38 user 5 critic

Idiot's Delight (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 27 January 1939 (USA)
A group of disparate travelers are caught are thrown together in a posh Alpine hotel when the borders are closed at the start of WWII.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Madame Zuleika
'Don' Navadel (as Skeets Gallagher)
Peter Willes ...
William Edmunds ...
Shirley Laughlin
Francine Merle
Beulah Tremayne


When song-and-dance man Harry Van returns from World War I, he finds work hard to come by. His greatest success comes as straight man in a phony vaudeville mind-reading act with the tipsy Madame Zulieka. While on tour in Omaha he meets acrobat Irene Fellara, and they have a brief romance. Twenty years later while Harry is on tour in Europe with a troupe of leggy blonde dancers, his train is stopped at the Swiss border and he finds himself stranded in the Alps in anticipation of World War II hostilities. Harry and his chorines take refuge in an Alpine hotel with a group of disparate travelers who are also marooned there. Among them are an American pacifist, British newlyweds, a cancer researcher, a German munitions manufacturer, and a beautiful blonde expatriate Russian aristocrat who looks suspiciously like the Irene of two decades earlier. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Biggest Thrill They Ever Gave You! Norma and Clark together in the romance of a "ham" song-and-dance man and a "red-headed liar from Omaha." See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

27 January 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az élet komédiása  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Greta Garbo was first offered the role of Irene Fellara. She turned it down. See more »


During the air battle in the ending shot for the international market the background film is clearly looped since the same twin-tailed airplane (similar to an American P-38) flies past the window 8 times. See more »


Harry Van: Give me a cup of coffee and some donuts. What'll you have, babe?
Irene Fellara: Oyster stew.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The actresses who play "Les Blondes" are not credited individually; they are given the credit "Harry Van's 'Les Blondes'......Themselves", similar to the manner in which the "Munchkins" were credited in "The Wizard of Oz", another film released that year by M-G-M. See more »


Referenced in Electrical Power (1938) See more »


Music by Lee S. Roberts
Words by J. Will Callahan
Played when the truck has to stop for the parade
See more »

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User Reviews

This movie is the best
18 April 2001 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This is one of my favorite movies. Norma Shearer is incredible in this film. Norma in those Adrian gowns camping it up to the hilt. Who could ask for more? See it if you get the chance. This movie is right up there with the likes of "Red Dust" and "Cain and Mabel".

15 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The two endings ziegfeldgirl1941
Are both endings on the DVD from Warner Archives? pms1962
DVD now available directly from Warner's webpage! simonhowson
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