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History Is Made at Night

History Is Made at Night(1937)


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Irene Vail, the wife of sadistic American shipping magnate Bruce Vail, is about to turn in for the night in her Paris hotel room when Michael, her chauffeur, enters the room and informs her that he has been instructed by Bruce to force her into a compromising position so that she will drop her divorce suit against him. Expecting to find Michael and his wife alone and in an embrace, Bruce is surprised when he enters the room and instead stumbles upon a holdup by a jewel thief. The intruder, who entered the room through Irene's window, demands Irene's jewels and then kidnaps her. Once he and Irene are alone, the intruder reveals that he is Paul Dumond, one of Europe's most renowned headwaiters, and that he overheard her struggle with Michael and decided to pose as a jewel thief in order to save her. Paul takes the grateful Irene to the Chateau Bleu, where he works, and the two dine and dance into the early hours of the morning. Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Bruce kills Michael and then tells the police that the murder was committed by Irene's new lover. When Irene returns to the hotel, she lies to Bruce and the police about her abduction, but Bruce discovers her lie when he notices that she is wearing the necklace that was supposedly stolen along with her other jewels. After the police leave, Bruce forces Irene to agree to go to New York with him and rescind her divorce action by threatening to frame Paul for the murder of the chauffeur. Paul is stunned when he reads about Irene's planned departure in the newspapers and does not understand why she failed to show up at their planned rendezvous. En route to America, Irene, unable to bear her husband's cruelty any longer, tells Bruce that she has taken a lover in Paris and that she plans to continue pressing her divorce suit. Meanwhile, Paul, fearing that Irene is in trouble, follows the Vails to New York. There, Paul and his temperamental chef, Cesare, find work at a Manhattan restaurant called Victor's. When Irene is informed that her ex-lover has been arrested in connection with Michael's murder, she thinks that Paul is the arrested suspect and becomes depressed. Bruce tries to force Irene to go to Paris with him to testify against the suspect, but before they leave, Bruce takes her to Victor's for dinner, where she discovers Paul and realizes that he is safe. After dinner, Irene tears up her ticket to Paris, walks out on Bruce and returns to Victor's, where she explains herself to Paul and insists that he not return to Paris. Paul, however, refuses to allow an innocent man to be punished for the murder that Bruce committed and convinces Irene that he must go to Paris and risk being framed in order to defend the man. Irene joins Paul on his voyage to Paris, and the two set sail on Bruce's ship, the S.S. Princess Irene . When Bruce reads the newspaper headlines reporting Irene's journey to France to defend "the man of her heart," he becomes enraged that he will not be able to get a conviction against Paul. Disregarding a radio call from the captain of the Princess Irene warning of bad weather, Bruce gives instructions that the ship proceed at full speed. The ocean liner soon collides with an iceberg and capsizes, and when Bruce learns of the tragedy, he writes a suicide note in which he confesses to Michael's murder and then shoots himself. The ship, however, stops sinking, and Bruce and Irene are rescued.