The Midnight Girl (February 15, 1925)
Released on February 15, 1925: Bela Lugosi is a millionaire patron of the opera who loves the girls even more than opera, and chases the beautiful young singer that his son loves.
Directed by Wilfred Noy
Written by Jean Conover, Garrett Ford and Wilfred Noy.
The Actors: Lila Lee (Anna Meridoff), Gareth Hughes (Don Harmon), Dolores Cassinelli (Nina), Charlotte Walker (Mrs. Schuyler), Bela Lugosi (Nicholas Harmon), Ruby Blaine (Natalie Schuyler), John D. Walsh (Victor Delski, music tutor), William Harvey (Nifty Louis), Sidney Paxton (Joe), Signor N. Salerno (theater manager), Flora Finch (landlady).
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1925 Tough Guy
Okay, this is an early motion picture about the drama of a millionaire father girl-chaser who desires to have the same young girl that his son has fallen in love with, but I was most shocked at the tough son in one scene. Screen legend Bela Lugosi is millionaire Nicholas Harmon who funds the opera as long as his mistress, played by Dolores Cassinelli is the lead singer. But alas, Dolores is getting older, and her voice is not what it once was, so she is sent to the Boston opera and Lugosi must find another pretty girl to sponsor. On one movie card he exclaims that selecting a new sweetheart is almost as difficult as picking out a new hat . . . what a guy! He has a fight with his son, played by Gareth Hughes, and the boy goes out to build a life of his own, without daddy's millions behind him. He gets a job in a nightclub as the band leader, and Lila Lee, the Midnight Girl, a recent immigrant from Russia is the headline singer/dancer who always appears at the stroke of midnight. When papa visits the club and spots Lila Lee, he immediately falls in lust with her and tries to make her the next opera star . . . and his mistress. But his son has already fallen in love with her, after rescuing her and her elderly music teacher from a local tough guy bully. And here is the spot that fascinated me, as a student of times past. While Bell Lugosi and Lila Lee and Gareth Hughes are standing together in the nightclub together the tough guy, still having a grudge against the son for stopping him from bullying the old music teacher, shoots the son in the arm, and he falls to the floor. When daddy helps him to his feet, he holds his arm with a bullet in it, and says he's just fine, he will go to his room now. And nothing more is said about the incident . . . he goes to his room and over the next few days recovers from his gunshot wound. Now, I must admit that I like to keep as far away from doctors and hospitals as I can, and like many Americans do not have good medical insurance coverage, but I am certain that if I got shot in the arm the first thing I would do is seek medical help. But not this fellow . . . just a few days rest at his apartment and he is good to go. Wow. I am impressed. Who will get the love and affection of young immigrant girl Lila Lee . . . father or son? And what about the gold-digging girl and her mother who want to get into the Harmon family and have been chasing the son? And the old opera singer and mistress of Bela Lugosi . . . will she go away and leave him alone, or will she have a part in the final resolution? Ahhh, at the stroke of midnight one evening another gunshot will ring out and someone will drop to the floor, and it will NOT be who you might think. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn covered with warm melted butter and enjoy the show.
Bela Lugosi in 1925
Bela Lugosi and Dolores Cassinelli
Bela Lugosi in The Midnight Girl
Bela Lugosi sees Dolores Cassinellli on the floor
Bela Lugosi in the nightclub watches the Midnight Girl perform
Dolores Cassinelli as the long time opera star
Gareth Hughs and Bela Lugosi
Gareth Hughes and Ruby Blaine at the opera
Gareth Hughes as Don Harmon in The Midnight Girl
John D. Walsh playing his violin in the street under the window of Gareth Hughes
Lila Lee and John D. Walsh in the ship approaching New York harbor
Lila Lee as Anna
Ruby Blaine and Charlotte Walker
Ruby Blaine in The Midnight Girl
William Harvey as Nifty Louis, the bully