Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tonight or Never: (1931)

"Tonight or Never" (1931) Swanson Sings Tosca!!
Directed By: Mervyn LeRoy
Starring: Gloria Swanson, Melvyn Douglas and Boris Karloff

Noteworthy Inforamtion:

~ Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive - In cooperation with The Mary Pickford Company
~ Chanel of Paris designed the gowns worn by Gloria Swanson


The movie is set in the early 1930's Venice at the famous Teatro Felice where the opera star Nella Vago (Swanson) is performing lead in "Tosca" to a full theatre. Jim Fletcher was in attendance (Douglas) whom was in awe of the diva, Nella's performance. Nella we learn after being very drained from her live perforamnce does a radio telecast message back to her people in Budapest along with her fiance Count Albert von Gronac (Warburton Gamble). The count lets known to the radio listeners that he discovered Nella four years prior whom was a no body and had the name Nella Margot which makes her leave the room due to this sharing of her personal information. Hotel Venezia where Nella is staying she finds that her instructor is giving her a hard time about landing herself at the Metropolitan Opera and not until then will she be the big opera diva she thinks she is.

They catch Jim outside Nella's hotel window which he has been doing apparently quite often by the cigarettes he is leaving on the street. Nella notices that Jim is a dashing man and likes the idea he is going there for her. Marchesa Bianca San Giovanni (Alison Skipworth) is an older woman whom was similar to Nella in her day and is keeping Jim by her side. This information is discovered by Nella's vocal instructor and also states that this Jim is nothing than a giggalo being paid to keep the Marchesa company to the opera and elsewhere. They all leave to go home since Nella is restless while sleeping and does not encounter Jim again. In all places Nella finda out that the Matchesa along with Jim are on the train as well.this makes the young opera singer happy and sad. Nella knows that it is great to have Jim near her again though he is keeping company with another. Nella overhears the Marchesa telling Jim that the young opera singer is missing the emotions of a true opera star which stuns her. Nella thinks, "does all artists have loves?" While at home in Budapest, Nora learns that many other fellow up and coming opera singers are getting signed to go to America where she wants. Her career she feels a bit frustrated.

    At the same time Nella hears that Jim is suppose to be staying at a local hotel with the Marchesa whom people say is his aunt, which Nella and her staff do not believe a second! At the Hotel Regent where the Marchesa and Jim are staying they are dining over a fine meal and Nella decided to put on her brand new white gown and italian lingere. Nella then visits Jim in his suite pretending that she was attending a ball of a freind's in s uite above to only find that they are not present. During this time Nella tries to find a way to linger in the hotel suite of Jim's and the flirations between both can not be denied! While talking Jim devolges his love for Nella and says if she stays for another three minutes in his suite in his words, "tonight or never..." he will take her in his arms and she will be all his not the Count's. Nella later gets great news of a contract to America!! Nella stayed out all night and gave her emerald necklace to him while he was sleeping and then went to do her performance at the theatre. At the end Nella decides to ignore and decline the invitation to America only to find out that Jim is the man that is looking to make the engagement with her there. Jim simply did not want Nella to know whom he was and for people to give him preferential treatment since he is the person that helps land and make careers in the opera world!

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