The Patricia Roc Filmography
One Night With You

Two Cities / Rank UK 1948 92mins Black and White

Directed by: Terence Young
Cinematography by: Andre Thomas
Starring: Nino Maritni, Patricia Roc, Bonar Colleano, Hugh Wakefield, Stanley Holloway

Plot Synopsis
A loose reworking of "It Happened One Night" set in Italy. A film crew are trying to figure out a movie plot for a singing star, Giulio, they have managed to sign for their movie. Script writers struggle but when he arrives they are still without a story. It turns out the man who has arrived and they believed to be Giulio is an imposter and then the real Giulio turns up. Giulo relates what has happened to him and en route, how his luggage was stolen and he wound up overnight with a beautiful girl, the daughter of an English diplomat Mary Santell (Patricia Roc). They are in the middle of Italy with no money, no papers and no luggage. Meanwhile Mary's father and husband to be, along with hot blooded latin lover Piero (Bonar Colleano) chase after them causing more confusion while trying to agree her future between them. Giulio relates their adventures until at the end of his story the film crew realize the whole thing is perfect for their film the only problem being it lacks a proper ending. Dutifully the whole entourage arrive exploding onto the scene and while the producer considers various endings it's Mary who finally decides the ending. On seeing the film with the suggested ending (and not liking it), she jumps up and runs up into the cinema screen to become part of the film and departs with Giulio so giving it the ending she desired rather then the one her father, the two men or the film producer wanted for her.

In my opinion this would've been an excellent musical comedy were it not for the leading man who plays Giulio - Nino Martini. While he can certainly sing and will be highly enjoyable to those who like this style of singing as an actor he is unconvincing and seems miscast alongside Patricia Roc. One gets the impression that either this film was supposed to be a vehicle for Nino Martini or that he was hired on the strength of his singing alone. As a result what would've been a rather special film instead becomes less important fluff. Lots of fun anyway and certainly entertaining but failing to meet it's full potential.

Patricia Roc is gorgeous and plays her part well along with dog, Floppy. I wonder if that actually was her dog as she certainly had a similar dog at the time and it was called Floppy as in the film. (Here is a picture of her with her dog at a public event at around the time of this movie - make your own mind up!).

Bonar Colleano plays his part as the hot blooded latin lover to perfection chasing Pat's character around Italy without any time for anyone else or any complications that get in the way. He only stops his relentless pursuit to berate her father for allowing the situation to happen. Charles Goldner also puts in an excellent performance as Fogliati the producer of the film with no story. Christopher Lee appears in a bit part and Stanley Holloway plays a silent part as the tramp who steals Giulio's luggage.

One of the most striking features of the movie is towards the end when Patricia Roc's character jumps up and rushes into the film screen to become part of the film they are making (within the film) and ending it the way she wants it to. The transition from her running up to the screen and then appearing on screen as part of the film within the film is fairly smoothly done and must've been quite startling as an idea at the time. It's one of the things that makes me think that had it not been for the miscast leading man the film would have been far better known for it's self-referential aspects. A movie about people making a movie which is finished by the leading lady becoming part of the movie within the movie and forcing her own ending. Of course the idea of moving between screen and real world is perhaps most famously explored in Woody Allen's Purple Rose of Cairo.

If you love Nino Martini's singing then perhaps this movie has no faults at all... (though I'd still argue his acting leaves something to be desired). If you don't like Nino Martini's singing then I wouldn't let that put you off watching as the singing is not too dominant in the film and there is plenty of plot to keep you entertained.

The fact that the film seems to be a musical rework of Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night" also explains why it somehow manages to be a very European style film which somehow feels a touch American in a difficult to define way.

Thanks to Annette for providing a viewing copy of this film.

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