BoyerOlivia deHavilland


Hold Back the Dawn (1941) is told in flashback by Boyer's character, Georges Iscovescu. It begins on a Paramount sound stage in Hollywood. Georges, in dire financial need, is attempting to sell his story to a movie director he once meant. (Playing the part is the film's actual director, Mitchell Leisen - who is first seen directing Veronica Lake in a scene from her first film, "I Wanted Wings".)


As Georges' story unfolds, we find that he was once a gigolo/dancer in pre-WWII Europe, making an easy living off rich women. With the coming of the War he attempted to emigrate to the US, but was stopped in Mexico by the quota system. Languishing in a Mexican hotel room, he meets up with his former lover and dancing partner, the equally callous Anita (Paulette Goddard). She tells him if he marries an American citizen he can enter the US legally in just a few weeks.

Happily for Georges, it's the Fourth of July, and the Mexican town is teeming with Americans. Georges finds easy prey in shy schoolteacher Emmy Brown (Olivia de Havilland), zeroes in on her with his considerable charm, and, bingo - the two are married early the next morning.


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Georges and Anita make plans to join up in America once he has gained entry and deserted Emmy, but there's a hitch - immigration Inspector Hammock (Walter Abel) starts sniffing around, suspicious of Georges' motive for the hasty marriage.  To avoid any questions, Georges takes Emmy off on an impromptu honeymoon trip through the Mexican countryside - and finds himself falling in love with his bride.

When a very jealous Anita tips off Emmy as to the real state of affairs, Emmy flees in distress - and is in a serious car crash on the road back to her home town. When Georges is informed of her critical condition, he makes a desperate (and illegal) trip to save her, regardless of the consequences.

Boyer with Paulette Goddard
Boyer and Olivia deHavilland

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