Kisses for Breakfast (1941)

Juliet Marsden (Shirley Ross) is a woman in love… but not with her fiance. Breaking her engagement to Lucius Lorimer (Jerome Cowan), she instead decides to marry Rodney Trask (Dennis Morgan), a handsome crooner who is fully smitten with her. This isn’t the first time she’s walked out on Lucius. According to Juliet’s friend Betty (Lee Patrick), there have been flings with Tom, Dick, Harry, and even a bearded explorer!

(Image via zap2it.com)

(Image via zap2it.com)

Before Juliet and Rodney are even able to leave for their honeymoon, trouble comes calling in the form of Rodney’s old girlfriend, Clara (Lucia Carroll). Clara wants money, and if she doesn’t get it, she’ll share every detail of her relationship with Rodney to Juliet.

Rodney refuses, is knocked out by Clara’s pal Chet (Cornel Wilde), and wakes to find himself in a bout of amnesia. He can’t remember that he married Juliet. He can’t even remember his own name! Will he recover from his amnesia and find his way back to Juliet, or start a new life without his love?

Kisses for Breakfast was directed by Lewis Seiler. The film is based on a play by Yves Mirande and Andre Mouezy-Eon, which was adapted to English by Seymour Hicks. The play was previously filmed as The Matrimonial Bed (1930) and Mr. What’s-His-Name? (1935).

Kisses for Breakfast features fine performances, especially from the supports: Jane Wyatt as Juliet’s cousin Laura, very likable; Una O’Connor as Rodney’s maid Ellie, bringing lots of humor and a few supernatural moments to the film, with her devotion to Rodney even a year after he has been presumed dead; Lee Patrick as Betty, Juliet’s snoopy sidekick who is endlessly amused by the situation and constantly deliver snarky one-liners.

These players deliver several chuckle-inducing moments, including Rodney getting his new name from a billboard, Juliet’s funeral service hallucinations, and Happy’s sudden aversion to ham and cabbage (Rodney’s favorite dish). There’s some clever dialogue, too.

Rodney takes on the name "Happy" after being struck with amnesia, but finds himself once again involved with Juliet's family after meeting her cousin, Laura. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Rodney takes on the name “Happy” after being struck with amnesia, but finds himself once again involved with Juliet’s family after meeting her cousin, Laura. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

The script is decent, but not stellar. The pace sometimes lags, and while the film is often clever and funny, certain parts of it are quite juvenile (see: the oil-as-shower-water gag, which is not only juvenile but kiiiind of offensive). There are a few over-the-top moments of slapstick, but luckily nothing too tedious. One of these would-be-obnoxious moments of servants bumping each other with a swinging door is made funny by Una O’Connor.

Kisses for Breakfast won’t be added to my list of favorites, but I did enjoy watching it for the most part. Fans of the more zany variety of romantic comedy may find it worth a watch, if it pops up on TCM again. The score: 2.5/5

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