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One Hysterical Night (1929)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 6 October 1929 (USA)
The scheming aunt and uncle of William Judd, heir to the family fortune, persuade him to pose as Napoleon at a fancy masquerade ball, but they are actually having him committed to an insane... See full summary »


William James Craft (as William J. Craft)


Reginald Denny (story and scenario), Earle Snell (additional dialogue)




Complete credited cast:
Reginald Denny ... William 'Napoleon' Judd
Nora Lane ... Nurse Josephine
E.J. Ratcliffe E.J. Ratcliffe ... Wellington
Fritz Feld ... Paganini
Slim Summerville ... Robin Hood
Joyzelle Joyner ... Salome (as Joyzelle)
Jules Cowles ... William Tell
Walter Brennan ... Paul Revere
Henry Otto ... Dr. Hayden
Margaret Campbell Margaret Campbell ... Mrs. Bixby
Peter Gawthorne Peter Gawthorne ... Mr. Bixby
D.R.O. Hatswell D.R.O. Hatswell ... Claude Bixby
Rolfe Sedan Rolfe Sedan ... Arthur Bixby
Lloyd Whitlock Lloyd Whitlock ... Attorney Thurston


The scheming aunt and uncle of William Judd, heir to the family fortune, persuade him to pose as Napoleon at a fancy masquerade ball, but they are actually having him committed to an insane asylum. Since all the other inmates/attendees think they are historical figures such as Robin Hood, the Duke of Wellington, Paul Revere, William Tell, Salome, Robinson Crusoe, Sherlock Holmes and others, it takes a while for Judd to separate the wheat from the chaff and prove he is not deranged. His quest becomes more urgent when he falls in love with a nurse named Josephine, who does not think she is Napoleon's "Josephine" but is convinced Judd thinks he is Napoleaon. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


YOU'LL RAVE! YOU'LL ROAR WITH LAFFS! (original poster) See more »


Comedy | Romance








Release Date:

6 October 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bom Na Parte See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Great concept but could have been better paced
15 August 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

This was Reginald Denny's first talking picture and one that he co-wrote as well. It has a great idea - A domineering woman is angry that her two sons will not inherit a relative's three million dollar estate, and that it instead will go to a nephew (Reginald Denny as William Judd). But there is an insanity clause in the will - if Judd is deemed of unsound mind the money goes to her family.

So she cooks up a scheme to make Judd think there are no hard feelings and has her sons ask him to a "fancy dress ball" that is happening that night at one of their friend's homes. They tell Judd that first prize goes to the person who stays in character the best and have Judd dress up as Napoleon. Meanwhile, the scheming aunt goes to "The Home for the Historical" - a sanitarium - lamenting that her nephew believes he is Napoleon, she wants to have him committed, and she will bring him there that night to prove he is insane.

The reason the insane asylum is called "The Home for the Historical" is that all of the inmates believe they are historical characters - Salome, William Tell, Robin Hood, etc. Judd, knowing none of this, shows up at the sanitarium thinking it is a private home and that the inmates are the other party goers. The head doctor is convinced that Judd is insane and Judd's relatives leave believing they are in the money.

How will Judd ever get out of this? Watch and find out. Denny gives a good performance, but the part at the sanitarium with the interaction of the inmates goes on for about 15 minutes more than necessary. This was a film that has a story that would have been too much to stuff into a two reel short and is really to thin to stretch into a feature. Still I think it is worth a look for its original idea and very natural acting considering it is a very early talkie.

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