|Night and Day|
|Directed by||Michael Curtiz|
|Written by||Charles Hoffman|
|Produced by||Arthur Schwartz|
Jack L. Warner (executive producer)
|Cinematography||J. Peverell Marley|
William V. Skall
|Edited by||David Weisbart|
|Music by||Ray Heindorf|
Cole Porter (songs)
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$7,418,000 (worldwide rentals)|
Night and Day is a 1946 Technicolor Warner Bros. biographical and musical film starring Cary Grant, in a fictionalized account of the life of American composer and songwriter Cole Porter.
The movie was directed by Michael Curtiz and produced by Arthur Schwartz, with Jack L. Warner as executive producer. The screenplay was written by Charles Hoffman, Leo Townsend and William Bowers.
The music score by Ray Heindorf and Max Steiner was nominated for an Academy Award. The film features several of the best-known Porter songs, including the title song "Night and Day," "Begin the Beguine," and "My Heart Belongs to Daddy."
Alexis Smith plays Linda Lee Porter, Porter's wife of 35 years. Monty Woolley and Mary Martin appear as themselves.
Jack Warner paid $300,000 for the rights to Cole Porter's best known songs, and viewed the film as a "big-budget extravaganza" that would celebrate Warner Brothers' twenty years in sound films. The scriptwriters knew that the film would need to be fictionalized, because he lacked the "rags to riches" quality common to subjects of biographical films, and was gay. Depictions of homosexuality were prohibited by film industry's Production Code.
Warner paid Grant $100,000 and bought out his contract at Columbia Pictures at a considerably greater sum. Grant and Curtiz clashed often, with much of the fighting over a script Grant viewed as weak, with "lousy characterizations." Much of the script was rewritten at his behest. Grant sometimes refused to act in scenes that he felt were poorly written, and was critical of other aspects of production. He later recalled that Curtiz lost his temper so much that the director sometimes lost his train of thought.
Grant sings several of the songs, which made Night and Day the closest he came to making a musical after the end of his stage career. He was described by his biographer as a "competent though not a very expressive singer."
Production of the film was impeded by a 1945 strike of the Conference of Studio Workers, who represented film set builders.
The film is an almost entirely fictionalized version of the life of Cole Porter from his college days at Yale University, where he is studying law at the encouragement of his grandfather. One of his law professors, Monty Woolley, playing himself, encourages his song-writing.
Porter abandons study of law and Woolley leaves Yale as well. Porter's songwriting is interrupted by French Foreign Legion service in the First World War, in which he is wounded. He musical resumes after the war, and weds Linda, a longtime family friend. Their marriage suffers due to Porter's dedication to his songwriting, which leaves him little time for a personal life.
At the height of his career, after many successes, Porter suffers a serious accident while horseback riding, fracturing both his legs and remaining crippled. Despite many operations he cannot walk without assistance. In the end, he reunites with Linda, who had left him.
In a review upon release of the film, The New York Times called the film "a generally pleasant and musically exciting show." The Times praised the musical numbers and the performances by Grant and Woolley, but noted the straying from historical fact and the thin and conventional scenario the scenarists concocted about the fabulous Mr. Porter." In 2004, at the debut of another film on Porter's life, De-Lovely, the Times called Night and Day "so-bad-it's-almost-good." The newspaper recounted that when Night and Day was being filmed, "Orson Welles cracked: 'What will they use for a climax? The only suspense is: will he or won't he accumulate $10 million?'"
The film was a hit, earning theatrical rentals of $4,990,000 domestically and $2,428,000 in foreign markets.