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Hold That Kiss (1938) is a pleasant little film with the familiar 1930s theme of mistaken identity. This time around, a model and a travel agent (Maureen O'Sullivan and Dennis O'Keefe) meet at a wedding reception and fall in love, believing the other to be rich.
Production began on March 28th and ended on April 23, 1938, with a screenplay by Stanley Rauh, based on his original story. The poet Ogden Nash, along with Jane Hall and Bradbury Foote contributed to the script. Although the film was a "B" picture, it did benefit from having an "A" list crew such as art director Cedric Gibbons and costumer Dolly Tree.
When Hold That Kiss was released on May 13, 1938, Variety wrote "[i]ts drawing ability is limited to the pull in the names of Maureen O'Sullivan, Mickey Rooney and Dennis O'Keefe, who impressed recently in The Bad Man of Brimstone ...It's all been done before with variations but Edwin Marin in his direction carries the thin thread of plot to a satisfactory finish. Good supporting performances by George Barbier, Jessie Ralph and Frank Albertson hold up the interest over the weak spots. Film could have profited with more of Mickey Rooney, who is coming along fast with each succeeding appearance. Boy has something for the customers and knows how to sell it....Hold That Kiss will get by with audiences that like light entertainment." The New York Times called it "a likely candidate for the best "B" film of the year."Mickey Rooney was seventeen and cranking out films at MGM. As he wrote in his autobiography, "...I was making movies, the quicker the better. Hold That Kiss, with Maureen O'Sullivan and Dennis O'Keefe, took twenty-one days to shoot. I played Maureen's kid brother. She works in a dress shop, O'Keefe in a tourist bureau. They meet at a fashionable wedding and, attracted to each other, try to beef up their rsums. Comic complications ensue, of course, but, as in all Hollywood movies of the time, the characters unravel the knots and live happily ever after. I sometimes wonder whether, seeing and playing in these idealized versions of life, I didn't start thinking this was life. Don't ask me why. I guess we were giving the public what it wanted. And, on the eve of another terrible war, what it apparently wanted was more of Mickey Rooney, a name that was becoming synonymous with energy, optimism, and schmaltzly good feelings. I was about to float into my golden years. I was almost eighteen."
Producer: John W. Considine, Jr.
Director: Edwin L. Marin
Screenplay: Stanley Rauh (screenplay and story); Jane Hall, Ogden Nash (both uncredited); Bradbury Foote (dialogue, uncredited)
Cinematography: George Folsey
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: Edward Ward
Film Editing: Ben Lewis
Cast: Maureen O'Sullivan (June 'Junie' Evans), Dennis O'Keefe (Tommy 'Tom' Bradford), Mickey Rooney (Chick Evans), George Barbier (Mr. J. Westley Piermont), Jessie Ralph (Aunt Lucy McCaffey), Edward S. Brophy (Al), Fay Holden (Mrs. Emily Evans), Frank Albertson (Steven 'Steve' Evans), Phillip Terry (Ted Evans), Ruth Hussey (Nadine Piermont Kent), Barnett Parker (Marcel Maurice - Couturier).
by Lorraine LoBianco
The AFI Catalog of Feature Films 1931-1940
Rooney, Mickey, Life is Too Short
"Hold That Kiss", Variety 10 May 38