July 13, 2008
“One New York Night” is a 1935 comedy/murder mystery in the school of the “Thin Man” series. Lots of suspects, mile-a-minute dialogue, and even a little dog (though this one is the imaginary pet of an escaped lunatic.)
A prominent businessman has been murdered in room 309 of the Hotel Diplomat. Attempting to solve the mystery (and fill the shoes of Nick and Nora Charles) are a visitor from Wyoming (Franchot Tone) and a hotel switchboard operator (Una Merkel). Among the many people with a motive is the Countess Broussiloff. She fought off the businessman’s advances and, in the struggle, lost her diamond bracelet. Said bracelet was a family heirloom of the Sheridan family and was given to her by her fiance, George Sheridan. That’s Charley.
To provide motivation for the Countess to keep her rendezvous with the victim secret, and to recover her bracelet, Charley’s character is a real catch, rich and good-looking. He’s also “old-fashioned”, meaning he expects his bride to be a virgin.
Charley plays this role well and looks great in a tuxedo.
He must have been on loan to MGM from Paramount, but it hardly seems worth it — he’s in the film for exactly three scenes, and approximately four minutes of screen time, mostly fussing about that lost bracelet.
This must have been an odd time for Charles. He’d been fluctuating from playing the lead to playing supporting roles for over four years. This is one of the smallest.
However, after four more films, Columbia signed him and put him on a white horse. He didn’t get off for seventeen years.