History is Made at Night

This wonderful film (from 1937, directed by Frank Borzage) starts out as a screwball comedy and twenty minutes into the film turns out to be a griping melodrama of the type no longer made.  Starring Charles Boyer (as Paul Dumond, “head waiter”) and Jean Arthur (as Irene Vail, beautiful, wealthy but very unhappily married) with Colin Clive (as her extremely jealous and possessive husband Bruce Vail), the story revolves around the classic film formula — boy meets (in this case “saves”) girl, falls instantly in love, loses girl due to apparently uncontrollable circumstances, wins her back only for the two of them to encounter a life ending tragedy which is (spoiler alert!) miraculously overcome for the typical happy ending! The romantic (very stylish) scenes in the film are the best and reminiscent of “Love Affair” and “An Affair to Remember”.  The comedic spark to the film is fanned by Paul’s close friend Chef Caesar, play by Leo Carrillo (most often remembered for his role as Poncho in The Cisco Kid TV series).  Colin Clive is remarkably evil as the film’s villain – it’s easy to despise him in every scene he plays.  We would never have come across this film if it wasn’t for Eddie Muller (Film Noir Foundation leader extraordinaire) who mentioned it on one of TCM’s Feel Good Films segments as a “film that makes him happy every time he watches it”.  We agree, Eddie.  Thanks for turning us on to it – we give it Top Rating/Worth the Price rating.  PS – it’s not easy to find this film; however, it you don’t mind watching it in parts (4), it’s free and available currently on YouTube.

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