Saturday, September 03, 2011

Tonight's Movie: Kisses for Breakfast (1941)

KISSES FOR BREAKFAST is an exceedingly silly Warner Bros. farce about an amnesiac with too many wives. The film is mildly diverting, but it can't be said that it represents the best work of anyone involved.

Rodney Trask (Dennis Morgan) is a hammy singer who marries the oft-engaged Juliet (Shirley Ross), who believes she's finally found her true love. On Rodney and Juliet's wedding day, Clara (Lucia Carroll) shows up after the ceremony intending to blackmail Rodney; when he doesn't cooperate, Clara's henchman Chet (Cornel Wilde, in an early bit part) bumps Rodney off, or at least he thinks he does.

Rodney survives, but has no memory. The only clue he has to his past is an address in his coat pocket, which leads him to Juliet's charming Southern belle cousin, Laura (Jane Wyatt). Rodney takes on a new identity as "Happy" Homes and spends the next year working on Laura's farm and falling in love with her. They marry, and decide the very first stop on their honeymoon trip will be to attend the wedding of Laura's cousin Juliet to Lucius (Jerome Cowan)...and let the games begin!

I knew nothing about the film in advance, and the characters of Rodney and Juliet were so over-the-top silly I was caught off guard. Particularly with regard to Dennis Morgan's character, I kept expecting to be let in on the joke, then finally realized he really was just a goofball!

Jane Wyatt's Laura gives the film some needed grounding, and it's interesting that as an amnesiac, Rodney (aka Happy) is a much more normal fellow. This helps set up the audience to want Rodney to end up with Laura rather than the hysterical Juliet.

There are some good chuckles here and there, particularly regarding the butler (Barnett Parker), the maid (Una O'Connor), and a swinging kitchen door, but for the most part the film is just too silly and strained to be completely enjoyable. Ross's Juliet is initially sympathetic, but she quickly shows herself to be self-centered, and she becomes tiresome as the film wears on. The viewer starts watching the clock hoping that "Happy" and Laura will escape from the looney bin which is Juliet's home.

Jerome Cowan is on my short list for favorite character actors of the '40s, but, like so much else about the film, his acting in this one is overdone. The supporting cast also includes Lee Patrick, Willie Best, Louise Beavers, and Clarence Muse. That's Joan Leslie's sister, Mary Brodel, as the telephone operator who tells Cowan to "Keep your shirt on!"

The movie was directed by Lewis Seiler. It runs 82 minutes.

This film isn't available on VHS or DVD, but it can be seen on Turner Classic Movies, which has the trailer available on the TCM website.


Blogger Robby Cress said...

Never seen this film before. Sounds like it may be a good pick for a lazy afternoon.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Sounds harmless. Also sounds like Warner's just didn't know what to do with some of their contractees and this was a "why not?" decision.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Those are good descriptions! Harmless fun for a lazy afternoon. :) Classic film fans should find it interesting in part just because it's kind of a strangely different movie from the norm.

Best wishes,

12:13 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older