Up until I saw all of Frank Borzage’s wonderful History Is Made At Night, the only part I’d seen was a hilarious clip that had me laughing a wee bit too hard because I’d taken it way out of context (it’s not hard to do, people). That “Cleo” gag is used again in the film, but by that time you’re probably going to be caught up in the blend of comedy and melodrama on display that adds a slight dip into disaster movie territory and tosses in a suicide for good measure. Borzage’s film isn’t your run of the mill funny flick at all and that’s exactly what makes it worth tracking down.
The plot is a bit loopy for sure, but the cast makes it work as things move from silly to serious and back again. If you’ve yet to see it, you can walk in on this film at a few different points and think you’re watching two or three different movies. It’s got some screwball elements for sure, but it’s also deeply romantic and suddenly serious as it ping-pongs about the emotional spectrum. Then again, real life is just like that at many times (which is why I like this oldie so much)…