Tonight Or Never

Melvyn Douglas went from the stage to the screen in this adaptation of a play in which he starred with his wife, Helen Gahagan. Here, Swanson played the Gahagan part in an attempt to halt the downward trend in her popularity. It didn't help. Swanson (at age 33) plays a young opera singer who is making her first major appearance at a Venetian opera house....read more

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Melvyn Douglas went from the stage to the screen in this adaptation of a play in which he starred with his wife, Helen Gahagan. Here, Swanson played the Gahagan part in an attempt to halt the downward trend in her popularity. It didn't help. Swanson (at age 33) plays a young opera singer

who is making her first major appearance at a Venetian opera house. The critics are less than rapt and her teacher-lover, Gottschalk, says that while she has the right vocal technique, she lacks the passion and fire that separates a diva from a singer. While in Venice, Swanson is shadowed by the

handsome Douglas, whom she suspects is a professional gigolo being kept by a marchesa, Skipworth. Swanson wants to know more about Douglas, so she goes to his apartment and makes believe it was done in error. They spend the night together amorously and the following day her voice takes on a new

timbre, the result of an affair that was more or less suggested by Gottschalk, who is sort of engaged to Swanson. Swanson gets a contract with the Metropolitan Opera and breaks off her engagement with the faithful Gottschalk. Swanson throws caution to the wind and chases Douglas, even though he is

spending a great deal of time with Skipworth, who he says is his aunt. At the conclusion, Douglas admits that he has been in Europe trying to scout good talent for the US stage and that the contract with the Metropolitan was arranged by him. Further, Skipworth is, indeed, his aunt. Swanson is

thrilled to learn the truth and renews her singing with vigor, basking in the glow of her new affair with Douglas. The play had been produced by Broadway impresario David Belasco, his final show before his death. Douglas was making his film debut in the role he played on the stage. Gottschalk,

Grieg, Gamble, and Meyer were also featured in the play. This was Douglas' only film for Goldwyn. In a comic role, note Boris Karloff, who showed that he had a sly way with humor. Swanson's film career had been sliding after WHAT A WIDOW and INDISCREET and this movie did nothing to halt that.