16 user 7 critic

Lady for a Night (1942)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance, Thriller | 5 January 1942 (USA)
Gambling boat operator Jenny Blake throws over her gambler beau Jack Morgan in order to marry into high society.


Leigh Jason


Isabel Dawn (screen play), Boyce DeGaw (screen play) (as Boyce Degaw) | 1 more credit »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Blondell ... Jenny Blake
John Wayne ... Jackson Morgan
Philip Merivale ... Stephen Alderson
Blanche Yurka ... Julia Alderson
Ray Middleton ... Alan Alderson
Edith Barrett ... Katherine Alderson
Leonid Kinskey ... Boris
Hattie Noel Hattie Noel ... Chloe
Montagu Love ... Judge
Carmel Myers ... Mrs. Dickson
Dorothy Burgess ... Flo
Guy Usher Guy Usher ... Governor
Ivan Miller Ivan Miller ... Mayor Dickson
Patricia Knox ... Mabel
Lew Payton Lew Payton ... Napoleon
Learn more

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Gambling boat operator Jenny Blake throws over her gambler beau Jack Morgan in order to marry into high society. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


ANOTHER GREAT HEROINE - Remember JEZEBEL?...SCARLETT O'HARA?...Jenny Blake is another impulsive lass from the South who defied social conventions to satisfy her burning ambitions (original poster) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film inspired the name of one of the most famous World War 2 bombers, the B-17 "Memphis Belle", one of the first to complete a full combat tour of 25 missions against targets in Nazi Germany in May 1943. The aircraft was the namesake of pilot Captain Robert K. Morgan's sweetheart, Margaret Polk, a resident of Memphis, Tennessee. Morgan originally intended to call the B-17, Little One, after his pet name for her, but after Morgan and his co-pilot, Jim Verinis, saw this movie 'Lady for a Night', in which the leading character owns a riverboat named the Memphis Belle, he proposed that name to his crew.After their combat service the "Belle" and her crew were sent home on highly successful war bond tour. The "Belle" and her crew were also featured in an award winning 1944 documentary by William Wyler. See more »

Crazy Credits

Underneath the credits, there is some footage of extras dancing in front of the Alderson family's house. See more »


Up in a Balloon
Written by Henry B. Farnie (1868)
Special Lyrics by Sol Meyer
Sung by Joan Blondell, a quartet and chorus on the Memphis Belle
Whistled by John Wayne
Played as backgroung music often
See more »

User Reviews

A forgettable piece of 'drama and song' style entertainment that is average in almost every way
9 November 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Jenny Blake is the owner of a river boat for gambling, dancing, drinking and women – suffice to say that she is not really accepted into polite society in the way she always dreamed of being. So when she is voted the Queen of the Mardi Gras, Jenny is overjoyed, only to be upset when she learns that her business partner Jack Morgan helped her by rigging the whole contest. So whenever drunken plantation owner Alan Alderson gets into serious debt with the gambling boat Jenny proposes to wipe out the debts in return for his hand in marriage and the fast track into high class society. However, not all those in that circle are that happy with her sudden rise above her station, especially Aunt Julia who is determined to get rid of her by any means necessary.

I cannot remember why I decided to tape this film and, now that I've watched it I still have no idea – although I'm sure it was down to some sort of obsessive compulsion than any great attraction of the film! Anyway, the plot is a simple one of social climbing where Jenny tries to get away from her own level only to find that those above her don't want her to climb. You pretty much know where it is going from the first 20 minutes, although the plot still manages to be unlikely as well as predictable. It is nothing special but it isn't awful or annoying – it is just rather bland. The drama side is plodding and obvious, while the comedy is laugh free and relies more on energy than anything else. The couple of songs act well as distraction and filler but they are only OK. These produce a film that just looks to keep you happy for about 90 minutes but not do anything special during that time or have any impact past the end credits.

The characters are very simply painted in the script and are simply delivered by the cast. Blondell is OK but she is hardly 'trash' is she and we never doubt what will happen to her ideals by the end. Wayne is a secondary character who's only purpose is to be a decent man who turns up every 10 minutes to help Blondell in some way. The support cast of Aldersons are very much join the dots and the actors are only average. There are a large amount of black characters, with two main ones in comedy roles – modern audiences may find them hard to watch because they are ethnic stereotypes that are overplayed for comedic effect. At first I was a bit taken aback by this (although I know it is of its time) but then I thought about modern movies that do the same thing (albeit with a cooler, hip hop, ebonics stereotype) and wondering if, in 50 years, that these films would be viewed as rather racist. Anyway, it was interesting to see the stereotypes but I must admit to have been a bit caught off guard when John Wayne threatened to send Hattie Noel 'back to Africa'!

Overall this is an instantly forgettable movie that only wants to keep you semi-entertained for the running time without doing anything special or making a lasting impression. Maybe it is the presence of John Wayne that has meant it still pops up on television with some regularity because other than that I really have no clue as to why it has not been just forgotten by time.

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Release Date:

5 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dama por una noche See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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