Hold Back the Dawn is a long, quiet, competent movie that would pass without a ripple, were it not for one ingredient. That ingredient is cinema's No. 1 love-maker, Charles Boyer, this time making love to a nice American girl. And that ingredient alone will suffice to turn Hold Back the Dawn into top-drawer box-office for Paramount Pictures.

  On this page you see Charles Boyer's scene in which, taking Olivia de Havilland in his arms, he whispers love words in her ear. "I have been watching your face," he murmurs, "learning it like a poem." Other romantic phrases, uttered in a low, accented voice, are sometimes hard to catch. But millions of U.S. women will sit forward on the edge of their theater seats as he flashes at Olivia his wistful Gallic smile and opens wide on her those famous "bedroom eyes."

  The setting for this exhibition is a story of European refugees who huddle patiently in a Mexican border town till, as quota immigrants, they can pass through wire gates into the haven of America. Somewhat painful and fragmentary when dealing with these unhappy folk, Hold Back the Dawn comes brilliantly to life when Boyer meets Miss de Havilland.
Photoplay magazine, Nov 1941

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