Midnight, 1939

Don Ameche was wonderful as the smitten Tibor Czerny, a Paris taxi driver who falls for penniless Eve, played by Claudette Colbert. After her taxi ride with Czerny, she gains attention of wealthy Georges, played by John Barrymore, and agrees to help him get his wife’s attention back. Mary Astor played Helene, Georges’ wife. Jacques Picot, played by Francis Lederer, is a smooth-talking philanderer who has eyes for Helene until Eve comes along. Czerny enlists the help of all Paris taxi friends to look for his long lost love, Eve, whom he’s just met.

Eve has begun the charade of being Baroness Czerny when taxi driver Czerny finally finds her. Georges helps Eve persuade the wealthy people they’re with that she is the Baroness Czerny of Hungary. Of course, she made up her identity to keep from getting thrown out. Funny how one lie always leads to another and another until the whole mess gets quite difficult to unravel. Taxi driver Czerny and fake Baroness Czerny fall for each other, but Eve’s problem is money and how to justify giving it up for love.

This was very well written and played out well to the end. I think this was the first time I saw Don Ameche in his early films. He showed passion both for and against the woman who didn’t realize she had the best man in the beginning. Another actor who stood out was John Barrymore. His humor built an enjoyable sneakiness into this film. But Ameche is unsurprisingly quite charming.

The writing team of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett had many successes. They were often paired together, but in the early 1940s, Brackett started producing films, and Wilder started directing Hollywood films. Wilder and Brackett wrote Midnight, What A Life, and Ninotchka, all of which came out in 1939. Ninotchka was nominated for 4 Oscars, two of which were for writing.