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Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 26 September 1941 (USA)
Stopped in Mexico by U.S. Immigration, Georges Iscovescu hopes to get into the country by marrying a citizen.

Director:

Writers:

(story "Memo to a Movie Producer"), | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rosemary DeCamp ...
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Eva Puig ...
Lupita
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Christine
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Anni
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Tony
Mikhail Rasumny ...
Mechanic
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Mr. John MacAdams
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Storyline

Told in flashback from a preface in which the main character visits Paramount to sell his story! Romanian-French gigolo Georges Iscovescu wishes to enter the USA. Stopped in Mexico by the quota system, he decides to marry an American, then desert her and join his old partner Anita, who's done likewise. But after sweeping teacher Emmy Brown off her feet, he finds her so sweet that love and jealousy endanger his plans. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 September 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Memo to a Movie Director  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 31, 1948 with Charles Boyer again reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

When Anita is sitting on Georges' lap at the typewriter, a moving shadow of the boom microphone can be seen in the mirror behind them. See more »

Quotes

Georges Iscovescu: [having just let Anita know that he prefers the company of Emmy] You've got enough money to get you back to New York. I'll find you there when I'm ready.
Anita Dixon: Thanks! You just stand right in the middle of Times Square ... and whistle!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in You're the One (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(1792) (uncredited)
Music by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Played by the band during the celebration near the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
great story
24 February 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland star in "Hold Back the Dawn," a 1941 film also starring Paulette Goddard, Walter Abel, and Rosemary de Camp.

This film is an A all the way - the cast, the script by Wilder and Brackett, and direction by Mitchell Liesen, all great.

The story is about immigrants stuck in Mexico as they wait to get into the United States, most of them living at the Hotel Esperanza. There's a quota, and depending on what country you're from, the quota can mean a long wait.

"Hold Back the Dawn" is told in flashback, beginning with Boyer, as Roumanian Georges Iscovescu, approaching someone at Paramount, trying to sell his story. It begins with Iscovescu, a gigolo, in Mexico, hoping to get into the U.S. and being told by the immigration consul (Walter Abel) that he has to wait.

His old partner in crime, Anita (Paulette Goddard) shows up -- the two have quite a love 'em or leave 'em operation going. When schoolteacher Emmy Brown shows up with some students on a tour, he sweeps her off her feet and marries her so he can have citizenship. The idea is to then dump Emmy and meet Anita back in New York where they can take up their scam again.

Georges can't return to the states with Emmy immediately, there's a waiting period, and Georges plans to go to her home town and let her down easy before going to New York. But she shows up on a school break to spend the week with him.

De Havilland is wonderful as a the pretty, naive Emmy, who falls in love with Georges. As the cold Georges, Boyer is very convincing as a man who turns the charm on and off like a faucet, but as he gets to know Emmy, he starts to thaw. Goddard is vivacious and beautiful as Anita, in love with Georges herself and not wanting anyone else in the way.

In a supporting role, Rosemary Camp is Bertha Kurz, a pregnant woman determined that her child will be born in the United States. An underrated actress, DeCamp was a TV mainstay through the '70s and did many appearances in the '80s as well. Accents were her specialty. She turns in a lovely performance here. Walter Abel is good as the harried counsel.

The Mexican town and beat-up hotel make for a perfect atmosphere where people exist while waiting to begin their lives in the U.S. A beautiful film with a script by a man who knew well what it meant to be an immigrant, Billy Wilder. A little off the beaten track from his more usual fare, but no less brilliant.


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