Hold Back the Dawn (1941) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Hold Back the Dawn Photos

Movie Info

Hold Back the Dawn begins with a shabby immigrant (Charles Boyer) wandering onto a Paramount sound stage and telling his life story to director Mitchell Leisen (who actually directed this film). In flashback, we see that Boyer was once a conscienceless gigolo, desperate to flee Nazi-occupied Europe. He makes it to Mexico, where he pretends to fall in love with shy schoolteacher Olivia de Havilland. It is his plan to marry her, thus be able to enter the United States; then he intends to dump her and pursue the woman he really loves. Boyer's regeneration, and the price he pays for his previous callousness, brings Hold Back the Dawn to its tearful conclusion.


Charles Boyer
as Georges Iscovescu
Paulette Goddard
as Anita Dixon
Victor Francen
as Prof. Van Den Luecken
Walter Abel
as Inspector Hammock
Curt Bois
as Bonbois
Rosemary DeCamp
as Berta Kurz
Eric Feldary
as Josef Kurz
Eva Puig
as Lupita
Mitchell Leisen
as Mr. Saxon
Brian Donlevy
as On-the-Set Film Actor
Richard Webb
as On-the-Set Film Actor
Veronica Lake
as On-the-Set Film Actor
Gertrude Astor
as Young Woman at Climax Bar
Jesus Topete
as Mechania
Tony Roux
as Mechania
June Pickrell
as Mrs. Brown
Buddy Messinger
as Elevator Boy
Ray Mala
as Husky Young Mexican Bridegroom
Soledad Jiminez
as Old Peon's Wife
George Anderson
as Emmy's doctor
Edward Fielding
as American Consul
Francisco Maran
as Mexican doctor
Carlos Villarías
as Mexican judge
Charles Arnt
as Mr. MacAdams
Arthur Loft
as Hollander
Leon Belasco
as Mr. Spitzer
John Holland
as Mr. MacAdams
Ella Neal
as Bride
June Wilkins
as Vivienne Worthington
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Hold Back the Dawn

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (3)

You will enjoy it as a straight-away romance, crowded with most engaging characters and smoking with Mr. Boyer's charm.

Full Review… | February 3, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

While Hold Back the Dawn is basically another European refugee yarn, scenarists Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder exercised some ingenuity and imagination and Ketty Frings' original emerges as fine celluloidia.

Full Review… | February 3, 2012
Top Critic

This romantic weepie is both moving and effectively stylish.

Full Review… | February 3, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

A touching and memorable film, this brilliant romance offers evocative performances by Boyer and de Havilland.

Full Review… | February 3, 2012
TV Guide

Billy Wilder co-wrote but didn't direct this Oscar-nominated border drama, starring Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland.

Full Review… | March 11, 2011

Audience Reviews for Hold Back the Dawn

Some younger viewers might think this film takes place in the years after the war, but it was actually released a few months before the Pearl Harbor bombing - so it has a certain tension when viewed with this in mind. Thousands of Europeans were fleeing from the war, just as in the film Casablanca which was released 14 months after this film. Also of note is that the movie director we meet early in the film is not just an actor but is actually the credited director of the movie being watched. A very nice touch in adapting a Billy Wilder script.

Christopher Bergan
Christopher Bergan

Lovely drama with some really beautiful acting particularly from Olivia de Havilland. You catch a quick glimpse of an absolutely beautiful Veronica Lake, peekaboo bang firmly in place, filming a scene for her breakthrough movie I Wanted Wings at the very beginning of the film. She shimmers like the sun in her brief seconds on scene.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Charles Boyer is very good in this moving melodrama. I think he gets overlooked as an actor sometimes. Nice to see Olivia de Havilland sans hoop dress. Worth tracking down, TCM shows occasionally.

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

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