Sunday, December 22, 2019
The 12 Days of Carole Lombard: Love Before Breakfast (1936)
Kay Colby bids her new fiancee Bill Wadsworth farewell as he accepts a company job all the way over in Japan. She's sad and reluctant about it, but only becomes pissed off when she realises this whole thing was a trick orchestrated by unwanted suitor Scott Miller-A businessman with so much money and so little sense that he sees no problem in buying out a company to send his rival to another country. With Bill now out of the way, he tries making a move, much to Kay's constant displeasure, and she decides to get even...
Love Before Breakfast is a prime example of the screwball comedy genre. It's a wickedly funny picture with a battle of wits between man and woman.
The film moves along at a good pace, with many varied locations and setpieces, from Kay's fun at the horse track, to the bar-room brawl, and the various parties and dances we attend.
Kay is a fun heroine, with a great sense of humour, and plenty of life in her. She keeps the mvie going fantastically, exuding a spark in every scene.
Scott is an interesting character in that he's a massive dickhead with serious boundary issues, but he's so = that you can't help but like him and his stupid grin. Then at about the last third, he begins to actually feel bad about his past actions, and tries to make up for them, [coming across as genuinely likeable.] It also doesn't hurt that Bill may not end up being right for Kay...
For all the talk there is about Bill, he barely appears! I thought this was gonna be a big love triangle between three big actors/characters, but instead it's only between Kay and Scott, and Bill only appears in the first few minutes, and the last 15. His lack of impression doe end up making an impression though-That of someone who can't be assed/bothered writing their fiancee a single letter from Japan. When he does finally appear again, he's a fun enough presence, and almost makes up for his lengthy absence, but not quite.
The romance here is enjoyable. There's your typical 'hate turns to love' trope, but it works well enough here. I [enjoyed] just how much Kay despises Scott, and it's funny seeing how she swats him away. As the movie goes on though, they get closer, and while their getting together the first time does feel a little hurried and weird, they do share genuine chemistry as a romantic couple.
Overall, it's interesting seeing what couples used to get up to in the days before they were expected to have sex when they're just engaged.
The story is always an entertaining one, and keeps you on your toes. You're never sure which man Kay will choose or why by the film's end, whether Scott's plans will backfire, or if Bill will finally get his act together.
The ending is a thrilling enough one, although soured by Kay and Bill acting like complete assholes! Neither want to be saved from the boat's impending capsizing-Bill because he's jealous of Kay's feelings for the other man, and Kay because she refuses to be on the same boat with Scott. Hmm, didn't realise not liking someone's company was worth drowning for!
Carole Lombard is the best actor in the movie, delivering a hilarious performance Preston Foster is equally amusing as the unflappable Scott, never boring or grating on me. A shockingly American Cesar Romero is decent enough What's weirdest is how casual his reappearance is. One scene he's not back yet, and the next he already is and is hanging out with Kay. No big return at all, after a = minute gap.
Janet Beecher is amusing as Kay's nagging mother. The amusing Richard Carle only appears briefly at first, but gradually gets more screentime, and is a welcome presence. I wished Betty Lawford as the Countess got more screentime though, because we don't really know anything about her character. Mia Ichioka is fun in her supporting role as Kay's Japanese maid. And lastly, uncredited by the movie is an absolutely adorable pekinese!
The direction here by Walter Lang is very good, with creative shots, well staged scenes, and nothing looking out of place. The waterlogged finale looks great too, handled perfectly.
Love Before Breakfast has a few issues, but nothing that spoiled the movie for me. It's a hilarious watch, and a great showcase for its cast's skills.