jasper O'Leary, takes over the state and soon has aroused ... See full summary »


Mario Zampi


Jack Davies (screenplay), Jack Davies (story) | 3 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Niven ... Jasper O'Leary
Yvonne De Carlo ... Serena McGlusky
Barry Fitzgerald ... Thady O'Heggarty
George Cole ... Terence
A.E. Matthews ... General O'Leary
Noelle Middleton ... Kathy McGlusky
Robert Urquhart Robert Urquhart ... Dr. Michael Flynn
Michael Shepley ... Major McGlusky
Joseph Tomelty ... Dooley
Eddie Byrne ... Lannigan
Jimmy Mageean Jimmy Mageean ... Divarsion
Patrick McAlinney ... O'Connor
Brian O'Higgins Brian O'Higgins ... Milligan
Liam Redmond ... Regan
Patrick Westwood ... Murphy


The whole village mourns when General O'Leary, owner of a hunting estate in South Ireland, is killed in an accident. His nephew, Jasper O'Leary, takes over the state and soon has aroused the displeasure of all, with the exception of Serena McGluskey, as much a schemer as he is a cad. Led by Thady O'Heggarty, the villagers plot to drive Jasper away. They use the occasion of "O'Leary Night", when the ghost of the first O'Leary walks the halls, to create general chaos. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 December 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tonight's the Night See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Also known as Happy Ever After See more »


Major McGlusky: Look here, O'Leary, we *must* get this straight.
Jasper O'Leary: All right. Once and for all, I cannot accept responsibility for the deathbed ramblings of an aged lunatic.
Major McGlusky: Lunatic? General? Sanest man I ever met!
Jasper O'Leary: An 82 year-old man with one eye who tries to jump a 10-foot wall on a 20 year-old horse - - "sane"?
Major McGlusky: Ooh, well, he was mad to try it, but he was *not* insane!
Jasper O'Leary: I'm sorry, I've not lived long enough in Ireland to appreciate the logic of that remark.
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My Heart Is Irish
Written by Michael Carr
Sung over credits by chorus
and in the public bar by Denis Martin (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Mr. Niven's hidden dark side
19 February 2005 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

David Niven is recalled by movie lovers as one of those impeccable, romantic "English" gentlemen (like Ronald Colman, Errol Flynn, Ray Milland, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) Like Colman and Milland he did get the Oscar, and like them it was for an atypical role - not a comic turn as a 1930's version of Hugh Grant, but a person who makes a glaring social error. Niven's military man in "Seperate Tables" is a mild liar (he never had a heroic war record, and never reached the rank he uses at the residential hotel), and he is arrested for exposing himself to a woman in a theater (in Terrence Rattigan's play it's a homosexual offense). In 1957 it was not a usual action for a movie to discuss such behavior. The gentle, humiliated Niven carried it off very nicely, winning the audience's sympathy.

It was not Niven's sole attempt at reaching the dark side. He had done a marvelous job as the fascinating Aaron Burr in "Magnificent Doll" in 1946. There he was playing Burr according to the "official" version of American history, as an ambitious egomaniac we were just lucky to avoid as President. But if one's historic knowledge of Burr is such as to question that viewpoint the film's impact is spoiled.

Another film that shows Niven at his "worst" best side is this forgotten comedy. An elderly Irish landowner is killed in a fox hunt, and his nephew (Niven) is found to take over the estate. The problem is that whereas the dead laird was a fine example of noblesse oblige his nephew is a sophisticated urbanite who sees the estate as something to sell and pocket the thousands of pounds. His announcement at the annual hunt ball that it is the last is a wonderful moment of total shock for the locals. As Niven has a heart condition, the locals start thinking of causing a fatal shock to kill him. Unfortunately they can't get it into their heads to coordinate their efforts. The last thirty minutes is a marvel of comic pandemonium. One only wishes that the film was shown more frequently - it was seen by this viewer on television in 1966.

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