Movies about/starring women. I originally started this list just as a reference for myself, but hopefully others will find it…
An unemployed showgirl poses as Hungarian royalty to infiltrate Parisian society.
So that's what Don Ameche looked like in his younger days! Quite the dashing gentleman.
All in all a very beautiful and funny cast, highlighted by the eternally great John Barrymore, his facial expressions a delight as always. That face is a treasure. Wish I could grind him up, and sprinkle bits of him onto all films. ALL films.
This is Mitchell Leisen at the top of his game (he made Remember the Night the following year), and it's got some wonderful shots of the streets of Paris.
Though I thoroughly enjoy screwballs, I wish they'd ease up on the high society setting, wich happens more often than not. This time, Colbert plays a street smart gal gold-digging her way…
My first experience a few years ago with Midnight was so wonderful, it somehow has been placed in that special tier of films you can go back to without question when you want an evening of complete enjoyment. Thus was the calling the other night when we were choosing a movie. We wanted something short and marvelous. My wife and I have been navigating some classic screwballs recently with some success, and some failures. Here, we wanted a sure success.
My first impression on this rewatch is that Midnight simply shouldn’t work. Claudette Colbert’s Eve Peabody is outed as a golddigger in the opening scene. She doesn’t really appear to have a heart of gold under her gold lamé. Don…
Lucky Claudette Colbert being surrounded by some of Hollywood's top men at the time. Don Ameche, Francis Lederer and the ever hammy John Barrymore! Or is it the guys that's lucky? Either way this is a semi-Cinderella story of a broke chorus girl getting her world transformed by lovers and Barrymore with a scheming plan of eliminating his wife's lover Lederer by getting him hitched to Colbert. But then there is cab driver Ameche putting sticks into the plan.... and the result is a joyful screwball comedy with tons of personality! Perhaps not my absolute favorite comedy, but it's up there with the classics of the screwball genre!
The charming Claudette Colbert plays Eve, an out-of-work nightclub singer who arrives in Paris completely broke. Taking pity on her sorry state, a taxi driver (Don Ameche) offers to drive her to some nearby nightclubs so that she might find work.
Of course, as these things go, nothing works out as planned, and Eve, unable to find gainful employment, stumbles into a scheme in which she is taken for a member of Hungary's royal party. Wackiness ensues, and after various plot twists, she becomes so embroiled in this plot that once her status as royalty is revealed to be a lie, people do not believe that it's actually a lie.
Midnight is a wonderful screwball fairytale full of wit, charm, and romance. The script, written by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, turns the Cinderella fairytale on its head. Cinderella is Eve Peabody, a broke American stranded in Paris with nothing but the beautiful gold evening gown she's wearing (only in a screwball comedy do situations such as these happen). After being driven around town by (and almost falling for) a kind Hungarian taxi driver, Tibor Czerny, she stumbles into a sophisticated party and poses as a Hungarian baroness of the same name. Enter fairy godmother Georges Flammarion who gifts Eve with everything she needs in order to keep up her ruse, with the hopes that she can break up the…
There's a story, surely, to how Claudette Colbert arrives in Paris with only a golden, fabulous, slinky dress to her name. There must be another to how Don Ameche's baron-in-disguise earned enough clout to turn all the cabbies of Paris into his own personal spy ring. But maybe the best story is in how Paramount managed to send this movie script to Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder for rewrites - when they had originally written it, and simply retyped the farce of an American Cinderella pulling one over on European high society. Midnight goes as quickly and as smoothly as champagne, and is a film of about the same consequence.
Much of this is down to Brackett and Wilder's chewy,…
What a delightful picture!
Pleasantly surprised by this find. If you can go along with the coincidental and almost absurd nature of it all, it's a laugh-out-loud time at the movies.
Pretty funny, but ultimately forgettable except for John Barrymore's comedic bits and the charm of Don Ameche.
Sparkling comedy, everything is just marvellously farcical. Colbert & Barrymore are such great, warm masteminds, playing a beautiful game I could see forever. The first third is pure heaven, but Ameche's exaggerated sense of manliness towards Colbert in the final stretch bothered me a little.
Just a generally delightful and hilariously witty screwball comedy. And John Barrymore making little girl's voices = five stars.
Witty screwball comedy gets away from itself a little toward the end.
Film #10 of the "September 2015 Scavenger Hunt" Challenge!
Task #29 A film featuring a case of mistaken identity!
"When I was a child I used to swallow things. They didn't dare leave me at home with an armchair."
Midnight is an absolute delight. It's a classic screwball comedy written by the immortal Billy Wilder. Claudette Colbert is at her best as a smart-talking, sarcastic grifter who just arrived in Paris in a gold dress and without a dime (because her roulette system dropped out from under her in Monte Carlo). She meets cab driver Don Amiche who agrees to help her find a job. After a series of mishaps and mistaken identities, she winds up in a scheme…
Midnight's subtle humour stems from some superb characterisation. Colbert is hugely appealing as a vulnerable (half-hearted) gold digger, Ameche the best he's ever been as her extrovert but humble love interest. Yet John Barrymore steals the show as the suave manipulator who draws both into a convoluted plan to part his wife from her lover.
Director Mitchell Leisen first came to Hollywood as an art director and costume designer, a fact that can often be seen in his opulent productions which showcase the glamorous art deco sets and elegant gowns that Paramount became known for. He also had a distinct outsider’s perspective–many of his films involve those on the outside looking in, from Carole Lombard’s aspiring gold-digger in Hands Across the Table to Barbara Stanwyck’s shoplifter with a heart of gold in Remember the Night. Midnight, then, feels like a quintessential Leisen picture, one with both a plain but decidedly chic aesthetic and driven by the relationships between characters from conflicting worlds. One can’t underestimate the screenplay of Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, which might…
From the NYT website:
This list is drawn from the second edition of The New York Times Guide to the…
Preserving this list for posterity as it will disappear from here:
- after number 70, "In a Land…