Aug 5, 2008
This Could Be the Night

Jean Simmons plays the same kind of role that she played in Guys and Dolls, the innocent who falls in love with a man on the edge of respectable society. The story is not bad, and the singing, by Julie Wilson, is good. The most interesting thing about the movie is in a very minor sub-plot. An immigrant from an Arab country, with the name Hussein Mohammed, has to pass algebra in order to change his name to a more American one. Three things are of interest here:

The casting. Rafael Campos, from the Dominican Republic, is cast as Hussein. Hollywood evidently treated all minorities, within limits, as being interchangeable. There is external pressure to Americanize.

The external pressure is not resisted, partly, I think, because it runs parallel to Hussein’s own desire to assimilate, and assume, at least in part, American mores and customs.