MIDNIGHT
1939, Universal, 94 min, USA, Dir: Mitchell Leisen

A showgirl (Claudette Colbert) impersonating a Baroness, a lovestruck taxi driver (Don Ameche) and a cuckolded millionaire (John Barrymore) are just a few of the ingredients in this frothy concoction penned by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder and directed with breathless elan by Mitchell Leisen. Costarring Mary Astor, Francis Lederer and gossip queen Hedda Hopper, this delirious riff on the Cinderella story ranks among the greatest of all screwball comedies.


CLEOPATRA (1934)
1934, Paramount (Universal), 100 min, USA, Dir: Cecil B. DeMille

Mogul and architect of epics Cecil B. DeMille weaves a historical tapestry poised somewhere between high camp and outlandish spectacle, directing the scintillating Claudette Colbert in her youthful prime as the wily Egyptian queen. A naughty pre-Code product, the film boasts an array of scandalous costumes. With Warren William as Julius Caesar and Henry Wilcoxon as Marc Antony.


BLUEBEARD’S EIGHTH WIFE
1938, Universal, 85 min, USA, Dir: Ernst Lubitsch

Gary Cooper plays multimillionaire Michael Brandon, who changes wives as if they were underwear (or, in this case, pajama tops) until he marries the daughter (Claudette Colbert) of an impoverished marquis. As lucrative as divorce would be, the young woman is determined to be the final Mrs. Brandon. Director Ernst Lubitsch’s first pairing with the Charles Brackett-Billy Wilder writing team was a match made in heaven.


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