Liberty – 1930
Miss Gish Finds Her Voice
In a Lovely Picture with a Banal Title (By Kate Cameron)
One Romantic Night, Ferenc Molnar’s play – The Swan under another title – and what a banal one – is, nevertheless, just as charming on the screen as it was on the stage. Lillian Gish makes her audible debut in One Romantic Night and a happier medium could not have been chosen for her.
She is lovely as the unsophisticated princess and her voice records harmoniously. Her Acting is much more restrained here than it ever was in the pure pantomime of the silent pictures and she has learned to move with greater grace. Gone are little jerky movements that were so irritating to the onlooker. She makes Princess Alexandra a real flesh-and-blood person.
Paul Stein, Jr. directed the picture for United Artists in the same spirit in which the stage play was produced. Molnar’s light touch is preserved.
Mr. Stein has selected an excellent cast with one exception.
Rod La Rocque as Prince Albert is that exception. He is good pictorially, but his voice destroys the illusion he ought to give of a royal personage.
Conrad Nagel as the tutor, Dr. Nicholas Haller, carries off his one big scene very well, and both he and Miss Gish give a touching performance to the farewell scene.
O.P. Heggie as the benevolent Father Benedict, is fine throughout, and Marie Dressler gives an amusing but slightly overdrawn characterization of Princess Beatrice, the matrimonial-scheming mamma.
There is no theme song for the picture and none is needed. Hugo Riesenfeld has arranged some charming dance music, however, for the ballroom scenes.
It is a lovely romantic picture with just enough whimsicality in it to make it entirely delightful.
“THE SWAN” glides out upon the waters of the photoplay once more, this time wired for sound! Lillian Gish as the princess in the talkie version of Molnar’s famous play. No longer a beaten child, but a very modern young lady with pep and ideas!
Photoplay Magazine for March, 1930