Breakfast for Two (1937)


Valentine Ransome puts ’em up (via painfullyhip.com)

Drunken playboys, bankruptcy, one ditsy actress, a witty butler, a sneaky Texas debutante and a few talking pets make up the screwball romantic comedy Breakfast for Two.

Barbara Stanwyck stars as the aforementioned debutante, Valentine Ransome, who meets playboy Jonathon Blair (Herbert Marshall) while she’s on a trip to the big city.

After bringing him home to safety after finding him in a drunken stupor, Valentine decides that she wants to marry Jonathon — after reforming him first and pulling his company out of bankruptcy, of course. Valentine’s got the butler, Butch (Eric Blore), on her side. He helps her plot and plan to fix Jonathon’s life. The trouble is, he’s resistant to her help and happens to already be engaged to a woman named Carol (Glenda Farrell).

With such a fantastic cast, it’s no surprise that Breakfast for Two turns out to be such a hilarious and delightful comedy.

The film itself certainly does not take its cast for granted. Rather than relying on finding the kookiest possible situations to throw the characters into, the script’s comedy simply comes from the dialogue. That’s not to say that the characters don’t get into a few pickles, but even in those situations, it is the performances rather than the situations themselves that are rib-crackingly funny.

As a result, the film largely relies on the delivery by these grand actors to bring all of the laughs – something that they not only succeed in, but also carry off in an effortless manner.

Stanwyck and Marshall in Breakfast for Two (via toutlecine.com)

The fact that the film relies so heavily on its stars is a breath of fresh air compared to the zany, over-the-top comedies of the same era. A somewhat predictable but still very funny script is elevated to great heights by the talents of Barbara Stanwyck, Herbert Marshall, Glenda Farrell, Eric Blore and Donald Meek. The score: 4/5

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