27 March 2019 | TheLittleSongbird
Not enough love for this
My main reason for seeing 'Love Before Breakfast' was Carole Lombard, an actress who was reason enough to see anything. She was a beautiful woman and immensely gifted in particularly romantic comedy, her tragic death at too young an age was a great loss. Also love when done well comedy mixed with romance and, as said many times, the kind that has wit and sophistication. While Walter Lang has done films that have been good.
'Love Before Breakfast' could have been quite a lot better, and considering what it had going for it it should have been better. Not an awful film or a complete potential waste, also not a great film. It generally left me mixed and is really not one of the best representations of romantic comedy from this period, it is only just above middle-of-the-road. It is not one of Lombard's best, though she is a long way from disgraced here and is one of its main redeeming qualities, like it is with all her work. Lang has also done much better, my personal favourite film of his being 'The King and I'.
There are two reasons for seeing the film. One is the production values. 'Love Before Breakfast' is a really gorgeous looking film, the fashions are a sight to behold and the camera clearly loves Lombard. Even more so is Lombard, who has more than assured comic timing and elegant charm, she also is a dream to look at thanks to the photography and fashions.
Caesar Romero is also charming and suave and makes the most of a role that from personal opinion was underwritten. Janet Beecher is amusing, while there are enough moments of witty comedy (the storm at sea and horse-riding sequences are the highlight) and sophistication. The romantic elements are not sentimental or sappy, and although not sizzling as much as it should in spots it charms enough.
However, Preston Foster came over as uneven. He does make a real effort to bring likeability and appeal to his character who is anything but, and does do so when he grows into the role, and is amusing at times, but he is not always at ease with the comedy and his chemistry with Lombard doesn't always sizzle enough. Lang's direction is generally uninspired and the material doesn't really play to his strengths.
Sharper wit and a more consistent romantic chemistry would have helped, as the script is also uneven, some of it is sparkling and other parts fall flat. The story doesn't really come to life enough on the whole, apart from some great moments in the second act. It takes too long to get going, while calling it flimsy would be an understatement (not much of one at all) and there is just nothing to it. It all feels on the bland side, while the characters are hard to get behind, with some truly off-putting behaviour and over-played situations, and the ending agreed is too abrupt with resolutions being far too rushed.
In conclusion, worth a look if mainly for the production values and Lombard. 6/10