The Law of Contact

A Night of Magic (1944)

A Night of Magic

Released in 1944: A man inherits a mummy from Egypt who comes to life and becomes his wife in this musical revue from 1944 London.

Directed by Herbert Wynne

The Actors: Robert Griffith (Reggie), Marian Olive (Princess Raviola), Dot Delavaine (performer), Gerald Pring (Wilkins, Reggie's manservant), Billy 'Uke' Scott (Billy, Reggie's future brother-in-law), Elsa Tee (Paula, Reggie's finace), Edith Trent (Madam), Vera Bradley (singer), The Gordon Ray Girls (Vera Bradley dancers)


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Okay, so the biggest star in this musical movie is Gerald Pring, the manservant. None of the other characters have acted in anything else that you might have seen. All beginners as actors, and mostly never again to be seen. British theater performers from 1944 who sang, danced, and performed for local audiences in London. They would have passed into oblivion, and indeed, after watching this film some think that they should have passed into oblivion. But these were performers from 1944 London who gave just as much of themselves as their more famous counterparts, and never got that 'lucky break' that would propel them into stardom and eternal fame. Ahhh, but because of this film, they will have eternal fame, because it has survived until the digital age, where it will be saved and preserved by many. What kind of musical acts would you have seen if you had gone to one of the night clubs of London in 1944? These acts, as shown in this surviving film.

The plot of this film is thin, but good enough to hobble together several musical acts from local night spots, for their 'fifteen minutes of fame' on the big screen. Reggie comes home drunk one night, and his manservant Wilkins shows him the sarcophagus holding a three thousand year old mummy that Reggie inherited from his uncle. When he opens the lid, he discovers a live, young princess inside who promises to be his in any way that he likes. Reggie dumps his fiance and pledges himself to Princess Raviola . . . just hearing her name kinda makes me hungry, eh?

Anyway, for the rest of the film Reggie and Princess Raviola tour the night spots of London enjoying the music and dance, and then the Princess takes Reggie back in time to ancient Egypt where she shows him how the ancient Egyptians got their groove on. Finally Reggie wakes up on the couch, and we are to believe that he has dreamed the entire thing. Not the edge-of-your-seat kind of movie, but a pleasant and historical peek at the kind of acts that proliferated on the night scene of London in 1944. Well worth an hour of your time and a bowl of hot buttered white kernel popcorn.