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Cafe Metropole

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cafe Metropole
Cafe metropole poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEdward H. Griffith
Screenplay byJacques Deval
Based ona story
by Gregory Ratoff
Produced byDarryl F. Zanuck
Nunnally Johnson (assoc. producer)
StarringLoretta Young
Tyrone Power
Adolphe Menjou
CinematographyLucien N. Andriot
Edited byIrene Morra
Music byDavid Buttolph
Cyril J. Mockridge
Distributed byTwentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • May 7, 1937 (1937-05-07)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

Cafe Metropole is a 1937 American romantic comedy film directed by Edward H. Griffith, released by 20th Century Fox and starring Loretta Young, Tyrone Power and Adolphe Menjou.


Iin Paris in 1937, Victor Lobard owns the very exclusive Café Metropole. One night, he has to get drunken American Alexander Brown to leave after closing time. Then he is visited by a distraught Maxl Schinner. Maxl loaned him 900,000 francs (which he embezzled), and Victor has repaid nothing. Victor asks for another 60,000 francs and promises to repay everything at 6 o'clock the next evening. Maxl gives him the money.

Victor risks the 60,000 francs at baccarat and wins 420,000 more. Alexander wagers the full amount against him, but loses. Victor seemingly has the money he needs, but then Brown confesses he is penniless. Victor makes a deal with Alexander, getting him to impersonate a Russian nobleman, Prince Alexis Paneiev, and win over heiress Laura Ridgeway, the daughter of an old friend of Victor's, so that Victor can get his hands on the girl's money.

"Alexis" shows up early at the café and goes to the Metropole's florist's shop for a boutonnière. There he is mistaken by Laura for an employee; Alexis is enchanted, without knowing who she is. When Laura joins her father at their table, she asks Victor to steer some celebrities or royalty her way. Then, Alexis makes his entrance and is greeted by Victor as "your highness", much to Laura's embarrassment. Victor manages it so that Alexis dances with Laura. They get along wonderfully. However, there is a complication. Alexis is called away by a waiter to answer a telephone call. There is no call: the waiter turns out to be the real Alexis Paneiev. Victor manages to soothe his outraged honor and obtain his silence for 50,000 francs.

Alexander falls in love with Laura, but he cannot bear to lie to her any longer. He tries and fails to discourage her love for him without revealing the sordid details. He tells Victor that he will tell her the truth, but when she telephones and asks him to marry her, he at last says yes. Victor has his lawyer, Monnet, present Alexander with a contract asking for money from Laura's father, Joseph Ridgeway: half a million dollars before the wedding, and the same amount after, as well as various sums for any children. This so disgusts Alexander that he tells Victor that he is through with the scheme. Victor, after trying to bluff him into submission, pretends to give up and gives him back his passport and his bad check. Then Victor tells Ridgeway that Alexis is a fraud. He cons Ridgeway into believing he bought Alexis off; Ridgeway writes him a check for a million francs to help with the costs.

Ridgeway tells Laura the news, but she surprises him by saying she knew all along. However, when he states that he bought Alexis off, Laura does not believe him. She is certain that Alexis is in trouble and insists on finding out what is going on.

Ridgeway asks the Sûreté to arrest Alexis. Instead, they jail the genuine prince. When Laura goes to the jail to see her Alexis, she is surprised to find an older man, who reveals that Victor is involved somehow. As Laura is leaving, she finds Alexander being charged with fraud. Joseph Ridgeway is arrested on the false charge that he was impersonating himself. They realize that they have all been played by Victor. They get out of jail and go back to the Café Metropole. Alexander and Laura, who are going to get married, get back the check that Alexander wrote, so he is no longer in danger of going to jail.

Loretta Young Portrait
Loretta Young Portrait
Tyrone Power
Tyrone Power



Frank S. Nugent from The New York Times had an indifferent opinion on the film. In regards to the leads he wrote, "The Tyrone Power-Loretta Young team, formed in 'Love Is News,' and scheduled for still greater things, fulfills its lightly romantic duties pleasantly."[1] Beyond this, Nugent gave his opinion on what he thought worked well writing, "its plot has a warmed-over look about it... Yet, it comes pleasantly seasoned with comedy and it has been served with a modest flourish or two."[1] He goes on to acknowledge the entertainment that each character brought to the film. As well, Nugent included some critiques such as, "Mr. Ratoff [Gregory Ratoff], its author, and Jacques Deval (of "Tovarich"[Tovaritch (film)]), its screen adapter, might have displayed a wee bit more originality in resolving a promising theme... The Rivoli [a movie theatre] has given us much worse, and much better."[1]

Film Critic, Mae Tinée, from the Chicago Tribune wrote a much higher praise for Café Metropole saying, "Direction was excellent and the film is beautifully put on. Not a dull moment in 'Café Metropole'- you have my word for it."[2]

Writing for Night and Day in 1937, Graham Greene gave the film a poor review, complaining primarily of the cinematography, set, and aesthetics. Greene conceded that the film was "a very amusing script, admirably acte[ed]", but that these were "all thrown away by inferior direction", and he compared the film to "a plain, honest, inexpressibly dull guest at a light and loony party".[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Preview unavailable - ProQuest". Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  2. ^ "Preview unavailable - ProQuest". Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  3. ^ Greene, Graham (30 September 1937). "Knight Without Armour/Café Metropole". Night and Day. (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome. Oxford University Press. pp. 171–172. ISBN 0192812866.)

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This page was last edited on 21 June 2022, at 15:00
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