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Married Before Breakfast (1937)

Married Before Breakfast (1937)

Directed by Edwin Marin this Harry Ruskin story was adapted by Everett Freeman and George Oppenheimer (The War Against Mrs. Hadley (1942)). It’s a madcap comedy with Robert Young and Florence Rice in roles not unlike the kind James Stewart and Jean Arthur played.

Tom Wakefield (Young) is a free spirited man who believes everyone should do what they want and have fun. He’s inexplicably engaged to the more formal and wealthy June Baylin (June Clayworth) who tolerates the fact that her fiancé wants to get rich quick as an inventor but would just as soon have him work for her father. The film opens with Tom demonstrating his latest invention a shaving cream that doesn’t require a razor to remove the hair from a man’s face. After a successful demonstration he tells the soap company he want $250000 for his formula and they inform him that they’ll give him their answer later that day at 4:30 PM. At 4:45 PM June meets Tom at a restaurant where he’s been having one of several different kinds of drinks and chocolate ice cream. He’s just ordered a second round without the dessert when June arrives and Tom introduces her to a miniature toy man he’s dubbed “Junior”. She’s mildly amused and suggests that he better call the soap company. When he does Tom finds out that the men off the street he’d used for the demonstration have experienced an unpleasant swelling which ended their interest in his invention. Oh well he says.

Tom then returns to his boarding house where he lives with several other interesting and somewhat eccentric characters including a woman (Helen Flint) with a dog a gentleman would-be investor (Richard Carle uncredited) if he had any money a teacher who can’t stand children (Josephine Whittell uncredited) a mailman (Harlan Briggs uncredited) who steals stamps off letters his landlady (Mary Gordon uncredited) with tired feet and a violinist Mischa (Leonid Kinskey uncredited) who’d rather be a piano player. Fortunately for him the general manager of a razor blade company witnessed his demonstration to the Dalton soap company investors and arrives to pay him $250000 to keep his product off the market. Now officially “rich” Tom rushes to the opera where he upsets June’s parents (Boyd Irwin & Bea Nigro both uncredited) to tell her the good news. The plan is for them to marry the next day and Tom heads to a travel agency to arrange for a honeymoon cruise but not before June tells him to be at her parents’ house for an engagement dinner that evening at 9 PM.

While making plans for the cruise Tom meets Kitty Brent (Rice) who is charmed by his easy going manner much to the chagrin of her fiancé Kenneth (Hugh Marlowe). When next seen at the boarding house Tom is in the tub being greeted by his newly hired valet Tweed (Barnett Parker) who looks so much like his toy man Junior that he dubs him “Senior”. He then holds a celebration party for his newfound wealth and gives an appropriate gift to each of his fellow tenants and landlady even a mate for Miss Fleeter’s dog. Kitty who arrives to deliver his cruise tickets witnesses his generosity. When Tom insists that he wants to give her something as well she says the only thing she wants is to marry Kenneth who is waiting to be promoted to management before consummating their 5 year engagement. Kitty explains that her fiancé would receive his promotion if only he could sell a certain milkman a policy; Kenneth is an insurance salesman. So Tom decides to help Kenneth by funding the life (later accident) policy himself so that he can help Kitty be “married before breakfast”.

When Tom goes with Kenneth and Kitty to the home of the milkman (Tom Kennedy) he meets only his rude kid (Tommy Bond uncredited) and superstitious wife (Irene Franklin uncredited) before he inadvertently “sells” an accident policy to his brother-in-law (Eddie Dunn uncredited). He then decides that causing the milkman to have a minor accident would be the way to convince him to buy a policy. The rest of the evening Tom and Kitty get involved in a series of misadventures as they try to find and then realize this goal. It leads them to come in contact with three gangsters (whose leader is played by Warren Hymer) several police officers (one of which is played by Tom Dugan uncredited) and finally a judge (Edward LeSaint uncredited). Of course the length and excitement of the evening lead Tom Kitty and their fiances to reconsider their relationships. And with a little help from Senior the ending one expects is made possible.

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