Cast & Crew
W. Merle Connell
As the result of a serious study conducted by the world renowned Dr. Finzy, certain conclusions are drawn about the average American husband and wife, represented by "Mr. and Mrs. X." Despite being reasonably happy in his marriage, Mr. X chafes under his wife's constant nagging that he should assist in running the household. His only avenues of escape are reading and an occasional beer. Bored by monotonous television programming, Mr. X frequently finds solace at his local bar, a "university of knowledge" where he can mingle anonymously with the crowd. At the bar, Mr. X indulges in numerous daydreams to pass the time and, considering his relationship with his wife, thinks back over the historical relationships between the sexes. Imagining life as Marc Antony with Cleopatra, Mr. X is dismayed when the Egyptian queen seems more interested in her asp than his attentions. Upon her suicide, he is abandoned to his fate with Roman soldiers. Then, Mr. X imagines himself as Napoleon, ready to strike at Russia until sidetracked by the lovely Josephine, who seems to return his interest. Napoleon then discovers that Josephine is married and has no intention of divorcing her older, shorter husband. Although Mr. X is beginning to notice a pattern in history's heroes' relationships with women, he allows himself to fall into another reverie in which he is explorer and soldier John Smith, confronting Native Americans. John is soon captured by semi-nude male warriors and held prisoner by nude Indian women. The chieftain's lovely daughter Pocahontas saves John from execution. John's fleeting romance with Pocahontas is cut short, however, when she decides to run off with an older and richer colonist. Dismayed that historical women treat their men harshly, Mr. X thinks about the great romantic pair, Samson and Delilah, but quickly realizes that Delilah only seduced the strong man to steal his powers. In Renaissance Italy, Mr. X wonders about the infamous Lucretia Borgia. As Ferdinand the Fat, Mr. X imagines marrying Lucretia but becomes deeply suspicious of her motives when she provides him with an elixir. Believing he is about to be poisoned, Ferdinand refuses to drink at first, unaware that the drink is actually a love potion. When he finally does take the drink, Ferdinand, unused to romantic stimulation, merely gets a stomach ache. Back in the bar, Mr. X considers some of the attractive customers but reflects that since caveman days, men have always been dominated by women. Determined to break the pattern, Mr. X returns home to tell his wife that he cares for her but will not stand for further bullying. Mr. X is pleasantly surprised to find Mrs. X waiting in a negligee and forgets to tell her of his new plan.
W. Merle Connell
Little Jack Little
Doc Boyce Smith
W. Merle Connell
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.