KISSES FOR BREAKFAST
(director:Lewis Seiler; screenwriters: Kenneth Gamet/Yves Mirande & André Mouëzy-Éon from /from the Seymour Hicks play The Matrimonial Bed; cinematographer: Arthur Edeson; editor: James Gibbon; music: Adolph Deutsch; cast: Dennis Morgan(Rodney Trask), Jane Wyatt (Laura Anders), Shirley Ross (Juliet Marsden), Barnett Parker (Phillips), Cornel Wilde (Chet Oakley), Lucia Carroll (Clara), Jerome Cowan (Lucius Lorimer), Una O’Connell (Ellie), Lee Patrick (Betty Trent), Romaine Callender (Dr. George Burroughs), Frank Orth (T.C. Barrett, the Hobo), Clarence Muse (Old Jeff), Willie Best (Arnold), Louise Beavers (Clotilda); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer; Harlan Thompson: Warner Bros./TCM; 1941)
“The actors are not good at farce and the director is not good at directing a screwball comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A silly romantic farce weakly directed by Lewis Seiler (“Battle Stations”/”Whiplash”) and terribly written by Kenneth Gamet, that’s adapted from the play The Matrimonial Bed by Seymour Hicks. The actors are not good at farce and the director is not good at directing a screwball comedy.
Hunky cornball opera singer Rodney Trask (Dennis Morgan) marries Julie Marsden (Shirley Ross), but before he can go on his honeymoon his old flame Clara (Lucia Carroll) comes by to blackmail him for her silence. When out on a drive and he doesn’t pay, her muscle man (Cornel Wilde), who was hiding in the trunk of her car, appears and knocks Rodney out cold. They send the unconscious Rodney in the car down a cliff, and even if his body wasn’t found he’s declared dead. Instead he turns up without a memory of who he is in a different town and talks to a hobo (Frank Orth) off the road in the woods. The hobo gives him the name Happy Homes when a motorcycle cop stops their roadside cook-out to question them. Finding an address in his shirt pocket of a lady called Laura Anders (Jane Wyatt) in South Carolina, Happy goes there and talks his way into staying there on her plantation. She’s Julie’s southern cousin, who desperately needs a man around to make the plantation financially viable. After a year together, they’ve fallen in love and marry, and pay a surprise visit on her wedding day to her cousin Julia back east.
The sight of lover boy still alive shocks everyone in the wealthy house of Julie, including her new possessive husband (Jerome Cowan).
Slapstick bits prevail. Julia’s servants (Barnett Parker & Una O’Connell) bump into a swinging door repeatedly (but no Charlie Chaplin laughs here), Uncle George (Romaine Callender) hypnotizes Laura’s husband to see if he might be Rodney and Julie puts black ink in the shower so the couple don’t go on a honeymoon until it’s found out if Happy is really Rodney and still belongs to her.
The comedy was strained and the story was senseless. It never developed into a fully realized comedy and every slapstick diversion fell on its backside.
REVIEWED ON 7/20/2021 GRADE: C