Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Tonight's Movie: Breakfast for Two (1937)

BREAKFAST FOR TWO is an agreeably silly diversion in which a wealthy Texas gal, Valentine (Barbara Stanwyck), sets out to reform Jonathan (Herbert Marshall), a playboy facing bankruptcy.

The plot is fairly thin and doesn't always make much sense, but it's fun and has some amusing supporting performances: Eric Blore as Marshall's loyal valet, the improbably named Butch; Glenda Farrell as Marshall's wife-to-be; and Donald Meek as a justice of the peace. Meek is hilarious as he keeps mispronouncing Jonathan as "Jo-Nathan" in his constantly thwarted attempts to finish conducting a wedding ceremony.

The suave Marshall is always fun to watch in comedies; my favorite is IF YOU COULD ONLY COOK (1935). Stanwyck looks like she's having fun constantly exasperating Marshall; however, I didn't really understand her character's about-face in the next-to-last sequence. The following year Marshall and Stanwyck were paired again in ALWAYS TOGETHER (1938).

The supporting cast also includes Etienne Girardot and Frank Thomas.

BREAKFAST FOR TWO was directed by Alfred Santell. It was shot in black and white and runs a short 67 minutes.

This film is available on DVD-R from the Warner Archive. This was the poorest Archive print I have seen to date, with numerous faint scratches and a soundtrack which has static at times. It was still watchable and I was glad to see it, but I couldn't help but think how great the swank Van Nest Polglase sets would look in a really good print.

BREAKFAST FOR TWO can be seen on Turner Classic Movies.


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