A newspaper magnate gives a lavish party in honour of a visiting princess and the guests are invited to play “murder”. When the lights are turned on again, the magnate is dead and almost everyone present is a suspect. Although his secretary, Guy, is charged, during the trial, Chiddiatt, a foppish “modern” novelist, becomes deranged and confesses before killing himself.
The atmospheric nocturnal settings marked Powell's first collaboration with Alfred Junge and this was also his first encounter with the editor Derek Twist. The Night of the Party (1934) tackles that most conventional of all English genres (the after-dinner murder game that turns real), with an able cast and elegant lighting. Well worth the mention are Ernest Thesiger's delightfully camp decadent novelist and a flashing neon sign advertising the ruthless Studholme's newspapers, which provides a suitably lurid background for several confrontations.
Ian Christie (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger: Arrows of Desire)