AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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That Midnight Kiss
Director: Norman Taurog (Dir)
Release Date:   Sep 1949
Premiere Information:   World premiere in Philadelphia, PA: 2 Sep 1949; New York opening: 22 Sep 1949
Production Date:   10 Jan--mid-Mar 1949
Duration (in mins):   96 or 99
Duration (in feet):   8,873
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   Kathryn Grayson (Prudence Budell)  
    José Iturbi (Himself)  
    Ethel Barrymore (Abigail Trent Budell)  
  And introducing Mario Lanza (Johnny Donnetti)  
    Keenan Wynn (Artie Geoffrey Glenson)  
    J. Carrol Naish (Papa Donnetti)  
    Jules Munshin (Michael Pemberton)  
    Thomas Gomez (Guido Russino Betelli)  
    Marjorie Reynolds (Mary)  
    Arthur Treacher (Hutchins)  
    Mimi Aguglia (Mamma Donnetti)  
    Amparo Iturbi (Herself)  
    Bridget Carr (Donna)  
    Amparo Ballester (Rosina)  
    Ann Codee (Mme. Bouget)  
    Edward Earle (Jason)  
    George Meader (Paul)  
    Sheila Stein (Peanuts)  
    Joe Rocca (Truck driver)  
    Frank Donia (Truck driver)  
    Jerry Lascoe Jr. (Truck driver)  
    Al Thompson (Truck driver)  
    Michael Kostrick (Truck driver)  
    Charles Smith (Member of G.I. Quartette)  
    George Boyce (Member of G.I. Quartette)  
    Dwight Martin (Member of G.I. Quartette)  
    Robert Cherry (Member of G.I. Quartette)  
    Anne O'Neal (Charwoman)  
    Richard Lane (Radio interviewer)  
    Wilson Wood (Disc jockey)  
    Ed Gargan (Traffic cop)  
    Dewey Robinson (Waiter)  
    Stanley Blystone (Customer)  
    Lee Phelps (Stagehand)  
    Gregg Barton (Stagehand)  
    Patty Kate Johnston (Infant)  

Summary: Abigail Trent Budell, a wealthy resident of Philadelphia and a generous patron of the arts, hopes to launch the singing career of her young granddaughter Prudence by introducing her to friend and noted musical conductor José Iturbi. Jose auditions Prudence for an upcoming opera and compliments her singing voice, but when he criticizes her style, she angrily storms out of the house. Abigail, whose own mother denied her the opportunity to sing professionally when she was young, is determined to help Prudence realize her dreams. To do so, Abigail finances the construction of an opera house in Philadelphia, and hires Jose to direct the new company. While Abigail begins a radio campaign to publicize the new concert hall, Jose casts Prudence in the company's first opera, opposite tenor Signor Guido Russino Betelli. During rehearsals, Jose realizes that Prudence has trouble looking directly at Betelli when she is singing to him, and tries to solve the problem through coaching. The coaching proves ineffective, however, as Prudence rejects Jose's instructions and complains that Betelli is too fat to look at. A short time later, Prudence meets Johnny Donnetti, a handsome former New York opera star who left the stage to become a truck driver for Artie Geoffrey Glenson's trucking company. While a romance blossoms between Johnny and Prudence, Jose discovers Johnny's singing abilities and introduces him at one of the concerts. After winning a standing ovation from the audience, Johnny is invited to join the company and sing with Prudence and Betelli. Complications soon arise, however, when Betelli objects to the presence of another tenor in the program and tears up his contract. Betelli's departure pleases most of the company, especially Prudence, who immediately asks Jose to replace Betelli with Johnny. Jose grants her request, but Prudence's hope of a continuing romance with Johnny is soon dashed when she discovers that Johnny intends to marry his former sweetheart Mary. Unaware that Johnny is not in love with Mary and that his marriage proposal was a result of a misunderstanding, Prudence grows increasingly despondent and her performance begins to suffer. Confusion ensues when Johnny quits the opera mistakenly believing that Abigail hired him to marry Prudence. Desperate to fill Johnny's role, Jose recalls Betelli, but is disappointed to find that Prudence is still unable to look at him when she sings. Things look bad for the opera until Mary overhears Johnny tell Jose that he does not love his fiancée, and he breaks off the engagement. The success of the opera is ensured only moments before its opening, when Betelli is tricked into quitting, and Johnny agrees to go on in his place. Prudence is delighted to see Johnny back, and the two celebrate their reunion with a kiss. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Norman Taurog (Dir)
  Dolph Zimmer (Asst dir)
Producer: Joe Pasternak (Prod)
Writer: Bruce Manning (Scr)
  Tamara Hovey (Scr)
Photography: Robert Surtees (Dir of photog)
  A. Lindsley Lane (Cam op)
  Bud Graybill (Stills)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Preston Ames (Art dir)
Film Editor: Gene Ruggiero (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
  Arthur Krams (Assoc)
Costumes: Helen Rose (Cost)
  Valles (Men's cost by)
Music: Charles Previn (Mus dir)
  Leo Arnaud (Orch)
  Conrad Salinger (Orch)
  José Iturbi (Mus supv)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec supv)
  Conrad Kahn (Sd)
Make Up: Sydney Guilaroff (Hair styles des)
  Jack Dawn (Makeup created by)
Production Misc: Sergei Petschnikoff (Prod mgr)
  Howard Dietz (Dir of publicity)
  Les Martinson (Scr supv)
  Albert Hunter (Grip)
Color Personnel: Henri Jaffa (Technicolor color consultant)
  James Gooch (Technicolor color consultant)
Country: United States

Music: Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major by Franz Liszt; Concerto in B Flat Minor by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky; "Revolutionary Etude" by Frédéric Chopin.
Songs: "They Didn't Believe Me," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Herbert Reynolds; "I Know, I Know, I Know," music by Bronislau Kaper, lyrics by Bob Russell; "Caro nomé" from the opera Rigoletto , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Francesco Maria Piave; "Celeste Aida" from the opera Aida , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by A. Ghislanzoni; selection from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor , music by Gaetano Donizetti, libretto by Salvatore Cammarano; "Mama mia, che vo sapé" from the opera Cavalleria rusticana , music by Pietro Mascagni, libretto by Guido Menasci and Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti; "O sole mio," music by Edoardo di Capua, lyrics by Giovanni Capurro; "Down Among the Sheltering Pines," music by Abe Olman, lyrics by James Brockman; "Una furtiva lagrima" from the opera L'elisir d'amore , music by Gaetano Donizetti, libretto by Felice Romani; Overture from the opera Semiramide , music by Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, libretto by Gaetano Rossi; "Russian Nightingale," music and lyrics by Alexander Alabieff; "Judaline," music and lyrics by Don Raye and Gene De Paul; "Love Is Music," music based on The Fifth Symphony by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, lyrics by William Katz.
Composer: A. Ghislanzoni
  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  Alexander Alabieff
  James Brockman
  Salvatore Cammarano
  Edoardo di Capua
  Frédéric Chopin
  Gene de Paul
  Gaetano Donizetti
  Bronislau Kaper
  William Katz
  Jerome Kern
  Franz Liszt
  Pietro Mascagni
  Guido Menasci
  Abe Olman
  Francesco Maria Piave
  Don Raye
  Herbert Reynolds
  Felice Romani
  Gaetano Rossi
  Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
  Bob Russell
  Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti
  Giuseppe Verdi

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Loew's Inc. 23/8/1949 dd/mm/yyyy LP2504 Yes

PCA NO: 13767
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

Genre: Romantic comedy
  Romantic comedy
Subjects (Major): Conductors (Music)
  Opera houses
  Opera singers
Subjects (Minor): Art patronage
  Fathers and sons
  Italian Americans
  Philadelphia (PA)
  Proposals (Marital)
  Radio programs
  Truck drivers

Note: The film's world premiere was held in Philadelphia, PA to honor Philadelphia native Mario Lanza (1921--1959), who made his motion picture debut in That Midnight Kiss . Lanza, who had appeared on the concert stage both prior to and after his service in the armed forces during World War II, made several popular musical films for M-G-M during the early 1950s. His recordings of operatic and popular music selections were also very successful. His best-known role was that of Enrico Caruso in the 1951 M-G-M film The Great Caruso . According to biographical sources, Lanza's career was damaged by a chronic weight problem as well as alcoholism. In 1959, while in Rome, Italy, Lanza suffered a heart attack and died at age thirty-eight. According to M-G-M publicity material, Patty Kate Johnston, the infant who appeared in That Midnight Kiss with Kathryn Grayson in a park sequence, was Grayson's newborn daughter. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   27 Aug 1949.   
Daily Variety   24 Aug 49   p. 3.
Film Daily   25 Aug 49   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Jan 49   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Jan 49   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Feb 49   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Mar 49   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Jun 49   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Aug 49   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Aug 49   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   27 Aug 49   p. 4730.
New York Times   23 Sep 49   p. 28.
Variety   24 Aug 49   p. 18.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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