Night and Day (1946)
The opening titles of Night and Day give fair warning of what is to follow. This film is ‘based on the career of Cole Porter’, from its start at Yale writing rah-rah songs through to his success on Broadway composing some of the 20th Century’s most enduring tunes. And it is the inclusion of these hits that are among the film’s few assets. For if you want to learn about the life of Cole Porter, you best look elsewhere.
Opening in 1914, the film at first appears to be an ode to Yale University as a rambunctious professor is censured for visiting music halls. Also spending plenty of time at the same venues is a student by the name of Cole Porter and in the best tradition of musicals of the time, the two outsiders decide to put on a show. Though its failure is closely followed by WWI, a crippling leg injury and publishers who don’t appreciate his sophisticated word play, Porter never gives up until, aided and abetted by his devoted wife, he eventually becomes the toast of Broadway.
Night and Day doesn’t so much play fast and loose with the facts as completely ignore them altogether. Yet surprisingly the film’s major detraction is Cary Grant. In one of the most atypical performances of his career, Grant seems uncomfortable in the lead role, as if he was all too aware of his miscasting. His resulting awkwardness is matched by the staging of the musical numbers which, apart from a stand-out tap routine by Estelle Sloan, seem clumsy. It is a testament to the songs themselves that they manage to overcome such obstacles.
Monty Woolley was not a professor when Porter was in college but a fellow student.
Cole Porter studied law at Harvard, not Yale.
Though there is some conjecture as to whether Porter served in WWI, most agree that he was not wounded.
'See America First' did not flop because the Lusitania was sunk the same day. The ship went down over 10 months before the play opened.
"You Do Something to Me" was not performed in 'See America First'. It belongs to the later score of 'Fifty Million Frenchmen'.
Rather than playing for pennies in a music store during the 1920’s, Porter spent most of the decade living the high life in France and Italy.
Biopic contains no scene recreations. Only reference of Cole Porter’s contribution to film is a small clip of Roy Rogers’ rendition of “Don’t Fence Me In” from Hollywood Canteen.