For Reel

Love Before Breakfast (1936)
June 3, 2015, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Walter Lang
2.5 Stars
Love Before BreakfastThe poster for Universal’s Love Before Breakfast features an illustration of star Carole Lombard with a shiner on her left eye. It’s an image that reads differently now than it did in 1936, which might be true for the rest of the picture–this is one of those romantic comedies that can just as well be classified as a stalker thriller. Preston Foster plays a millionaire so enchanted by Lombard that he purchases the oil company that her fiancé (Cesar Romero) works at with the intention of sending him to Japan. Later, while knowing full well that she doesn’t match his interest, he proposes a marriage arrangement just so that he can claim ownership over her. This being a romantic comedy, eventually she does fall for the sociopath, although one can’t be sure why. The misguided premise is only amplified by Foster’s imposing, charmless presence. He’s dull and threatening, swallowed whole by Lombard’s screwball talents. As with many comedies of its ilk, the picture descends into insanity by the end, and the best moments in the film are watching Lombard take on the manic energy that the genre demands. She also benefits from some remarkable gowns (Lombard brought along costume designer Travis Banton and cinematographer Ted Tetzlaff from Paramount for this Universal Picture), including a knockout dress adorned with feathers, pearls, and capped off with a preposterously large mane of feathers.

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