Night Life of the Gods Movie

by Michael D Walker on April 26, 2012

Night Life of the Gods Movie

Did you know the very first movie made from a Thorne Smith book was not TOPPER? That’s right.  Most people are surprised to learn there was a Night Life of the Gods movie first!

Universal released the movie in 1935, just about a year after Thorne Smith had passed away. Reviews were mixed at best.

The film has yet to be released in any home video format.  Why? I quite honestly don’t know.  To the best of my knowledge it has not been shown on Turner Classic Movies either.

Many years ago I managed to track down a very poor quality dupe of the Night Life of the Gods movie on VHS.  I’m not sure where it was copied from but it was difficult to watch because of the poor copying job.  Later, I learned that around 2005 the film was restored for the UCLA Film Archive.

Here’s a synopsis of the Night Life of the Gods movie from my friends at TCM.

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.

Note: Night Life of the Gods synopsis published by permission of Turner Classic Movies

Hopefully one day TCM will finally see fit to air the restored version of the Night Life of the Gods movie for everyone to enjoy.

In the meantime, you can go watch the first three minutes of the movie at: http://www.thornesmith.net/Night-Life-of-the-Gods-movie.html

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