ONE OF THESE THINGS IS SORT OF LIKE THE OTHER: “NIGHT SONG” and “VERTIGO”

NIGHT SONG ( POSTER ) VERTIGO ( POSTER )

Do you know the movie: “NIGHT SONG”? You ought to check it out…it’s a very good romantic drama featuring Dana Andrews and Merle Oberon. He’s a blind pianist whom Merle Oberon falls in love with. In order to win him over, she pretends to be blind as well. Our two leads are very good. Dana is an angry blind guy and Merle is in love with him. A match made in movie heaven. They also speak the same language: music and it plays out pretty interestingly. Helping things along in support is Ethel Barrymore and Hoagey Carmichael who have wonderful chemistry with each other. As I was watching it, another movie was tickling the back of my cinematic braincells. “VERTIGO.”

TWISTS and SPOILERS

NIGHT SONG ( III ) KIM NOVAK ( IV )

I’m wracking my brains trying to think of other movies with similar themes ( besides “Batman” or “Superman” ) that deal with dual identities. “Two-Faced Woman” with Garbo? The parallel between what John Cromwell does with “Night Song” and what Hitchcock does with “Vertigo” are interesting to ponder. One director lets us witness the identity ruse from the beginning, and the other does not. I like Hitchcock’s way because at the very least, it does ensure at least one more viewing of the movie to see what might’ve been hiding in plain sight. Cromwell uses a linear, straight-forward approach. But he also throws in a twist. Once our hero can see, well, alright, alright…I don’t really want to spoil things for you.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Both Oberon and Novak play dual roles in these movies: Oberon is Catherine Mallory playing Mary Willey. And Novak is Judy Barton and ‘doppelganger’ Madeleine Elster. I’m hoping the tale of the tape proves my point:
NIGHT SONG ( IV )                               NOVAK in %22VERTIGO%22

* Catherine hides her identity for music                     *  Judy hides her identity for money

* Catherine starts off high society and brings it     * Judy plays the elegant, aloof blonde down a notch to the warmer, natural Mary            Madeleine far from her real brunette self

* Catherine makes herself over to help Dan’s          *  Judy allows herself to be made over music and quickly grows to love him                     by two men for their own needs

* Catherine has at least two angels looking        * Judy must go it alone; after all…she is over her shoulder ( Hoagey & Ethel )                    an accessory to murder

JAMES STEWART ( %22VERTIGO%22   - II)  NIGHT SONG ( I )

Now you’d think it’d be a win-win situation for the boys, Stewart and Andrews. After all, they’re going to get The Girl; their girl. – – – trust and manipulation be damned. When Dan finds out he’s been duped, a slew of emotions run across his face.  But Scottie is a different kettle of fish. He takes the “fall” very hard.

NIGHT SONG ( II ) KIM NOVAK ( IV )

But I say to him, “Scottie! Isn’t a dream better to have, than NOT have?” What matters more, what a person does or who a person is? Let me take my CineMaven and Theresa identities off to prepare for next week’s post: how Hitchcock and Ford are sort of two peas in a pod.

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One thought on “ONE OF THESE THINGS IS SORT OF LIKE THE OTHER: “NIGHT SONG” and “VERTIGO”

  1. Pingback: ETHEL BARRYMORE: “NIGHT SONG” | CineMaven's: ESSAYS from the COUCH

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