A Night of Magic

I’ve reviewed a few B-musicals here on the blog over the last few months.  So far they’ve been pretty good.  They’re not as lavish as the films that come to mind when we think of the classic movie musicals, but they’ve been enjoyable.  Well, all good things must come to an end.  Of course, it should probably be made clear that it would be generous to call today’s film, 1944’s “A Night of Magic,” a B-musical.  This is more like a Z-musical.

I admit, I got suckered in by an interesting sounding premise.  A guy named Reggie (Robert Griffith) receives a sarcophagus from his uncle in Egypt.  Rather than finding a crusty old mummy inside, he finds a beautiful woman, Princess Raviola (Marian Olive), who is very much alive and ready for a night on the town.  Call me a simple-minded idiot, but I kept thinking that Princess Raviola should be the name of a character in commercials for Spagheti-O’s.

The next morning, Reggie is visited by his future brother-in-law (Billy ‘uke’ Scott).  He drops by to play a new song he’s written for Reggie, and that kind of sets the tone of the rest of the movie.  The majority of the film, from here on out, are various less than spectacular musical numbers.  Reggie takes the princess to get all fancied up…modern dress, hair, etc.  Later, Reggie and Raviola (snicker…sorry) visit a club…so we have a bunch of musical numbers.

Now, spending the evening hitting the clubs with a three thousand-year-old Egyptian hottie never seems to register as a bad-idea for the about-to-be-married Reggie.  In fact, after a while he declares that he is canceling his engagement and now wishes to be be engaged to Raviola.  Sounds like a good opportunity for some angry jilted fiance action…but no.  Instead, Reggie and Raviola seem to go back in time so Reggie can see that the night life in ancient Egypt was pretty swingin’ too.  Of course, more musical numbers follow.

The initial premise is a formula we continue to see in films today.  Look at a movie like “Splash” or “Date with an Angel,” which we recently reviewed here…a guy falls in love with a mysterious dream girl.  Instead of being a mermaid or an angel, she’s an ancient egyptian princess.  It has potential.  But this movie isn’t about the story, it’s basically a musical review…and a weak one at that.  The actors and stilted and uncomfortable in front of the camera, the songs are unmemorable and I’ve seen more together choreography in elementary school talent shows.

Unfortunately, “A Night of Magic” isn’t even an interesting curiosity.  It has one redeeming quality…it’s only 53 minutes long.

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