Monday, May 31, 2021



TIMESLIP is a 1955 British science-fiction film known as THE ATOMIC MAN in the U.S. There's not much sci-fi here--the movie is more a tale of Cold War industrial espionage. 

A man is dragged out of the Thames, with a bullet in his back. Doctors save the man, but for seven and a half seconds he is clinically dead on the operating table. The police have no idea who the man is, but a noisy magazine reporter named Delaney (Gene Nelson) recognizes him as esteemed scientist Steven Rayner (Peter Arne). However, another man claiming to be Steven Rayner is working at a nearby research facility--and he looks exactly like the man pulled from the Thames. The mysterious man from the river gives strange answers to the questions the authorities put to him, and it is soon discovered that the man is seven and a half seconds in the future--exactly the same amount of time he was "dead" while being operated on. Delaney and his photographer girlfriend (Faith Domergue) continue to investigate, and find that the real Rayner is a pawn in a scheme to protect the finances of a large corporation. 

TIMESLIP tries to have a Quatermass-like feel, with black & white shadowy compositions, and a reality based look at a fantastic situation. The lead character, however, isn't a crusading scientist, but the annoying reporter played by Gene Nelson. With his Leo Gorcey-style hat, trench coat, and brash personality, Nelson here resembles a character from a 1930s or 1940s Poverty Row feature. In the climax Nelson's Delaney turns into an action hero, taking on all the bad guys by himself--a sequence that is hard to buy into. Science-fiction stalwarts such as Richard Carlson or Richard Denning would have been a much better choice for the role of Delaney. 

Faith Domergue has very little to do in this film, other than be constantly exasperated by Delaney (an attitude no doubt shared by the audience). One wonders what her character even sees in the guy. None of the supporting cast get much of a chance to shine, but Vic Perry as the main bad guy does have a resemblance to Laird Cregar. "Carry On" veteran Charles Hawtrey and Paul Hardtmuth, who played Professor Bernstein in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, have small roles. 

The premise of a man existing seven seconds ahead in the future is an intriguing one, but the script for TIMESLIP doesn't make effective use of it. The explanation for why Rayner has this condition actually comes off pretty well (hint--it has to do with radiation). The film should have spent much more time on Rayner's status instead of Delaney's antics. TIMESLIP is unique in that the bad guys are working for a major corporation, instead of being aliens or spies from a foreign power. 

TIMESLIP was directed by Ken Hughes, who would go on the make a few notable big-budget pictures in the 1960s, such as CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. He didn't have much of a budget here--there's no major special effects sequences, and the sets are very standard for the 1950s. The story would have served better as the basis for an episode of a TV anthology series. 

Sunday, May 23, 2021



A Jess Franco movie starring Christopher Lee is one thing. But....a Jess Franco movie starring Christopher Lee--and Mark Hamill?? And one where Hamill plays a Wehrmacht officer during WWII?? The movie is NIGHT OF THE EAGLES, an extremely obscure (and extremely low budget) European production from 1989. 

Top-billed Christopher Lee plays Walter Strauss, a proud, successful German businessman. The year is 1939, and Strauss believes the coming war will make his country rich and powerful. Strauss' young attractive daughter Lillian (Alexandra Erlich) is torn between two men who are in love with her--Peter (Mark Hamill), who is already in the military, and Karl (Ramon Estevez, billed as Ramon Sheen), a composer who has no love for war. Peter and Karl are both sent off to fight on the Eastern front, while Lillian, after a brief stint as a cabaret performer, joins the military to contribute to the war effort. Lillian experiences a number of horrible events while near the front lines, while also becoming estranged from her father. Peter and Karl both come to tragic ends, as does the Strauss family and the Third Reich. 

Jess Franco directed and co-wrote this film, so one would naturally expect a lurid Naziplotation flick--but this isn't. The movie is one of the more "normal" stories Franco ever made (this film could play uncut on prime time American TV). The more rabid among the director's fans would no doubt say that it's too normal. The movie revolves around Alexandra Erlich as Lillian, and what happens to her is standard melodramatic stuff. Even the scenes of her as a cabaret performer are rather generic (especially for a director like Franco). Erlich isn't terrible--she's better than the script--but she's no Marlene Dietrich, and she doesn't have the screen presence of legendary Franco leading ladies such as Maria Rohm and Soledad Miranda. 

Christopher Lee gives a serious, committed performance as a distinguished German patriarch who sadly sees his entire world slowly crumble around him. One wishes Lee had more screen time--his character is far more interesting than anyone else in the story. Mark Hamill comes off better than expected, although seeing him decked out in a German military uniform is disconcerting. The major weak link in this film is Ramon Estevez (Martin Sheen's other other son), who is totally unconvincing as a WWII era German. 

One would assume that Jess Franco wanted NIGHT OF THE EAGLES to be a serious WWII drama, but he didn't have the budget to pull it off. The war scenes in this picture appear to come from other films, and they are haphazardly edited into the main story. A number of extras and background characters have 1980s hairstyles and wear 1980s fashions, while accents are all over the place (I'm sure most of the dialogue was dubbed in). Franco does have to be given credit for not portraying any of the main characters as goose-stepping over-the-top maniacs--for the most part they are believable human beings (of course in today's political climate some might say that's a detriment). NIGHT OF THE EAGLES is also known as LA CHUTE DES AIGLES and FALL OF THE EAGLES (the latter is a much more fitting title). 

A company called Full Moon Features has released NIGHT OF THE EAGLES on both DVD and Blu-ray. I purchased the DVD version from Edward R. Hamilton Booksellers at a discount price. The disc case claims that the transfer is totally uncut, and remastered from the original 35mm camera negative. The movie looks very inconsistent here--some sequences are better than others, and the stock footage stands out like a sore thumb. The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and some of the shot compositions seem a bit off (insert your own "Well, Jess Franco was the director" joke here). The running time is 85 minutes--as with any Franco film, your guess is as good as mine on whether it is the "uncut" version. 

Two sound mixes are offered--5.1 and 2.0 stereo. I watched the film with the 5.1 mix, and if anything it exposed the weakness of the material--there's an audible hiss that runs throughout the entire film. The DVD had no extras pertaining to the title. This is a feature that cries out for an informed audio commentary, as I'm sure it had a complicated production history. 

I knew absolutely nothing about NIGHT OF THE EAGLES before I watched it for the first time. In his book on Christopher Lee's film career, Jonathan Rigby only gives it a brief mention. I also own a couple books on WWII movies that make no mention of it at all. It will get some attention due to the presence of Lee and Mark Hamill, but the two men are only together in a brief scene, and I don't think they even exchanged dialogue. One assumes that since this is a Jess Franco movie, it will be either outlandish or ridiculous--but this is merely mediocre. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

WILD GEESE II On Blu-ray From Kino


Made in a decade known for outlandish, cheesy action flicks, WILD GEESE II (1985) is a rather straightforward adventure/espionage tale that might have been more entertaining if it had been cheesier. 

In 1982, a large news network hires mercenary John Haddad (Scott Glenn) to spring Rudolf Hess (Laurence Olivier) out of Spandau Prison in Berlin. The network executives believe the elderly Nazi Hess has plenty of secrets to reveal. Haddad reluctantly takes the job, accompanied by a network producer (Barbara Carrera). Haddad gathers a team together, including his close friend (Edward Fox). But there's plenty of others who want to use Hess for their own ends, and Haddad also has old enemies gunning for him. 

The original 1978 THE WILD GEESE was a financial hit for producer Euan Lloyd, and he had long wanted to do a sequel. Lloyd had even signed up Richard Burton to reprise his role from THE WILD GEESE, but the actor died right before production was to begin. Edward Fox was brought on, but instead of playing Burton's role, he plays Burton's brother (honestly the character could have been anybody). 

WILD GEESE II is competently made, but there's nothing in it that particularly stands out, other than the plot and the cast. Robert Webber plays a network executive, Patrick Stewart has a small role as a Russian general, and Ingrid Pitt is one of Haddad's enemies (her character is billed as "The Hooker"). Laurence Olivier doesn't show up until the very end, portraying a feeble and confused Hess. Scott Glenn overdoes the "inscrutable taciturn action hero" bit, so much so that it's hard to get all that worked up over what happens to him. 

It's also hard for a viewer to get all that worked up over the main characters' goal of breaking a notorious Nazi out of prison. There's plenty of complications put in Haddad's way (the author of the book the original THE WILD GEESE was based on, Daniel Carney, and that film's screenwriter, Reginald Rose, provided the story here as well). Seemingly everyone in Berlin knows what Haddad is up to, and wants to either help or hinder him. There's even a unlikely romance between Glenn and Barbara Carrera (they even get a bedroom scene together). All of these things just slow the movie down--it clocks in at a little over two hours. 

WILD GEESE II was directed by Peter Hunt, with cinematography by Michael Reed. The duo had done the same chores for ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, a movie much better than this one. WILD GEESE II isn't bad, but it's a very standard outing for an era dominated by Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Cannon Films. The movie does make extensive use of various Berlin locations--this is a great time capsule of what the city was like in the 1980s before the Wall came down. 

Kino claims that the transfer used for this Blu-ray comes from a brand new 2K master, but from my point of view the picture quality looks a bit flat. The movie is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. 

The main extra is a new audio commentary featuring Steve Mitchell and Howard S. Berger. The duo are fans of the film, and they point out how different it is from most action thrillers of the era. A trailer for the film is included as well, narrated by Patrick Allen. 

WILD GEESE II is really just a sequel in name only--it has very little in common with THE WILD GEESE. Film buffs will be more interested in the cast and crew, while fans of Cold War era-adventure tales should note that there's not much high-powered action in it. 

Monday, May 17, 2021



Until recently, I had only seen this 1973 film once--on a "CBS Late Night at the Movies" broadcast, probably sometime in the 1980s. I didn't remember much about it, other than I was disappointed with Christopher Lee's small role. My latest viewing of DARK PLACES didn't improve my judgement of it. 

An old man named Andrew Marr dies at an English asylum, and he leaves his abandoned manor to an Edward Foster (Robert Hardy). Foster finds out from the late man's solicitor (Herbert Lom) that Marr may have hidden over 200,000 pounds somewhere on the estate. Marr's old residence is reputed to be haunted--the man's wife, two children, and a governess were presumed to have been murdered there. Edward intends to fix the place up, while searching for the loot. A local doctor (Christopher Lee) and his sister (Joan Collins) want the money as well--the sister starts to seduce Edward. Strange occurrences start happening inside the house, and Edward begins to have flashbacks in which he "becomes" Andrew Marr in the past. Is someone trying to drive Edward mad--or is he loony to begin with?

DARK PLACES has a lot of notable actors in the cast, and it is directed by Don Sharp, who made a number of excellent English Gothic films in the 1960s. But the film's script is very thin--it feels more like an episode of a British TV mystery show than a full-fledged feature. Lee and Lom have very little to do (their parts could have been played by anybody). Collins gives another one of her patented "conniving tease" performances. 

For better or worse, this is Robert Hardy's show. The problem is that Edward Foster is not an engaging enough character to maintain a viewer's interest (he's as mysterious as the main story). There's a lot of footage of Hardy wandering around the Marr house, reacting to things that can't be seen. Hardy also plays the younger Andrew Marr in the flashback scenes, which are confusing. (In these sequences Jean Marsh plays Marr's wife, and Jane Birkin plays the young governess Marr is having an affair with.) 

The flashback scenes seem to suggest that Edward is somehow possessed by Marr's spirit, but this isn't made very clear. It's also never explained why Edward looks exactly like the painting of a younger Marr that hangs inside the manor. I expected a twist ending where a rational explanation is given for all the events, but it never comes. The climax provides more questions than answers. 

There was one thing about DARK PLACES that stuck out for me. At one point Edward is breaking through a wall, searching for the money, when a group of fake bats fly out of it. I immediately thought of the climax of another, more famous Don Sharp-directed film--Hammer's THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE. 

Considering all the talent involved in it, DARK PLACES should have turned out to be a much better film. 

Friday, May 14, 2021



ARIZONA is a 1940 Western, produced by Columbia, and starring one of my favorites, Jean Arthur. 

During the Civil War era, a tough, independent-minded woman named Phoebe Titus (Jean Arthur) starts a freight company in the growing community of Tucson. Phoebe is an ambitious woman who goes after what she wants, including a handsome cowboy named Peter Muncie (William Holden). Phoebe eventually convinces Pete to settle down with her and start up a cattle ranch--but the couple must fight off a conniving fellow named Jefferson Carteret (Warren William) who wants to put them out of business. 

Jean Arthur had already played Calamity Jane in Cecil B. DeMille's THE PLAINSMAN, and Phoebe Titus is a very similar role. Actually Arthur's appearance in ARIZONA is far more down-to-earth than her Calamity Jane. Despite the appearance of Holden, Arthur is the true star of the film, and her Phoebe is the driving force of the narrative. Phoebe wears the pants (literally and figuratively) in the relationship with Pete, and Arthur's natural spunk fits the character like a glove. The only major Hollywood actress of the period who could have played the role of Phoebe without looking silly would have been Barbara Stanwyck. 

This was one of William Holden's earliest films, and he's very young here (believe it or not, Arthur was 18 years older than him). The actor displays none of the world-weary cynicism that would mark his more famous film roles of the 1950s. He's good as Pete, but this is Arthur's movie all the way. 

Warren William makes more of an impression than Holden in the role of the main villain. Instead of being over the top, William gives Carteret a snarky, sarcastic air, and makes the fellow a viable threat. The climax sets up a showdown between Carteret and Pete--in reality Phoebe should have been the one to get in a shoot-out with the bad guy (Arthur spends a lot of screen time here toting a shotgun). The supporting cast has plenty of grizzled character actors, such as Porter Hall, Edgar Buchanan, Byron Foulger, and Regis Toomey. 

It appears that ARIZONA was meant to be an epic of the Old West. It doesn't have that generic Hollywood Western look--there's a realism to the production design and the costumes, and there's plenty of background detail. (There's also plenty of facial hair among the male members of the cast.) The movie clocks in at a few minutes past two hours, which is a mammoth running time for a 1940 film. There's a Civil War subplot, problems with Native Americans, a cattle drive--I'm surprised that Columbia didn't make this in color, to give it an even more spectacular feel. Director Wesley Ruggles handles all the various elements very well (he had directed the Oscar-winning big-budget Western CIMARRON in 1931). 

ARIZONA is a prime showcase for Jean Arthur, and it's another example of a strong independent female leading role during the classic Hollywood period. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021



THE PASSAGE is another one of those 1970s international productions that have a action-war element to the storyline and a star-studded cast. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson, who had made two excellent WWII films--ICE COLD IN ALEX and THE GUNS OF NAVARONE. THE PASSAGE is a far cry from those films, and despite the poster above, it's not a battle-filled exciting adventure. 

Sometime during the Second World War, a Basque sheepherder (Anthony Quinn) is hired by the French Resistance to guide an American professor wanted by the SS (James Mason) and his family through the mountains into Spain. The shepherd doubts the plan will succeed--the Professor and his wife (Patricia Neal) are elderly, and their son and daughter (Paul Clemens and Kay Lenz) are not very enthusiastic. Nevertheless the shepherd risks his life to bring the family to safety, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of a fanatical SS officer (Malcolm McDowell) determined to catch them. 

THE PASSAGE tries to be a nail-biting thriller, but whatever suspense there might have been is ruined by Malcolm McDowell's ridiculously bizarre performance. One expects a bit of weirdness whenever McDowell shows up on-screen, but he's so loopy here that one wonders whether the actor thought he was appearing in a Mel Brooks movie. 

The film is also hurt by the fact that we get almost no information about the main characters--we never even learn the shepherd's name. We are never even told why the SS is so obsessed over capturing an old, tweedy professor. Because of this, the viewer isn't able to get fully involved in the characters' plight. 

Quinn's shepherd is helped along the way by a French Resistance member played by Michael Lonsdale and a gypsy camp leader played by Christopher Lee. Both men receive a horrible fate from McDowell's SS officer. Lee gets special billing in the credits, but his fans will note how small (though important) his role is. (I'm sure that Lee at least was happy that he didn't have to play a Nazi this time). 

Quinn, Mason, and Neal are all very good, but it's hard for them to make an impression when so much of the film is focused on McDowell and his psychotic antics. The SS officer gets to torture people and he also gets to rape the professor's daughter in a sequence that is crass and unnecessary. 

Michael Reed (THE GORGON, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE) was the cinematographer on this film, but the visuals do not resemble his earlier efforts. For most of the time the picture looks dark and murky, and there is a lot of handheld camera work. (I do have to say that I viewed this film on the Tubi streaming channel, but it was a decent uncut widescreen print.) Michael J. Lewis does provide a music score which harkens back to the WWII action-adventure films of the 1960s. Maurice Binder, who is best known as the creator of most of the title sequences for the James Bond films, was an associate producer on this movie. 

THE PASSAGE does feature some impressive Pyrenees locations, but the film is notable for all the wrong reasons. If it didn't have so many gratuitous elements, and a more realistic portrayal of the main villain, it might have turned out to be a decent WWII melodrama. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021



The best film in the 3-disc "Carole Lombard Collection II" Blu-ray set from Kino is HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE, a 1935 romantic comedy co-starring Fred MacMurray and directed by Mitchell Leisen. 

Carole Lombard plays Regi Allen, a manicurist at a ritzy hotel. Regi is unhappy with her life and hopes to snag a rich husband. She encounters Allen Macklyn (Ralph Bellamy), a wealthy man living at the hotel who is paralyzed from the waist down, and Theodore Drew (Fred MacMurray), a gadabout whose family has fallen on hard times. Regi and Theodore are attracted to each other, but he's engaged to marry an heiress. Allen wants to marry Regi, but he realizes that she and Theodore are meant for each other, despite the both of them supposedly wanting money over love. 

HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE is usually lumped into the "screwball comedy" category, but I would define it as more thoughtful than screwball. There's very few outlandish moments here--Mitchell Leisen plays things for the most part in a subtle manner, with several intimate close-ups. Regi, Theodore, and Allen are not caricatures, they are real human beings with real emotions and feelings. 

Lombard is delightful as Regi--the actress is very natural and unaffected here. She tries to act as if she's a cynical golddigger who wants the easy life, but she isn't (something that Ralph Bellamy's Allen surmises right away). Regi is actually a hard-working responsible person who just yearns for more out of her situation. She's attracted to Theodore, but put off by the fact that he appears more cynical than she does. Ted has never really worked for a living, nor does he want to--a fact that exasperates Regi. This was Lombard and MacMurray's first film together, and they make a great screen couple. This was also very early in Fred MacMurray's acting career, and in later interviews he gave all the credit to Lombard in helping him come off as well as he does. 

Ralph Bellamy plays the "other guy" role again, but he almost winds up stealing the film as the kindly Macklyn. (In all honesty I thought Regi would have been better off if she had wound up with him--but there's no way any 1935 movie made in Hollywood would have allowed a star like Lombard to be with a guy in a wheelchair at the end.) Marie Prevost is notable as Regi's best friend. 

The transfer of HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE on this Blu-ray is very good, although there are times where it seems too bright. The main extra is a new audio commentary by Allen Arkush and Daniel Kremer, who also did the honors for THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS in this same Kino set. The duo give a lively talk, and they spend a lot of time discussing Mitchell Leisen. 

To sum up the "Carole Lombard Collection II" Blu-ray set--it has better films than the first set, with both THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS and HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE being among Carole's top films. It also has what I feel are better audio commentaries. 

It is disappointing that all three of the films in this set had been released on home video before--there's still plenty of Lombard movies that have never gotten an official release, especially from her Paramount period. Hopefully if Kino comes out with a third Lombard set, they will pick some of these titles, no matter how obscure they might be. 

If one is a major Carole Lombard fan, this certainly is a worthy purchase--and, if enough people buy this set, Kino might actually decide to make more of them. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021



In February I wrote a blog post on Kino's Blu-ray of James Whale's THE KISS BEFORE THE MIRROR. That 1933 film was remade by Whale, and Universal, in 1938 under the title WIVES UNDER SUSPICION, which I saw for the first time last night. 

THE KISS BEFORE THE MIRROR is a tale about a defense lawyer, played by Frank Morgan, who is defending a man who killed his younger, beautiful wife in a fit of jealous anger. The lawyer begins to feel that his own younger, beautiful wife is cheating on him, so he begins to believe that if he can get his client off on a charge of temporary insanity, he might be able to dispose of his own spouse the same way. 

As I said in my post on it, THE KISS BEFORE THE MIRROR is more of a "Will he do it?" than a whodunit. WIVES UNDER SUSPICION flips the scenario a bit--the lead character is a district attorney who is in charge of prosecuting a man who has killed his cheating wife. 

WIVES UNDER SUSPICION stars Warren William as hard-charging D.A. Jim Stowell, a man who takes great pleasure in punishing criminals. He even has an abacus (made up of tiny skulls) on his office desk, so he can keep track of all the people he's sent to the electric chair! Jim's obsession over his rough brand of justice makes his young glamorous wife Lucy (Gail Patrick) uneasy. Stowell is about to take a much-needed vacation with his wife when a meek professor (Ralph Morgan, the brother of Frank Morgan) is brought in after killing his unfaithful spouse. The professor tells Jim about how he was driven to murder when his wife refused a kiss before her vanity mirror--and the D.A. starts to suspect that the same thing will happen between him and Lucy. Jim's suspicions start to affect his mind and manner. 

According to James Curtis' fine biography of James Whale, it was the director himself who suggested remaking THE KISS BEFORE THE MIRROR. It says a lot about Whale's position with Universal at the time that he was doing a minor remake of one of his earlier films instead of working on something fresh and inventive. WIVES UNDER SUSPICION runs about 69 minutes, and it feels like a B movie instead of a major A-list production. 

THE KISS BEFORE THE MIRROR was a moody, intriguing Pre-Code thriller, set in Vienna, with several impressive visual elements. WIVES UNDER SUSPICION is set in contemporary America, and it doesn't have James Whale's usual quirky touches. There's nothing here to rate it above the dozens of other programmers coming out of the Hollywood studios at the time, and the ending wraps things up way too easily.

The best thing about the film is Warren William's performance. The actor's energetic arrogance is perfect for Jim Stowall, and while the character may be unlikable, he's never unwatchable. Gail Patrick is merely okay as his wife, and while there are plenty of familiar character actors in support (such as Samuel S. Hinds and Milburn Stone), none of them stand out. Way too much footage is given to Lillian Yarbo as the Stowalls' annoying "comedic" African-American maid. 

If you didn't know that WIVES UNDER SUSPICION was directed by James Whale, you certainly wouldn't have guessed it. It's hard to believe that the man who made the likes of THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and SHOW BOAT could have turned out such an adequate film. It does need to be mentioned that Whale was quite disillusioned by the people who were running Universal at this time. After WIVES UNDER SUSPICION, James Whale had only a few films left in his erratic but sometimes brilliant movie directing career.   

Saturday, May 1, 2021



The next film I will be examining from Kino's new "Carole Lombard Collection II" Blu-ray set is LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST, a 1936 romantic comedy that is not one of the actress's better movies. 

LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST was made at Universal, and it was directed by Walter Lang, who would soon marry Madalynne Fields--who happened to be Carole Lombard's best friend and confidant. The film used cinematographer Ted Tetzlaff and costume designer Travis Banton, who had both done much to show off Lombard's beauty in her films for Paramount. Unfortunately what was needed was some screenwriters from Paramount. The comedy in LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST isn't very comedic, and the characters are more annoying than interesting. 

Socialite Kay Colby (Carole Lombard) is engaged to the hard-working Bill Wadsworth (Cesar Romero), but she's still being pursued by rich businessman Scott Miller (Preston Foster). Miller even goes to the trouble of buying the company that Bill works for, and then has him transferred to Japan. Scott then drives Kay crazy with his attentions, but when he stops, she feels disappointed. Kay then agrees to marry Bill, but he decides to bring Bill back to see what feelings she has for him. 

The story is basically about two people who go out of their way to annoy one another instead of just having a normal relationship. This happens a lot in romantic comedies, especially older ones, and in the right circumstances it can work. But here the mind games Kay and Scott play on each other become tiresome, and the supposed humor isn't all that funny. Lombard's appealing personality helps greatly, but her character still comes off as a flighty rich girl (she has a butler and a maid) who doesn't have anything better to do. Preston Foster doesn't come off too well in a light comedic role, and even Cesar Romero as the other man isn't very likable. 

I have to discuss the ad art used on the LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST disc cover. I'm surprised it was used for this release, but it certainly does get attention. (In the actual film, Lombard is popped in the right eye--and not by any of the leading men, but by accident in a bar fight.) The art makes one think that LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST is a wild, slapstick screwball farce, but that picture has more vitality to it than the entire screenplay. 

The transfer Kino has used for LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST is mediocre. It has a dull look to it--the black & white picture lacks sparkle--and it has a lot of scratches on it. The main extra is a new audio commentary with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Joshua Nelson. The duo spend a fair amount of time discussing the image used on the disc cover, and they go into how Lombard's persona has been analyzed by various authors--but they don't have all that much to say about LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST. 

I'm a bit disappointed that Kino included LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST on this set. The movie has been released on home video before, and there's several better Lombard movies that could have been taken its place. LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST runs only 70 minutes, and it feels like a B picture instead of a major production for a big Hollywood star.