"Two for Tonight"

Lars posted 03/14/05 02:10 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I like Bing's early 30's movies... They might not be award material, but it's usually a lot of fun, great songs and plenty of Paramount stock actors in the tiniest parts.... And these movies are usually running for only about on hour more or less... More than enought for many movies. I liked Two for Tonight ever since the first time I've saw it when I got a copy from Australia in the early 80's. When I was a kid my dad had volume one of the DECCA LP series "Bing's Hollywood" including the songs from "Two for Tonight". I used to play this record over and over again.... So I was pretty familar with these songs and I do like them a lot - especially "I wish I were Aladdin".... I even prefer the movieversion of this song that differs a lot from the recording. It comes off well - performed in jail with the orchestra accompanying Bing from the other cell... (My girl Maria suggested it was better than Pelvis "Jailhouse Rock".) The story might not be much to write home about, but I still enjoyed it a lot…. It moves along pretty fast paced IMO – and there’s never far between the Crosby songs. I especially enjoyed Mary Boland as Bing’s mother… And it’s always fun to recognize smaller parts with people like Charles Lane and Thelma Todd (my friend Alfie who owns a record store named his dog Thelma after Todd, the dog before was called Harpo after Marx) in one of her last movies, as she would be murdered (or committing suicide?) at the end of 1935. William Gargan’s brother Ed played a cabdriver in one scene…. I knew that I had seen Lynne Overman recently in another Crosby-flick, and it turned out to be Dixie – but I understand that Overman was also in Star Spangled Rhythm. Anyway, we spent last night enjoying this movie – I wasn’t sure Maria would like it but she did. We even watched part of it twice. Once again there’s an opportunity to see Bing dance while singing “From the top of your head”…. He was "dancing" in pretty much the same fashion 30 years later, Maria also noted and commented on how easy he made it look and sound when he was singong – unlike the screamers of today who seems to believe they can make up for talent by turning up the volume! There’s also a scene that could have been taken from a Laurel and Hardy movie, quite silly but still enjoyable, and resulting in Crosby landing in jail. I also thought the scene with Bing up in a three singing to a death music publisher was pretty fun. There’s so many interesting characters that I almost forgot to mention the “Hungarian Butler” (Homps???). Many of these smaller parts could have been used to more advantage though, they seem to promise more then we actually get… The director Frank Tuttle turned out many great movies and quite a few movies with Crosby, but I wouldn’t call this one a masterpiece, it’s still a nice timefiller. Even though the story is inconsistent - for instance why in earth would Bing, who starts out flirting with pretty Joan Bennett, fall for Thelma Todd and then entirely forget about her until the very end? Well, it's only a movie.
Malcolm Macfarlane posted 03/15/05 04:15 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
You might like to see the contemporary reviews:

"If Two For Tonight the new Bing Crosby film at the Paramount, had a second act as richly comic as its first, there is little doubt but that it would be hailed this morning as one of the merriest comedies of the season. Unfortunately for us all, the battery of writers neglected to bring up their reserves and permitted their lunatic script to walk, rather than run, to the nearest exit....Still, not even an unsatisfactory finale can efface the memory of several hugely amusing moments, and it is with these in mind that one marks down the new photoplay as a diverting, agreeable light comedy...The songs by Gordon And Revel are not up to standard, with the possible exception of "From The Top Of Your Head" which is tuneful.
(New York Times, August 31)"

"The songs, the competent cast, the fetching title and mostly Crosby will have to offset the other deficiencies.
(Variety, September 4)"

"If you are one of those who like Bing Crosby's crooning, you will like Two for Tonight, for Crosby has abundant opportunity to croon in the picture. . . . If you are looking for anything more, I am afraid you are going to be disappointed, because Two for Tonight considered as a screen play, is not among today's better pictures.
(James Francis Crow, Los Angeles Evening Herald Express, October4)"

Some great singing though!
Lee posted 03/30/05 08:49 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I watched our Bing March Movie of the Month, "2 For Tonight". First what stands out most is it was the shortest Bing movie I've ever seen. Only an hour (and one minute). It really was too short to ever be boring. The first 1/2 of the movie reminded me very much of one of Bing's Sennett comedy shorts. The mid part got a little slow and the end sort of just wrapped things up. Bing was looking at his best, his singing was superb. I especially liked his Wish I Were Alladin song. Forget the exact name of the song, but it was a Bing Doozy. Thelma Todd looked chubbier that I think of her looking in the Laurel and Hardy shorts. Joan Bennett as a blonde was also something different, I think of her as brunette. Well, the movie was pleasant enough, nothing great, nothing bad, a forgettable plot, in fact the only thing I can remember about it is Bing starts off by liking Joan then likes Thelma, Joan is hurt, then I think Bing winds up back again with Joan. So there you have it, another in depth review chock full of details and intricate information. So, all in all, I give the movie 3 stars. It was enjoyable enough and Bing is at his prime, singing, mugging and joking. What more could you ask for? OK, it's no "Welcome Stranger" but for a '30's movie it ain't bad.
Lars posted 03/31/05 12:48 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Yes Lee, the story was certainly in the formula "Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl".... "I wish I were Aladdin" is also my favorite song in the movie... It's hard not to start humming it whenever I mention the title... Let's hope Universal puts out "Welcome Stranger" on DVD soon. Joan Bennett is also in one of my favorite movies - "We're no angels"! I try to watch that movie every Christmas.

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