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My main disappointment with this film is the choice of leading man.
Indeed Preston Foster was primarily a straight actor and unaccustomed
to romantic comedy. I simply do not see why Carole Lombard's character,
Kay Colby would have the slightest temptation to fall in love with
Foster's character, Scott Miller, a pushy, egotistical, wiseacre.
Perhaps the moral of the tale is that if a man, no matter how
obnoxious, pursues a woman long enough, she will give in. The film
seems to start out in the middle of the story. No background is given
to explain Kay Colby's relationship with either men. And then before
you know it one of them is exiled to Japan and disappears from the
middle third of the picture.
Now the film does pick up as it goes along and entertains sufficiently with snappy dialog and boisterous incidents. The "storm at sea" scene is particularly satisfying. Perhaps due to the fact that Carole did all her own stunts, taking all the punishment herself and sparing her stand-in. However, the ending is much too abrupt. All the conflict is resolved in the last few seconds of the movie. The characters are not allowed to play out their feelings for us on screen. Perhaps it has all gone on inside their heads, but alas we have missed it. Overall this film is worth seeing once for Lombard fans, but it does not endear and fades quickly from memory.
The popularity of "Love Before Breakfast" was helped at the time from the success of Carole's previous film which was still in theaters, "Hands Across the Table". This film would signal her rise to fame and was a precursor to five straight hits in a row over the next two years.
I like Carole Lombard. I think she's one of the most talented, funny actresses ever - and, although this one could not be considered one of her classic movies, it still is fun to watch. A lot of people complain about Preston Foster's role in this movie. It's true that the chemistry they're supposed to have doesn't always work, but I don't think it's the actor's fault - the script is just not that good. It seems to me like we land into the middle of a film. Carole's fiancé is going away to Japan because Preston wants her to himself - and, because he wants her to himself, he keeps finding selfish, annoying ways to get closer. To some up, no one gets why Carole is supposed to be in love with a self-centered, egotistic man. And yet I still like this movie. I pop it up whenever I can't find anything better to do. It's easy-going, if not perfect, and it's amusing. The scene where they're taken in and we discover that Preston's punched Carole is a treat. In conclusion, Carole has made a lot of better films and some of them can be easily found now a days thanks to that great invention that is the DVD (what would we old-movie lovers do if it wasn't for that?), but this one is still worth checking out. I guess anything with her is.
The best thing one can say about LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST is that it looks
wonderful with sparkling cinematography by Ted Tetzlaff, lovely gowns
for Lombard by Travis Banton, and stunning art direction by Albert S.
D'Agostino, making one forget this film was from Universal, then not
one of the major studios and only occasionally producing "A" movies
such as this. The movie wonderfully captures the privileged life of the
rich with ocean liners, elegant New York nightclubs, weekends yachting
with friends or private horseback riding trails. There's no Depression
on this planet with executives buying $2,000 worth of charity raffle
tickets without batting an eye which surely appealed to the
considerably less comfortable general public of the era. Add to the mix
a beautiful, appealing heroine in the form of Carole Lombard and what
more could you want. Well maybe a better script, better leading men,
and more appealing characters.
Lombard stars as a socialite engaged to rising businessman Cesar Romero somewhat unaware of the obsession another acquaintance, ultra rich Preston Foster, has for her. Foster buys out the oil company Romero works for so he can give him a promotion and get him out the way - a two-year stint as a vice president in the Japan offices!! The brash, unctuous but supposedly (according to the screenwriter) agreeable Foster can't help but brag about his machinations to Lombard moments after Romero is on his way to Japan, to which Lombard is quite naturally repelled. Considerable time is then devoted to further control-freak methods by Foster to win Lombard who comes to despise the man she (accurately) calls a "little Napoleon". Eventually, he wears her down and she agrees to marry him if blatantly admitting she is not in love with him. Having won his prize, Foster is happy enough with this but soon decides he would rather win her completely so he brings Romero back to New York, but he still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
The Preston Foster character is so charmless and controlling it's good to see Lombard fighting him every step of the way but it's difficult to see any supposed "good points" the man is supposed to have. Most curious is Lombard's mother Janet Beecher favoritism for Foster of her daughter's two suitors, is it simply because he is the far richer beau? At one point late in the film Foster is actually quite indifferent to Lombard's safety which appalls Beecher if only for a moment. Couldn't she then see the real man whom her daughter was well familiar with? Lombard is terrific in this movie, raising it to the level of a fairly entertaining movie, one can imagine what a total misfire it would be without her. Some reviewers have commented she gets rather abrasive herself into the film but given her non-stop harassment in the guise of love (or more accurately, obsession) from Foster, I'd say her hostility and attitude are more than justified. Foster is quite unappealing but it's not his fault as much as the screenwriter's take on the character, although his lack of appeal is undercut by the blandness and shallowness of Lombard's other suitor, Cesar Romero. Joyce Compton has a cute bit as a visiting southern débutante whom Lombard briefly entangles in one of her payback stunts against Foster.
The movie quickly wraps things up with a quickie ending that would seem direct steal from Lombard's classic MY MAN GODFREY if not for the fact that this movie predated that legendary film by several months.
I enjoyed "Love Before Breakfast" very much and think with a slight
re-write it could have earned a 9, as it was a nice little screwball
The film begins with a very rich industrialist (Preston Foster) buying an oil company just so he can transfer a guy overseas (Cesar Romero) in order to have a chance at the girl (Carole Lombard). Now Foster isn't a total jerk--the transfer is a promotion for Romero and he's thrilled to take it. The plan is for Romero to stay in Japan for two years and then return to marry Lombard. However, it's pretty obvious that this relationship has some problems--not the least of which is the conniving Foster. Now it could be easy to dislike Foster since he is manipulative and a bit of a stalker, however, the writers did a good job making his character likable. He's rich but a pretty swell guy. Heck, I might have married him if he'd asked! But, as for Lombard, she gives him a very hard time--after all, Foster IS responsible for the boyfriend going overseas. And, after a while, she does come to like Foster and is willing to marry him instead. However, Foster isn't happy with this--after all, if Romero was home, would she still be willing to do this? So, he brings Romero back and treats him with every kindness to allow Lombard a chance to choose. Who she chooses, how and why is something you'll just have to see for yourself.
I liked this story very much, but did have a complaint about one thing. I think that Lombard's character was made a bit too volatile and annoying. It got bad enough towards the end that I could not believe that Foster would still want such a nasty...um...'lady'. As for the rest of the cast, they are quite dandy. I liked Lombard's mother and the dog (an adorable little thing), but I especially liked the small part played by Richard Carle--he wasn't in the movie a lot, but was great in the scenes where he appeared.
Overall, an enjoyable little comedy only marred, very slightly, by a female character that is, at times, just a bit too annoying and snippy. Still, give it a look--it's a nice forgotten little film.
Love Before Breakfast features an amusing love triangle between three
shallow, selfish characters, played to perfection by Carole Lombard,
Preston Foster, and Cesar Romero. Foster, a filthy rich oil baron,
"pushes buttons" to have employee Romero, Carole's fiancé, sent to
Japan, so he can move in on Carole. Carole is devastated the man she
loves is leaving her for two years, but the unworthy object of said
love has a hard time hiding his glee at the promotion the overseas job
means. Even as his ship sails with poor Carole tearfully waving
goodbye, true love Ceasar can be seen at the railing obviously enjoying
the attentions of a sexy countess, played with carnivorous exuberance
by buxom Betty Lawford. Foster's character is such an egomaniac he
smugly brags to Carole about his fiancé-to-Japan manipulation. Thus
begins the battle of wills between Carole and Foster that lasts for the
rest of this entertaining, witty, little "white telephone movie". They
take turns alternately courting and resisting each other with lots of
dirty tricks along he way. Both principles have wicked senses of humor.
Preston thinks it's hilarious when Carole gets her eye blacked in a
night club brawl she engineered. Her get-even prank is to set him up at
the local riding club with an evil tempered horse that is sure to throw
him. The entire episode at the stable is the funniest in this very
amusing picture, except perhaps for the riotous closing scene.
One of the charms of this little comedy is very strong but subtle characterization, thanks to light comedy specialist Walter Lang's expert direction and a script which was surprisingly clever, considering that it seems to have been virtually committee written. Herbert Fields gets credit for the screenplay, but with input from no less than six other writers, including Preston Sturges! Of the Carole Lombard pictures yours truly has seen, this one gives her the best character. In some of her other movies she is just too much of a dizzy dame to be appealing. Especially in My Man Godfrey (1936), in which she's so foolish and childish, she seems almost retarded. In Love Before Breakfast Carole comes off more sophisticated, clever, and witty. Never mind she is spoiled, self-centered, wishy-washy, and lazy -- she lives in a swank apartment with her well-off mother (likeable Janet Beecher) and seems to have never even considered getting a job. And of course Carole is beautiful. Her beauty is well accented by Ted Tetzlaff's gloriously luminous black and white photography, a standout job here even in an era when terrific cinematography is practically taken for granted. The left side of Carole Lombard's gorgeous face was tragically scarred in a late 1920's automobile accident. Even the best of Hollywood makeup couldn't quite cover it, so that special care had to be taken with lighting and camera angles. Tetzlaff washes Carole's closeups in tenebristic shadowing which illuminates only the right side. A generous use of soft focus for her closeups seems to have set the tone for the overall look of the picture, and a very pleasing look it is.
Love Before Breakfast is a typical example of a type of picture called "white telephone movie" in the trade. Younger people, used to telephones of all sizes, shapes, and colors, may not remember, as sadly aged oldblackandwhite does, when nearly every one of them was an unglamorous, utilitarian, flat black. Only rich folks had the glossy white ones that you had to special order and pay extra for on your telephone bill. Hence white telephone movies are about rich guys and rich babes lounging in their ritzy apartments and palatial mansions, going out to glittering night clubs, sailing on their swell yachts, and gabbing on their white telephones. Standard cinema history wisdom portrays this type of movie as especially made for the depressed poor of the Great Depression, who wanted to escape into such fantasies, rather than watch any realistic social melodrama that would remind them of their own distressed lives. The Depression may have made white telephone movies more popular all right, but please note that the same type of picture was very popular in the 1920's, a period of previously unexampled prosperity, and continues to to be popular in various altered forms to this day.
Love Before Breakfast is a solid white telephone job. Charming cast, clever story, plush sets, sensuous cinematography, witty, amusing dialog, fast pacing, and funny gags. A lot of glossy, smooth Old Hollywood entertainment packed into and hour and ten minutes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Carole Lombard learns the truth about the thin line between love and
hate in this screwball comedy about two people who hate each other so
much they can't bear to be without the other. The passion Lombard feels
for business executive Preston Foster (who has arranged for her fiancée
Cesar Romero to go to Japan on business for two years) is based upon
contempt, but that is all a facade to hide a love she refuses to
acknowledge simply because they are so much alike. As it is, Romero is
a bit of a yutz, and the women Foster becomes involved with are
basically idiots anyway. Lombard challenges him, goes head to head with
him over every screwy scheme he gets her involved in, and ends up with
a black eye to boot! This gives her an excuse to emulate Dietrich with
a hat covering the shiner and later almost drowns because of her
stubbornness in not accepting his hospitality on his larger yacht,
preferring to risk being swept out to sea on Romero's tinier boat that
rocks and rolls as huge waves threaten to capsize it.
Foster isn't the ideal screwball comedy lead, but is surprisingly good as the rascally businessman who gets what he wants, and that includes Lombard. He even leaves important business decisions to his board after fighting with him after learning she has arrived to see him. Romero is wasted in his "sap" role, while Janet Beecher seems out of place as Lombard's Billie Burke like mother. Dog lovers will adore the cute Pekinese pup that Foster sends Lombard (which Beecher adopts). While the film overall is unextraordinary, it is still a pleasing if improbably comedy that is rarely made anymore, filled with romance, zany dialog and a likable heroine that seldomly appears in films today.
Carole Lombard steals any film that she's in and this film is no exception. Yes, she played Kay Colby, a wealthy bored heiress. She is expected to marry Cesar Romero's character who takes off for months to Japan on a work assignment for his boss, Scott Miller (played by Preston Foster). Scott Miller and Kay Colby have a love and hate relationship during her fiancé's absence. I don't think that Scott Miller was that bad. The best scenes take place when Kay and her fiancé are on their small boat in the waters while Miller does his best to assist his employee and his fiancé during a storm. But Kay is stubborn to admit any feelings for Scott Miller. I thought the scene at the restaurant with her fiancé where the table get circling but annoying. The film is a slapstick comedy during the old studio system and when stars like Lombard made several films a year. Not all films were gems but this one is entertaining though after all.
I love Lombard as much as the next person. What's not to love? But this
movie is shocking. I liked Kay Colby for 30 or so minutes, but then, as
she became more angry, shrill, and mean, I came to thoroughly dislike
the brat. Yet, even drenched, sneezing, and bundled in a too-big
bathrobe,running wild and out of control, she's gorgeous, which is
apparently why Foster is besotted with her. Her escalating infantile
behavior should have been a wake-up call to her suitor that he'd best
run for the hills, but instead he rustles up a minister and marries
her, while she protests in the marriage vows that she will not obey. I
see a quickie Reno divorce hot on the heels of the honeymoon.
Preston Foster is much criticized for not being as charming as Cary Grant, or as attractively domineering as Clark Gable, but I thought his performance was fine. However, the character he played was not so fine. Back in the 30s women may have thought it was romantic to be so desired that a suitor would go to any lengths to win her, but today it looks like stalking. Still, I warmed up to him when he said he was breaking their engagement because he wanted her to be in love with him. This was an interesting plot turn but the scriptwriters fell down on the job by not developing this. Instead, they made Lombard's character unlikeable, and that's not a nice thing to do to any star, let alone Lombard.
Last Night I watched A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011)a movie that
supposedly represents a modern day romantic comedy, I didn't get one
laugh and the bevy of actresses in that movie all combined couldn't
compare to Carole Lombard.
I love Lombard's movies she's always entertaining as well as strikingly beautiful, this movie came out the same year as "My Man Godfrey" and while this movie can't compare to Godfrey I think Carole with her starring role in this film is more of a showcase for her. The plot is nothing special, spoiled rich girl and powerful businessman go head to head, but it's the performances especially the chemistry between Lombard and Preston that make this movie worth seeing.
Having now watched Universal’s CAROLE LOMBARD: THE GLAMOUR COLLECTION
in its entirety, I can say that of the 6 films included two are
classics – HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE (1935) and TRUE CONFESSION (1937) –
two more are lesser efforts but still delightful – WE’RE NOT DRESSING
(1934) and THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (1936) – while the remaining two
titles are essentially routine and wouldn’t have stood a chance had
they been released on their own (the set being devoid of any
substantial extras, they could then be considered as such).
That is not to say that this particular vehicle (which I wasn’t familiar with) isn’t a pleasant diversion per se – at 70 minutes, it’s certainly innocuous enough; still, comparing it to the comic gems on offer in this set, it definitely comes up lacking! To begin with, there’s nothing remotely original about either plot (Lombard is torn between two men – one is wealthy and conceited but genuinely in love, the other is ambitious and something of a playboy) or setting (high society); true, this type of romantic comedy was typical for Depression-era America – but it’s among the most trivial examples of escapist fare that I’ve watched!
Besides, Lombard is let down by her leading men – after all, Preston Foster and Cesar Romero are hardly Fred MacMurray and Ralph Bellamy (who played similar, but more rounded, characters in HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE)...and the same thing can be said of director Walter Lang (here demonstrating little of the style conveyed by Mitchell Leisen throughout HANDS, or even the inspired craziness of TRUE CONFESSION). Actually, the whole enterprise feels invincibly second-rate: however, one shouldn’t blame this on the change in studio from Paramount (which made all the other titles in this set) to Universal because, truth be told, Lombard’s next outing – MY MAN GODFREY (1936; also released by the latter) – proved to be one of her best films!
LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST, then, features all the typical ingredients: love/hate relationship, misunderstanding, embarrassment, romantic threat, etc. Richard Carle appears as an elderly gentleman who, in spite of being a bachelor, offers Foster advice on his amorous situation; climaxing with an unconvincing storm at sea, this sequence is nonetheless capped by an amusing – and most unconventional – wedding ceremony presided over by familiar character actor E. E. Clive!
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