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Josef von Sternberg,
Married for ten years, Frenchman Peter Donay, a reformed Monte Carlo gambler, and American Delilah Donay own and operate Cafe Donay, an upscale French restaurant outside of Lake Tahoe. Delilah can tell that Peter's mind has been elsewhere of late, which she further knows is due to his infatuation with Sally Murfin, their young, blonde waitress, demonstrating that Peter's pre-marriage womanizing ways are resurfacing. Sally is already engaged to her longtime beau Freddie Bilson, who works at the nearby service station, their engagement which doesn't stop her from flirting with Peter in liking the attention and arguably a large gambling windfall that exposed Peter's gambling habit also as being less than reformed. Beyond the issue of Sally, Peter and Freddie don't much like each other, Peter because of the air of "grease monkey" Freddie gives the restaurant every time he drives up in his beaten up motorcycle. Delilah believes that Freddie and Sally getting married sooner than later will ...Written by
This is a real misfire of a film. The score and background music is light and goofy, indicating this is a comedy, but to me it is a tragedy as a good woman (Mary Astor as Delilah) sticks by her rotter of a husband, Peter (Philip Dorn), whose lying, infidelity in mind if not deed, gambling, and greed make Daffy Duck look like a profile in virtue. She even plans an elaborate ruse at the end of the film to try and keep him. Why? Peter has the hots for a worker at their restaurant, Sally (Gloria Grahame), who is all of 19. Peter does not want so much to get rid of his wife as he wants to fool around with Sally and then probably discard her, in spite of the fact that Sally has a fiancé who just does not have enough money with his job at a filling station to get married. If everybody would steer clear Peter would clear the field of the fiancé, corrupt the girl, and then go back to his wife leaving Sally a sadder but wiser girl.
The film is basically an hour long story about all of the impediments that stand in his way. Maybe a more talented actor than Dorn could have pulled this part off, although the part is written with such a lack of humanity and a bounty of foolishness and weakness of character that I wonder if even Cary Grant could have made it work. Grahame is very good in her first film role as the confused but greedy girl in the middle. Astor shines in this film with great dialogue delivered like a true pro. She saves it from being a total bomb along with Felix Bressart in a supporting role as the restaurant bar tender with his old world ways.
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