Night Life of the Gods


1h 13m 1935

Brief Synopsis

A scientist named Hunter Hawk invents a device that can turn flesh to stone. While celebrating his discovery he becomes involved with a half naked leprechaun. On a trip to New York, Hunter and Meg (the leprechaun) decide to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and turn all of the Statues of Greek Gods into people. What follows in a drunken romp around New York with Medusa's severed head still in Perseus' hand.

Film Details

Also Known As
Thorne Smith's Night Life of the Gods
Release Date
Mar 11, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith (Garden City, NY, 1931).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Scientist Hunter Hawk sets off a series of explosions in his laboratory and is knocked unconscious. When he comes to, he discovers his experiment has been successful. With the use of a magic ring that emits a supernatural ray, Hunter can turn people into stone and, with a second ring, back to life, and can turn statues into flesh and blood. Hunter first tries his ray on his greedy, annoying relatives, turning all but his niece Daphne into stone. That night, Daphne and her boyfriend, Cyril Sparks, go dancing with Hunter and his gardener Turner's daughter Meg, who claims she is nine hundred years old. Hunter and Meg fall in love and sit up together through the night. The next day, they go New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and bring to life eight statues of gods and goddesses: Mercury, Bacchus, Neptune, Apollo, Perseus, Hebe, Diana and the Venus de Milo, without her arms. After buying them clothes and checking them into the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Meg and Hunter show the deities civilization. Eventually, however, the gods realize they cannot fit into modern life. Bacchus cannot stomach modern alcohol; Venus is unable to find a lover; and Neptune cannot tolerate having to pay for fish. Meanwhile, policeman Mike Mulligan, whom Hunter had turned to stone but who was able to free himself from the spell, is after Hunter for wreaking havoc around town. Hunter gets the gods back to the museum, where they all agree to return to stone, but strike different poses. Hunter then tells Meg that, for her own safety, it would be better if she left him. She vows to stay with him, however, and they turn themselves into stone for eternity. Hunter then wakes up in an ambulance and realizes it was all a dream.

Film Details

Also Known As
Thorne Smith's Night Life of the Gods
Release Date
Mar 11, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith (Garden City, NY, 1931).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although not viewed, the credits for this film were taken from a studio cutting continuity. The title reads: "Thorne Smith's Night Life of the Gods." The foreword reads: "Once upon a time, a famous author named Thorne Smith wrote a book, conceived in a moment of delicious delirium, and written in a cuckoo clock. The first chapters convinced us he was crazy. The ensuing left doubt that possibly we were. So we leave you to enjoy this new and completely mad type of whimsical humor on the screen. Stop rattling cellophane! Take Sonny's shoes off! Park your gum under the seat where it belongs, and let's all go crazy together."
       According to a news item in Daily Variety on August 8, 1934, Universal hired five sculptors to make life-size plastic figures for the film, many of which would resemble the cast members. Daily Variety also reported that as many as thirty sculptors might be needed to finish the statues in time for production. The New York Times reviewer remarked that "the current cinema morality has forced [director] Sherman to abandon most of the ribald humor of the original." All of the film's reviews except Variety and New York Times state that the film ends with Hunter turning himself and Meg into stone. Variety describes the dream ending (included in the above plot), which was part of the continuity script. Due to the fact that Variety reviewed the film last, the dream ending May have been added after the film was previewed. The New York Times review does not refer to the ending at all. Night Life of the Gods was the last complete film that Sherman acted in or directed. He died in late December 1934 while directing Becky Sharp.