Sunday, July 07, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Married Before Breakfast (1937) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

MARRIED BEFORE BREAKFAST is an MGM comedy released on DVD last month by the Warner Archive.

Robert Young plays Tom Wakefield, an inventor who earns a small fortune when he sells his formula for a shaving cream which doesn't require razors.

Tom will finally be able able to wed his rich fiancee June (June Clayworth), and he also uses his new financial wherewithal to lavish gifts on his friends at a boardinghouse.

When Tom purchases an around-the-world cruise for his honeymoon, he meets pretty travel agent Kitty Brent (Florence Rice). He generously helps Kitty's boyfriend Kenneth (a young Hugh Marlowe) sell enough insurance policies to get a promotion, followed by a crazy night in which he and Kitty are mixed up with a taxicab driver, a milkman, gangsters, and the police. June is not amused, but that may not matter as Tom and Kitty seem much better suited for each other than their current significant others.

The movie has overtones of Philip Barry's play HOLIDAY, previously filmed in 1930, with a better-known version coming the following year, in 1938. Young's Tom gives a speech to his fiancee which sounds very much Johnny in HOLIDAY, talking about wanting to have fun while he's young and not worry about making money; indeed, he's happy to live on his future father-in-law's money, reasoning that when it's given to him, it's then his money.

The film is also reminiscent of the later CHRISTMAS IN JULY (1940), in which a creative type comes into money and shares his good fortune with friends.

The film seemed to me on this viewing to hold up a little less well than I thought when I first saw it in 2008. It's interesting to me that Young can be an extremely sympathetic actor I like a great deal (for instance, in CLAUDIA), but he's also capable of being all-too-believable as completely immature, annoying characters, and that's how I found him here. His Tom became exasperating after a while, mixed with a few good scenes, such as a sequence where Tom and Kitty hide in a closet.

That said, there's still plenty to make the movie worthwhile, starting with the charming Florence Rice, always welcome in my viewing. Barnett Parker gives a delightful performance as Tom's new valet, Tweed (referred to by Tom as "Senior"); indeed, Parker alone makes the movie worth checking out!

There are a number of familiar faces in the supporting cast, including Mary Gordon, Leonid Kinskey, Tom Dugan, Warren Hymer, Tom Kennedy, Edgar Dearing, and Dennis O'Keefe.

The movie's sprightly 71-minute pace helps keep it from wearing out its welcome despite becoming a bit manic at times. All in all, it's not a great film, but it has enough to recommend it for fans of "B's" and the cast.

Young and Rice also costarred in THE LONGEST NIGHT (1936), NAVY BLUE AND GOLD (1937), and PARADISE FOR THREE (1938).

MARRIED BEFORE BREAKFAST was directed by Edwin L. Marin. It was filmed in black and white by Leonard Smith.

MARRIED BEFORE BREAKFAST is a good print with a strong soundtrack. The disc includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.

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