Even with the first ever winner of the Big 5 Academy Awards, there was one film going into the ceremony that had even more nominations than the future history maker. That film was One Night of Love, starring Grace Moore in a picture that seemed, by the marketing for it, to be self-determined to make Moore a massive star because of it. Did it succeed? Well, at the time, Moore was very popular in both opera and film circles, and she did field an Oscar nom for Best Actress for this, so it might’ve. I, however, hadn’t heard of Moore before this, so the marketing for One Night of Love seemed even more extraneous before I sat down to watch it. Nevertheless, the charms of this 1930s romantic comedy were effective, if all too apparent, and I even found myself enjoying the film at times… if only partly.
Moore is Mary, a young singer wanting to break into the world of opera by participating in a radio contest, the winner of which gets to be the student of renowned vocal trainer Giulio Monteverdi. She doesn’t make the cut, but tells her family she is moving to Italy anyway in her attempts to make it. There, after getting a job singing in a cafe, she is noticed by none other than Monteverdi himself, who takes her under his wing with one major caveat: there is to be no romance between them, Monteverdi having released his previous student after having an affair with her. Of course, being a 1930s romantic comedy, you know where this is headed, and I almost don’t even need to put a spoiler warning for it; it’s that obvious. So, with that said, this ends up being all about the journey, how the film ends up getting to its ending, and in that, this is a modest success; I can see why it was so well received upon its release. I will say, though, that thanks to the passage of time, it becomes readily apparent that there is very little (aside from the obvious differences in plot) to this film that makes it stand out from the rest of the pack; the pack being romantic comedies of the decade, of which there are plenty. Apparently, this film innovated a different type of sound recording for the music in the film, which won it a technical achievement award at the Oscars along with the overall award for Sound Recording, but it didn’t matter all that much to me; the film still overall sounded like your typical musical, though that doesn’t mean the music was unpleasant to listen to. Even with that, the film did feel like it was 10 or 20 minutes too long, which considering the short running time that it is says a little something extra as well about the film’s overstaying its welcome, which left me with a sour taste in my mouth after the film did finally end.
There’s a small part of me that wants to take offense to watching essentially identical films one after another, with the only differences being the actual plots themselves, and that kind of thinking is only exacerbated by films like One Night of Love, which do nothing to feel separate from all the other films just like it. In all fairness, however, this isn’t a bad film; it’s just an exceedingly redundant one against the backdrop of so many like films. Taken on its own, this gets the job done (I guess), but that’s not what I expect out of the best picture of the year. If you do watch this, do so singularly, and not along with a slew of fraternal twin pictures that this decade’s Best Picture fields seem to be almost entirely comprised of. Maybe if you do so, you’ll get more out of this than I did.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10