Hold Back the Dawn (1941); Swing High, Swing Low (1937)

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
November 30, 2012 - 7:30 pm
In-person: 
David Chierichetti, author of "Mitchell Leisen: Hollywood Director."

Chierichetti will sign copies of his book beginning at 6:30 p.m. 


Filmmaker Mark Rappaport described Chierichetti's oral history with Leisen and his key collaborators as "an essential read, as well as the only book about [Leisen]."

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

"...an amazingly poignant picture, rich in humor, heart and subtle ironies." - The New York Times

Directed by Mitchell Leisen

Charles Boyer is a Hungarian hoofer stranded in Mexico who dupes an innocent schoolmarm (de Havilland in an Oscar-nominated performance) into an arranged marriage to get his American citizenship. Leisen made substantial changes to Wilder and Brackett’s script, infuriating Wilder who later said the experience prompted him to become a director. The resulting film, however, is a pitch perfect melodrama.

Paramount Pictures, Inc. Producer: Bob Crandall. Screenwriter: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder. Cinematographer: Leo Tover. Editor: Doane Harrison. Cast: Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, Paulette Goddard, Victor Francen, Walter Abel. 

35mm, b/w, 116 min. 

Swing High, Swing Low (1937)

Directed by Mitchell Leisen

Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray’s second outing together under Leisen’s direction finds Leisen pushing the duo into new dramatic territory. After they meet cute at the Panama Canal, Lombard’s hopeful singer and MacMurray’s layabout trumpeter put together a steamy act and seem headed for the usual light dustups of romantic comedy bliss. When his star rises faster than hers, darker clouds loom and Leisen builds to a powerful finale.

Paramount Pictures, Inc. Producer: Bob Crandall. Screenwriter: Virginia Van Upp, Oscar Hammerstein II. Based on a play by Arthur Hopkins and George Manker Watters. Cinematographer: Ted Tetzlaff. Editor: Eda Warren. Cast: Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, Charles Butterworth, Jean Dixon, Dorothy Lamour.

35mm, b/w, 92 min.