Til We Meet Again (1940): Goulding’s Romantic Melodrama, Starring Merle Oberon and George Brent (New Year’s Movie)

Edmund Goulding was credited with directing Til We Meet Again, a romantic melodrama about doomed lovers, starring Merle Oberon and George Brent as doomed star-crossed lovers.

It is a remake of One Way Passage, with Frank McHugh reprising the same role he had played in the 1932 movie. 

Dan Hardesty (George Brent) and Joan Ames (Merle Oberon) meet by chance in a bar in Hong Kong. They share a drink before leaving, shattering their glasses to conform to a tradition.

After Joan has left, Dan is handcuffed by Lieutenant Steve Burke of the San Francisco police (Pat O’Brien), who’s been chasing the convicted murderer.

By chance, Burke takes Dan aboard the same ocean liner to San Francisco that Joan is taking.  Steve allows Dan the freedom of the ship. Dan and Joan fall in love, but they are both facing death. Dan has been sentenced to be hanged and Joan has a weak heart.

Also aboard are Dan’s crooked friends, “la Comtesse de Bresac” (Binnie Barnes) and Rockingham T. Rockingham (Frank McHugh), who help plan Dan’s escape at Honolulu.

La Comtesse, a con artist trained by Dan and in love with him, is assigned to keep Steve occupied. A romance develops between the mismatched pair.

Just before they reach Honolulu, Steve has Dan put in the ship’s brig, but la Comtesse slips Steve sleeping pills and gets the key. Dan makes his break, but is spotted by Joan. He agrees to postpone his “business” and go with her on a mountain outing, where they spend blissful time together.

On the way back, Dan stops and gets out of the rented car before they reach the pier, as they hear the signal to board the ship. This sudden, unexplained act agitates Joan, who collapses. The ship’s doctor then tells Dan about Joan’s bleak prognosis.

When they reach San Francisco, a reporter informs Joan of Dan’s fate. They bid each other goodbye, promising to reunite at a bar in Mexico City on New Year’s Eve, though knowing they would be unable to honor the appointment.

On New Year’s Eve, the bartenders at the bar are surprised when two glasses break of their own accord and the stems are crossed.

It is a remake of One Way Passage, with Frank McHugh reprising the same role he had played in the 1932 movie.

Cast

Merle Oberon as Joan Ames
George Brent as Dan Hardesty
Pat O’Brien as Police Lieutenant Steve Burke
Geraldine Fitzgerald as Bonny Coburn
Binnie Barnes as la Comtesse de Bresac
Frank McHugh as Rockingham T. Rockingham
Eric Blore as Sir Harold Pinchard, a shipboard victim

Note:

I am grateful to TCM for showing the film on December 7, 2019.