Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Love Before Breakfast (1936) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Carole Lombard and Preston Foster star in the romantic comedy LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST (1936), released on Blu-ray this month by Kino Lorber.

LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST is part of the three-film Carole Lombard Collection II along with THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (1936), reviewed a few days ago, and HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE (1935), to be reviewed at a future date.

I first saw LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST in 2007, then revisited it in 2013. It's one of my favorite Lombard films, so I was glad to go back to it again thanks to the new Blu-ray, which looks terrific.

Foster plays Scott Miller, a business tycoon who will stop at nothing to win daffy but beautiful Kay Colby (Lombard) as his wife. Scott even finds a way to ship Kay's fiance Bill (Cesar Romero) off to a two-year job in Japan. The fact that Bill is thrilled by the opportunity yet doesn't consider marrying Kay and taking her with him gives the viewer a good idea how things should turn out; Bill and Kay's relationship is tepid, at best.

Despite my liking for it, I admit the film isn't perfect; it has a sprightly 70-minute pace but it particularly needs more scenes showing why Scott and Kay love each other, given that they spend most of the movie fighting. Basically yelling is their crazy way of making love, but we need to see more of the underlying sparks. We pretty much take it as a given that the characters belong together just because they're gorgeous Carole Lombard and Preston Foster!

Modern viewers might be put off by Scott's bossy, even "stalker"-ish behavior, but that's never bothered me; after all, it's a 1930s screwball comedy, and the TAMING OF THE SHREW style story just isn't meant to be taken overly seriously. I find Foster tremendously handsome and appealing, and I only wonder what takes Lombard's Kay so long to come to her senses, given his ardor, good looks, and deep finances -- I mean, he gives her three engagement rings! Talk about a Depression-era fantasy.

The Depression fantasy of this beautiful Universal Pictures film also includes beautiful sets and Lombard in Travis Banton gowns. Combined with the cast, it's a pleasure to look at in every way.

A host of writers, including Preston Sturges, worked on the adaptation and screenplay of a Faith Baldwin novel. The movie was directed by Walter Lang and filmed by Ted Tetzlaff.

Janet Beecher is charming as Kay's mother, and Betty Lawford (cousin of Peter) plays a Countess in the orbit of both Bill and Scott. Joyce Compton is hilarious playing her typical "Southern belle" character.

The cast also includes Richard Carle, Forrester Harvey, Bert Roach, and Mia Ichioka. Look for a young Dennis O'Keefe as a frat boy early in the film, and everyone's favorite "dress extra," Bess Flowers, can be glimpsed deep in the background in the diner scene.

The attractive Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-ray also contains a trailer, two additional trailers for films available from Kino Lorber, and a commentary track by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Joshua Nelson.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Rick said...

It's been years since I saw this, but my memory is that Cesar Romero's character was an idiot, Preston Foster's character was a jerk, and Carole Lombard should have been off somewhere with Cary Grant or William Powell.

5:01 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Yes, Rick. Or Clark Gable.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Enjoyed your takes!

It's interesting, as I indicated in my review I can imagine people not liking Foster's character so it's probably due to my liking him so much that it just doesn't bother me, and I like him paired with Lombard. Perhaps I'm in the minority!

Best wishes,

10:45 PM  

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