La vida nocturna

LA VIDA NOCTURNA (meaning “the night life”) is the Spanish adaptation of the 1930 three-reel comedy BLOTTO (meaning “drunk” in the King’s English), and extends the running time by a full reel. The vivacious, Latin, Linda Loredo replaced the less hot-tempered Anita Garvin as Stan’s wife who is always wise to any of his schemes. In this Prohibition-era adventure, bachelor Ollie persuades his henpecked pal Stan to try and trick his wife and sneak away from an evening of calm domesticity in favor of merry drinking with fellow revelers at a nearby nightclub. Besides some new gags, the extra footage allows more time for the floor show (with a live orchestra) featuring a scantily-clad dancer, which is interesting because this sequence was deemed too wild for American sensibilities by the liberal standards of pre-Code Hollywood. Even Stan and Ollie seem shocked by some of the cabaret acts they see. M-G-M re-released BLOTTO in 1937, adding a delightful new incidental music score which totally alters the film’s character. English-speaking audiences have ever-after only known this reissue version, which was also edited by censors to conform to the more stringent 1934 Production Code standards. Neither the picture nor the soundtrack for LA VIDA NOCTURNA, however, was ever tampered with subsequently, now offering us an unexpurgated version of what the filmmakers intended on the domestic cut, as well as the flavor of the original and much different 1930 background music (serious fans will recognize many 1929 pop hits). Each version of the scripted property is wonderful and appealing, but the difference in scoring is what completely changes the viewing experience.

-- by Richard W. Bann --

 Video excerpt from LA VIDA NOCTURNA  
 Corresponding video excerpt from BLOTTO  
 Corresponding video excerpt from UNE NUIT EXTRAVAGANTE (French version of BLOTTO)