Tonight's the Night (1954) Poster

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Great little Movie
artzau12 November 2001
David Niven and Yvonne de Carlo. Wow. Add to that, the list of Irish character actors, headed by none other than Barry Fitzgerald himself, toss in a ghost story, a bit of romance and a plot to do in the heir, Niven and you got a great 50's comedy. Lots of wacky entanglements with the lovely Yvonne remarking about the ne'er do well, heir apparent, Niven, "He's a cad." Great escapism and nothing here to take too seriously. Alas, no video, no DVD, so watch for it on the late show where it pops up from time to time.
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Wonderful fun film!
norise6 March 2003
Really love this movie. David Niven just sparkles and has some of the best lines of his illustrious career, especially the ending one. Supporting cast is superlative too. Everyone really seemed to enjoy making the movie. In addition the perfect song to set the mood. Please, someone put it one DVD or VHS.
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Froth?...yes. But definitely a worthy watch.
angryangus29 April 2010
Has to be said that this is a wonderful little farce which pushes all the right buttons. Some great Irish accents and some dodgy 'oirish' accents.

Lots of familiar Irish actors who regularly appeared in British films during the 40's & 50's are on show. Some of the comedy pieces are very funny indeed.

For me though, George Cole as the put-upon, hyper-nervous cellar-boy Terence, whose comedic timing allows him to steal every scene he's in, is the standout amongst a very talented cast. I think Bernard Cribbins must have studied this performance for his 60's comedy film appearances.

The lovely Irish-born actress, Noelle Middleton, makes a rare screen showing. The following year she appeared with David Niven again, in the excellent Carrington V.C, for which she received a BAFTA Best Actress nomination.

A 'slow to start' film that in the end seems to finish too quickly.

All in all, a little gem, so it is!
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Mr. Niven's hidden dark side
theowinthrop19 February 2005
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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delightful, little-seen flick
rupie23 May 2014
I have to agree with the consensus here that this a comic gem of its type. In its depiction of Irish country life it reminded me a lot of "The Quiet Man," right down to Barry Fitzgerald playing essentially the same character as in that flick, though its production values are not as high and it does not achieve the exalted rank John Ford attained with that movie. Still it's a sparkling comedy with a lot of cracklingly excellent dialogue. The viewer who commented that Niven shows his "dark side" is a bit off the mark, as this is hardly a movie about character development and Niven's character is basically a cartoon, very reminiscent of his Phileas Fogg in "Around the World in 80 Days." He may be nasty but it's hard to dislike him entirely. Yvonne deCarlo does excellent work here. She's great with accents; she's as convincing as an Irish woman here as she was as an Algerian in "The Captain's Paradise." Though the movie is not an Ealing Studios production, it has all the hallmarks of the best of that great studio's comedies in the post-WWII period. Be sure to catch this if you get the chance (thanks, TCM!).
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Happily Ever After.
morrison-dylan-fan13 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Taking a look at lead actress Yvonne De Carlo's IMDb page whilst searching round for titles to view for an upcoming poll on IMDb's Classic Film board for the best titles of 1954,I was delighted to find out that De Carlo had made a Comedy that year,which led to me getting ready to find out how happy things could be.

The plot:

Since having placed him at the centre of their lives,the towns folk of a small Irish village are saddened to witness wealthy 82 year old landowner General O'Leary die on his death bed.One of the main things that the residences instantly start to miss about O'Leary,is that thanks to his old age,he was more than happy to buy everyone a drink,and to also let anyone go on his hunting estate for free.

With news of O'Leary's death spreading across the pond,O'Leary's nephew Jasper decides to leave England behind,and head straight for Ireland.Revealing himself to be much more aware then the General,Jasper announces to the towns folk that he plans to collect all of the debts which the General 'forgot' to pick up from the townsfolk.Feeling terrified about Jasper attempting to stop 'the good old days' the residences decide that the only way they can keep things going,is if they kill jasper.

View on the film:

Despite being filmed in England instead of the Ireland in which it is based in,director Mario Zampi and cinematographer Stanley Pavey give the film a warm,acrylic appearance,which gives the title a delightful slow- burn country atmosphere,and also acts as a perfect isolated location for some unexpected 'ghostly' events which invade the close-knitted town.

Keeping Jasper limited to a rough sketch so as to make him a boo-hiss figure,the screenplay by Jack Davies, Michael Pertwee and L.A.G. Strong reveal the dislike that the residences have for Jasper by superbly combining folk-style sharp one liners with tremendously done slap-stick set pieces,which go from a wire trap completely back firing,to a 'ghost' rising from the grave far too soon.

Whilst he is placed on the side-lines, David Niven gives a great,smirk- heavy performance as the wicked Jasper,as the beautiful Yvonne De Carlo gives the film a graceful note in her performance as Serena McGlusky,with De Carlo showing McGlusky to be in search of her happy ending with Jasper,whilst the towns people search for their happy ending,of Jasper.
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Good Comedy Never Changes
chloemichelecm19 March 2019
I saw this movie with my family when it came out in 1954. I was 10 yrs old & laughed & cheered with everyone else in the theatre. The next day I described the movie almost scene by scene for my school bus driver who roared with laughter along with me. I have never written an IMDB review before, & this really isn't a review, just memories of the joy a really good comedy could give people. My dad, a bartender, told his customers about this movie, & they laughed & laughed as well. Seeing it again on TCM two days ago, I appreciated the script, the great Irish actors, Niven & DeCarlo giving great performances, but mostly the memory of seeing this comedy & the joy of telling people about it & enjoying it all over again as we did when this movie first came out.

Thanks for letting me share this with you.
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