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Not Tonight Henry

Not Tonight Henry(1961)

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Although there is a copyright statement on the film, it was not registered for copyright. The opening title sequence features star and Las Vegas comic player Henry Hank mimicking the signature opening for the prestigious British production company, J. Arthur Rank, in which a muscular, semi-nude man strikes an enormous gong. Hank appears sparsely dressed before a large gong, but after making a wild swing, misses the gong and falls down. The principle female cast members are shown individually, apparently nude, hanging underwear on a laundry line.
       Technical credits feature similar "sight gags," such as the credit for the cameraman showing a man and woman underneath a dark blanket standing together behind the camera, the casting director credit featuring a man on a hospital gurney waving weakly, and the miscellaneous crew credits scrolled over men kneeling on the floor gambling until interrupted by a policeman, credited as the production manager, who then confiscates the winnings of the last player.
       Not Tonight Henry opened in Los Angeles on December 30, 1960 at the Monica International Theater. According to a Hollywood Citizen-News January 7, 1961 news item, the previous night's screening had been halted due to a raid by sheriff's deputies, and the confiscation of the film. A deputy was quoted describing Not Tonight Henry as "openly provocative and (an) outrage...(to) public decency." The Monica Theater's manager, owner and projectionist were taken into custody. A January 12, 1961 Daily Variety news item quoted Hank as insisting that footage of him appearing with nude women in the film was done using process photography. Hank also noted the money he made from the film was donated to Las Vegas charities.
       A February 13, 1961 Hollywood Reporter news item indicated that the resulting seven-day "obscenity" trial ended with a "not guilty" verdict, afer which the film reopened immediately. A Box Office news item in March 1961 stated that after the film reopened, it broke records at the Monica Theater. Later in November 1960, a print of Not Tonight Henry was seized in Modesto, CA and the theater owner and the manager were arrested on charges of obscenity in hopes of testing out a new section of the California State Penal code which had gone into effect in September 1961. The case was initially dismissed, then again brought up for trial, but that case resulted in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked on its decision. There is no information on further retrials.