CLFP: “Love Before Breakfast” (1936)












Owing to the classy title, stellar cast, and the surprise thrill I got from Hands Across the Table, I had high hopes for this low budget comedy starring Lombard, Cesar Romero, and Preston Foster. This is a screwball yarn about a young woman pursued by two men–her fiancé who suddenly takes a job in Japan, and a wealthy businessman who takes the opportunity of her fiancé’s absence to court her vigorously. He seems to show up everywhere she does, and the young woman is disinterested to say the least. Just as the businessman begins to get the hint, the young woman finds that she has fallen in love with him and the tables are turned.

That is about as much of the plot as I can muster up. It’s definitely a vehicle solely to show the beauty of its stars, with little attention paid to the plot or the plausibility of the story. I had a difficult time watching it, as I simply could not follow the seemingly arbitrary sequence of scenes or the flimsy, poorly developed plot. It feels like an incomplete film, as though some vital scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.

The movie was inspired by a work from Faith Baldwin, the noted early 20th century novelist. She is credited at the start of the film as the author of the novel on which this story was based, but in fact no novel was ever published. Love Before Breakfast was a short story in a magazine written by Baldwin that never expanded into novel form.

A redeeming quality of this movie is, indeed, the sheer beauty of Carole Lombard. There is one scene in which the character receives a very authentic-looking black eye. The beauty of Carole Lombard is completely unfettered, even appearing in raggedy clothes with the black eye, she displays a radiant glamor that was unmatched.

Poster art of Lombard with the black eye.

Thanks for reading, see you next time!


8 responses to “CLFP: “Love Before Breakfast” (1936)

  1. When you write that Carole’s character was “disinterested”, do you mean she was uninterested?

  2. Uh-oh, grammar police! 🙂 Actually, as I understand it, both “uninterested” and “disinterested” work in this context–Merriam Webster defines “disinterested” primarily as: “1a : not having the mind or feelings engaged : not interested”

    But “uninterested” works too, so I guess we’re both right!

    Thanks for your comment, I take pride in my grammar so whenever there’s a question I head right over to look it up!

  3. I’m ‘interested.’ Nice exposition on an obscure picture, with strong background offering a solid feel for the era and the film. So taken with your confident writing.

  4. Thank you, I’ve had some good professional guidance!

  5. “Love Before Breakfast” isn’t a bad film — certainly not as lackluster as “The Gay Bride” or her worst star vehicle, “Fools For Scandal” — but there really isn’t much to hang your hat on. Thankfully, that could never be said of the second film Lombard made for Universal, later that year.

  6. To me it’s just flat. Not as outright bad as some other movies I’ve seen, just…not very engaging. And yes, agreed about the second picture from Universal! I’m going to try to profile that one next…I’m in need of some quality Carole! I feel like the last two movies were a bit of a damper on the blog.

  7. Ohhh, so THIS is the disinterested vs. uninterested piece! Well, as a writer myself, I am dis-appointed and dis-turbed that someone would find in your work only a silly (and wrong) thing to comment upon. I jist thought yer article was interestin’, honest and done showed good writin’. LOL! I’ve never seen this one, but it doesn’t sound as if I missed anything either. Of course, Carole is a right good-lookin female always. I done liked it!

  8. Thanks Becky! Yeah you didn’t miss much with this one, as Vince pointed out it’s not a downright BAD movie, just very flat and without much depth. Thanks for your nice comment!

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