Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Romance


Hold Back the Dawn (1941) Poster

Stopped in Mexico by U.S. Immigration, Georges Iscovescu hopes to get into the country by marrying a citizen.

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7.5/10
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  • Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
  • Olivia de Havilland in Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
  • Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
  • Olivia de Havilland, Charles Boyer, and Paulette Goddard in Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
  • Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
  • Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

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User Reviews


18 January 2007 | dbdumonteil
9
| Send these ,the homeless,tempest-tost to me/I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
How can you be French and not love this film? First the lead is French;and in a small supporting part,there is Victor Francen,one of Julien Duvivier's ("La Fin Du Jour ",1939) and Abel Gance's ("J'accuse" 1918 and 1937) favorite actors.Plus "La Marseillaise " in the final sequences.Plus Olivia De Havilland who has been living in Paris for years.Except for Bertrand Tavernier,most of FRench critics do not speak highly of Mitchell Leisen's overlooked gem.

This is the kind of superior melodrama I love.Olivia De Havilland is one of the greatest actresses of all time,one of those who never think twice when it comes to playing demeaning parts.She is so moving,so tender and so endearing that beauty Paulette Goddard almost leaves me indifferent.And I wonder why Boyer...

The very structure of the film is highly original,being a long flashback,the hero telling his story (perhaps too much voice over) to a director to earn money (but we will know why in the last minutes )because he thinks all his trials can make a great film!Truth can be stranger than fiction cause he is in a film himself! The subject of the movie is still topical today when you see so many people leaving their country for the wealthy ones (not only America:in France ,Russians and others are actually fighting to get French citizenship).For that matter,one of the peaks is when Victor Francen declaims Emma Lazarus's poem which is graven on a tablet within the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands.There are subplots and Mitchell Leisen's talent manages to make them as interesting as the three leads .You may remember the lady who wants his baby to be an American and the way she makes her dream come true,maybe more than Boyer/Havilland's honeymoon.

A honeymoon that takes them to an old Mexican village where they go to mass,with a candle in their hand.A scene that recalls Murnau's "daybreak" .

Emmy (De Havilland) is a woman who has never known love.She really wants to hold back the dawn ,to make her dream longer than the night.She gave all she had and she 's so altruistic she even returns good for evil.When she realizes that she's through with her pursuit of happiness,she simply puts her glasses.

I had seen Leisen's film when I was still a child.I saw it last night.With the same pleasure.

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