Based on Olympia, a 1928 Ferenc Molnar stage soufflé, His Glorious Night has gone down in history as having more or less single-handedly caused the downfall of silent-screen matinee idol John Gilbert, whose ardent declarations of "I love you, I love you" to an overly inert Catherine Dale Owen were parodied twenty-odd years later in MGM's otherwise highly apocryphal Singing in the Rain (1952). Owen, from the Broadway stage, plays Princess Orsolini, who refuses an arranged marriage in favor of dallying with Kovacs (Gilbert), a dashing cavalry officer. But on the advice of her mother (stage luminary Nance O'Neil), the princess reluctantly informs Kovacs that she cannot love the offspring of a peasant. In revenge, the latter indulges in a bit of blackmail, but true love wins out in the end -- to the energetic strains of Franz Von Suppé's "Light Cavalry Overture". Rumors to the contrary, the problem was not with Gilbert's voice but with screenwriter Willard Mack's overly florid dialogue, which might have been fine as subtitles but sounded downright embarrassing to audiences when spoken by a cast suffering from the stilted direction of a microphone-conscious Lionel Barrymore. His Glorious Night was rather more successful in three foreign-language versions: Olimpia featuring Maria Alba and José Crespo, Olympia with Nora Gregor and Theo Schall, and Si L'empereur Savait Ça featuring Françoise Rosay and André Luguet. The story was remade by director Michael Curtiz in 1960 as A Breath of Scandal starring Sophia Loren and John Gavin.
by Hans J. Wollstein synopsis