Sunday, December 26, 2010

Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche in Midnight 1939

When it comes to screw-ball comedy, no one has such a light touch as Claudette Colbert. Her cavorting with Rudy Vallee in The Palm Beach Story makes for one of the most delightful comedies in screen history. Lesser known, but every bit as charming is Midnight with Don Ameche. Eve Peabody arrives in Paris from Monte Carlo with nothing but the evening gown on her back. She happens on handsome cabbie Don Ameche and convinces him to drive her around town looking for work as a chanteuse. She eventually finds her way into a society party and just as she's about to be thrown out, is rescued by John Barrymore, a neglected husband who wants Eve to seduce his wife's lover away from her. So she gads about France in pursuit of the lothario, and just one step ahead of Don Ameche.

Directed by Mitchell Leisen and with a screen play by a young Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, this film touches on risque subjects like infidelity and features a woman alone getting by on her wits. It's forward thinking for 1939.

I'm happy to say this film has been rescued from total obscurity by TCM, which released a DVD of it in 2008. Before that it languished in the netherworld of largely forgotten classics. The DVD release has one of the always insightful introductions by Robert Osborne and is highly recommended.  Above is a scene from it uploaded to YouTube by classicscreengems. Have a look and put the DVD on your Netflix list. You won't be disappointed!

Obscurity factor: 5 (Formerly little known, DVD available, occasionally on TCM)


  1. Truly one of the most delightful moves of all time and while Colbert , Ameche and Barrymore are divine and stylish - let's face it Frances Lederer is a HUNK!

  2. You're right. He's one of those sexy men who has an air of intelligence about him.