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A Night of Adventure

A Night of Adventure(1944)

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teaser A Night of Adventure (1944)

This RKO Radio Pictures programmer was a vehicle for Tom Conway, who came to the studio from MGM to replace his brother, George Sanders, as the lead in the mystery film series featuring "The Falcon." Based on a German stage play by Wilhelm Speyer, adapted by William A. Drake on the heels of his success with the Broadway-to-Hollywood crossover Grand Hotel (1932), A Night of Adventure (1944) casts Conway as attorney Mark Latham, a high-end Manhattan mouthpiece whose estranged wife (Audrey Long, in her film debut) persuades him to defend her lover against a murder charge even as the mob puts out a contract on his own life. RKO had adapted the Speyer/Drake play, a flop that ran for just 13 performances at New York's Selwyn Theater, a decade earlier as A Hat, A Coat, A Glove (1934), starring Ricardo Cortez and Barbara Robbins. (RKO's Mexican partner Ramex would put a Spanish language spin on the story as Todo un caballero in 1947 while in 1957 the NBC anthology series Matinee Theatre adapted the drama for the small screen.) Director Gordon Douglas had got his start as a gag writer for Hal Roach before helming a number of "Our Gang" shorts and handling the second unit for March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934) starring Laurel and Hardy; Gordon's subsequent work as a reliable director-for-hire includes the sci-fi classic Them! (1954), The Detective (1968) with Frank Sinatra, and They Call Me Mr. Tibbs! (1970), the first sequel to Norman Jewison's Academy Award-winning In the Heat of the Night (1967).

By Richard Harland Smith

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