7.5/10
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23 user 14 critic

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:

Mitchell Leisen

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Boyer ... Georges Iscovescu
Olivia de Havilland ... Emmy Brown
Paulette Goddard ... Anita Dixon
Victor Francen ... Van Den Luecken
Walter Abel ... Inspector Hammock
Curt Bois ... Bonbois
Rosemary DeCamp ... Berta Kurz
Eric Feldary ... Josef Kurz
Nestor Paiva ... Fred Flores
Eva Puig Eva Puig ... Lupita
Micheline Cheirel ... Christine
Madeleine Lebeau ... Anni
Billy Lee ... Tony
Mikhail Rasumny ... Mechanic
Charles Arnt ... 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:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

26 September 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Memo to a Movie Director See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Academy Award Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on July 31, 1946 with Olivia de Havilland reprising her film role. See more »

Goofs

Boyer pulls over to read a sign on a pole over the road. However the writing is on the north side of the sign , he stops south of it and could not need it- The writing on the north of the sign is on the wrong side of the highway as its above the highway 101 north lanes, and would not be visible from the opposite, southbound lanes. See more »

Quotes

Georges Iscovescu: Do you believe in premonitions? When a black wave breaks over you and you suddenly know something terrible's going to happen? In my ears was the screeching of brakes, of tires taking a wild curve, before my eyes, with the foot on the gas pedal, pressing it down.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Released prints for the Latin American markets included on-screen credits for technical advisors Padre Canseco, Ernesto A. Romero and assistant director Francisco Alonso. See more »

Connections

Remade as Lux Video Theatre: Hold Back the Dawn (1954) 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

 
Green card
19 April 2004 | by jotix100See all my reviews

It is curious how times change. More than 60 years ago, people fleeing Europe went to Mexico to try to gain access to the United States. Today, instead of going the legal route, they would probably hire a coyote to take them to the other side of the border! The more things change, the more they stay the same.

This film is interesting because of the screen play by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, although the IMDB only lists the latter one as the writer. It is a mistake to bypass the great Billy Wilder, when we see his imprint everywhere in the movie.

The movie begins with a disheveled Charles Boyer going to the Paramount lot to talk to the director, Mitchell Leisen. Boyer's character, George Iscovescu, has met the director in the Riviera and comes to beg for a loan of $500, a tidy sum in those days. From there the story unfolds.

George quickly learns after arriving in the border town, that because being Rumanian he must wait about 8 years to enter the United States because of immigration quotas. He quickly learns the only way to make it across the border is if he would marry an American woman, and voila!, Emmy Brown, just happens to come to spend the 4th of July holiday with her students, thus his chance to make it in a legal way.

The cast of the film is excellent. Charles Boyer, in spite of not being upfront with the naive Emmy, doesn't make us hate him. He redeems himself at the end. Olivia de Havilland was perfect for the immature Emmy. She falls in love with a man that is trying to use her as his ticket to the promised land. Paulette Goddard, as Anita was very good. Walter Abel is the despised Inspector Hammock, the immigration officer everyone in town hates.

Don't miss it either on tape or DVD format.


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