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Hold Back the Dawn

As scripted by Brackett and Wilder and directed by the underrated Leisen (who appears, as himself, in a brief cameo as the Hollywood director to whom Boyer tries to sell his story), this romantic weepie is both moving and effectively stylish. Boyer's vaguely sinister charm is well deployed as the stateless Latin gigolo who tricks a plain-jane schoolmarm (de Havilland) into marriage purely in order to gain entry to the US from Mexico, while the depiction of their faltering relationship is achieved with a welcome degree of dark, ironic wit. But it's Leisen's assured, polished handling of a potentially soapy story that lends surprising conviction to the whole affair; so fluent is the narrative that disbelief at de Havilland's naiveté is suspended throughout.

Release details

Duration: 115 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Screenwriter: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder
Cast: Charles Boyer
Olivia de Havilland
Paulette Goddard
Victor Francen
Walter Abel
Rosemary de Camp
Mitchell Leisen
Brian Donlevy
Veronica Lake
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