The Night Life of the Gods (1935)

THE NIGHT LIFE OF THE GODS (1935)
Article #754 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-8-2003
Posting Date: 9-5-2003
Directed by Lowell Sherman
Featuring Alan Mowbray, Florine McKinney, Peggy Shannon

An inventor creates a ring that will turn people to stone, and vice versa.

This movie was based on a novel by Thorne Smith, the same man who gave us the novel “Topper”, on which the movie TOPPER is based. That movie was the last time I encountered Alan Mowbray in this series; there he played a butler. Here he has a butler, played by Gilbert Emery. This movie also has William ‘Stage’ Boyd playing a detective; the last time I encountered him was yesterday, when he played a detective in MURDER BY THE CLOCK. Ray Corrigan is on hand, billed as Raymond Benard, and King Baggot (who played Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde once upon a time) is a lobby extra. Actually, I could go on like this for a little while longer to avoid trying to address the movie directly, as I’m not quite sure to what to make of it. In its way, it is as anarchic as HELLZAPOPPIN’, or any Marx Brothers comedy (without the music). It has little plot to speak of; it’s mostly a series of connected setpieces all playing with the concept of people being turned to stone and vice versa. The title refers to the second half of the movie, where our protagonist brings several statues of Greek gods to life, and they (for want of a better phrase) run amuck. Hebe steals cups, Neptune looks for fish and pokes people with his trident, Bacchus gets drunk, Venus tries to get a date…you get the idea. The movie also throws leprechauns into the mix. If it were a bit funnier, I might love it; as it is, it is a strange little question mark in the history of cinema. The butler steals the movie.

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