Robert Wise had a definite talent for certain types of movies, and not just blockbuster musicals, but little comedies like This Could Be the Night weren't really his forte. Not that Night is a terrible movie or that the director's work is by any means bad. It's just that Night is the kind of featherweight trifle that requires the director be totally in sync with the material. This is especially true of Night because the material itself is simply not very good. Oh, it works, in that it gets from A to B to C without too many clunks. But Isobel Lennart's screenplay is low on laughs and even lower on originality; it struggles to have charm, especially where its supposedly-raffish characters are concerned, but "struggle" and "charm" just don't go together. Wise keeps things moving along smoothly but with no excitement and without being able to inject the missing charm. Jean Simmons provides a bit of charm, and in his own way so does Paul Douglas -- but it's not enough. Anthony Franciosa and Simmons have a nice chemistry and the two look mighty good, so that helps. And the supporting cast is a plus, especially wonderful Julie Wilson letting her pipes loose on several songs. So it's an adequate, painless way to pass the time; one just wishes it were something a little more special.
by Craig Butler review