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Film / One Night of Love

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One Night of Love is a 1934 film directed by Victor Schertzinger, starring Grace Moore.

Mary Barrett is an aspiring opera singer. After losing a radio talent contest, she decides she's going to be an opera singer no matter what, and takes off to Italy. She struggles to find work and eventually settles for a job in a cheap cantina—where she is noticed by Giulio Monteverdi, a famous vocal coach. When Giulio barges into her dressing room and demands that she move in with him, Mary gets the wrong idea. Giulio corrects her, saying that he is not interested in any romance, and in fact had to fire his last protege when romance got in the way of her singing. No, Giulio wants Mary to live with him because she has the potential to be a great soprano voice, and she must move in to his house so he can devote himself full-time to developing her talent.

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Naturally, romantic sparks fly.

While many of the Hollywood songbirds of the day—Jeanette MacDonald, Deanna Durbin, etc—were merely actresses who could sing, Grace Moore was a legit opera star who made her debut at the New York Metropolitan long before she ever appeared in a movie.


Tropes:

  • And Starring: If the Billed Above the Title isn't enough, the credits end with "Miss Moore as Mary."
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Giulio spends the whole movie saying that you shouldn't mix work and romance, but Mary's refusal to go onstage as Carmen leads him to most reluctantly admit that he loved her since he first saw her.
  • Billed Above the Title: The opening title card reads "Miss Grace Moore in 'One Night of Love'".
  • Captain Obvious: Mary tells her parents that she's going to go to Italy to try and make it in opera. Her shocked mother blurts "That place is full of Italians!"
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  • Control Freak: Giulio, much to Mary's irritation. He demands and gets full control of her life while training her to be an opera star, right down to who she sees and what she eats. One scene has Mary getting annoyed when Giulio orders a sumptuous steak dinner at a fancy restaurant but only lets Mary have the peach Melba.
  • Fanservice: When Giulio barges into Mary's dressing room, determined to sign her up as a pupil, she's wearing only a slip. Giulio casts his Male Gaze on Mary's shapely form and is very appreciative.
    "I always wanted to see a Carmen who weighed less than a bull."
  • Have a Gay Old Time: "When a man makes love to his pupil, he becomes the pupil."
  • High-Class Glass: Galuppi, Mary's agent, wears one of these.
  • Left the Background Music On: Grace Moore's soaring aria plays over the opening title card and credits. Then the movie starts and it's revealed to be Mary, singing on the radio.
  • The Musical: Grace Moore sings a lot of opera songs.
  • Music Stories: A young ingenue working to become a big opera star.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The title is completely random; there is no "one night of love."
  • Produce Pelting: A rather unusual variation of this, as Mary, who is in full rebellion mode against controlling Giulio, does this to her own picture on an advertisement for her opera performance.
  • Romantic False Lead: Handsome millionaire Bill Houston (Lyle Talbot), who is desperately in love with Mary, but has been placed firmly in the friend zone. Mary has a habit of going out with Bill to make Giulio jealous.
  • Time Passes Montage: Clips of various trains and various playbills demonstrating Mary's career as she tours Europe.
  • Video Credits: Before the movie starts, a style that was much in vogue in Hollywood of the 1930s.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: After moving in with Galuppi Mary spends weeks on end doing various exercises meant to strengthen her diaphragm and increase her lung capacity. Six weeks of calisthenics without singing a single note leads Mary to complain that she wants to be an opera singer, not a boxer.
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