Lady for a Night – The 1942 Film
In today’s modern society, land based and online casinos have become extremely popular and are seen as an acceptable form of entertainment. However this was not always the case. Not too long ago, gambling was frowned upon within many social circles. A woman’s involvement in the casino industry was certainly considered taboo. These are the main themes that are explored in the classic 1942 American Film called Lady for a Night. This black and white film stars Joan Blondell and John Wayne and was received with much enthusiasm by both film critics and the public.
A Woman Aspires to be Accepted
Lady for a Night is a film about a woman named Jenny Blake who is played by Joan Blondell. Jenny is an aspiring social climber and owns a casino steam boat named Memphis Belle together with a largely influential man named Jack Morgan played by John Wayne. Despite Jenny’s efforts, the social elite view her with little respect and consider her occupation vulgar. Jack (John Wayne) is secretly in love with Jenny and will do anything to make her happy. He arranges for her to be queen of the Mardi Gras Ball.
The Mari Gras Ball
In the Lady for a Night film, Jenny is crowned queen of the ball, much to the disgust of the social elite and is mocked. Not giving up hope, Jenny decided to regain her social status by using Alan Anderson as leverage. Played by Ray Middleton, Alan is a local plantation owner who is in financial trouble losing his plantation while gambling at the casino. Jenny offers Alan a deal where she will strike his debts if he marries her. Seeing no alternative, Alan agrees to the proposal. This gives Jenny her respectable positon in society.
Jenny Gets Married
One of the biggest plot developments in Lady for a Night is when Jack learns of Jenny’s marriage to Alan. Jack is devastated and loses all focus. He does nothing to save the Memphis Belle when it catches fire. Meanwhile everyone in Alan’s immediate family is not happy with his marriage to Jenny and does not want to accept her. The only person who does accept her is Alan’s aunt Katherine. Jack decides to sabotage the relationship between Jenny and Alan in order to try win her back. He enlists the help of Alan’s aunt Julia who spreads rumours about her having improper relations with her former colleague jack. She also goes on to ruin a ball Jenny is hosting.
The death of Alan
In order to give himself more leverage, Jack rescues the ball by using his political influence to ensure that the guests attend the ball. The action heats up in Lady for a Night when Jenny is almost killed when Julia organises that she rides in a carriage that is pulled by a blind horse. Jenny then orders Julia to leave the plantation. Before she leaves, Julia puts poison in a drink meant for Jenny. Alan accidently drinks the spiked drink and dies.
The Second Marriage
The film comes to its climax when Jenny is convicted of murder. A criminal trial ensues with Katherine being the only one who knows who actually mixed the drink. She is forced by her sister to testify again Jenny in court. Eventually Katherine confesses that is was actually Julia who mixed the drink and also killed her fiancée a few years earlier. Following her testimony, Jenny is released and cleared of all charges. The film ends when she meets up with Jack and the start working together again. Jenny gives up on trying to climb the social ladder and accepts Jack’s marriage proposal.