Friday, July 6, 2018

Breakfast after love

I mentioned some time back that one of my DVD purchases was a Carole Lombard box set. One of the movies on it I hadn't heard of when I bought the movie was Love Before Breakfast.

Lombard gets top billing as Kay Colby, a New York socialite who is engaged to Bill Wadsworth (Cesar Romero), a middle manager in a petroleum company. HOwever, the engagement it about to hit a snag, as Bill is to be sent to Japan for two years in an executive capacity that would mean more money and a better position, except that he's going to be away from his fiancée for those two years. Now, if you watch the opening credits you'll note that Romero is billed third, behind Lombard and Preston Foster, which should perhaps give you an inkling that there's something about the relationship that's just not meant to be.

As for Foster, he plays Scott Miller, the head of the petroleum company who has transferred Bill to Japan. On the night that Bill is to get on the boat (you'd think he'd take a train across country and then the boat from San Francisco to Japan), Scott runs into Bill and Kay, helps Bill get on the boat, and then invites Kay to dinner! Not only that, but Scott starts putting the moves on Kay! Wow what an operator.

Eventually Scott reveals that he bought the company just so he could transfer Bill and try to pursue Kay without interference from Bill. Kay, for her part, is understandably pissed about it, and the discussion in the restaurant eventually leads to a fight between Scott and some college football players that leaves Kay with the black eye you see in the poster. Kay still wants Bill, although that opinion is about to soften when Bill telegraphs Kay that he likes his position in Japan and is going to stay the two years.

At that point, Kay thinks Bill is giving up on her, so she reluctantly turns to Scott, agreeing to marry him even though she's open that she doesn't love him. One can guess that she's going to try to turn the tables on Scott. Scott relents slightly: he's willing to bring Bill back to the States so that Scott can prove that he's really the right one for Kay.

It goes on like this, up until the fairly sudden resolution. Love Before Breakfast is a reasonably good idea, but I found that it's one of the lesser Lombard movies I've seen. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that none of the characters are particularly sympathetic. Scott is obviously a jerk if he's willing to buy a company just so he can screw another man out of his girl. But when Kay says she's willing to marry Scott, she too changes and becomes rather less likable. Bill, for his part, is too much of a weakling in the final scenes after he comes back to the States.

It's nice, though, that a movie like Love Before Breakfast is available on a box set with a bunch of other movies, even if it is a bare-bones set. The TCM Shop also says that Universal's MOD scheme has released the disk as a standalone, although that's rather more expensive.

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