Class distinction, infidelity, false identity... these were daring ingredients for a 1939 comedy, and Midnight (a casebook display of Paramount's shimmering studio style of the '30s) is as fresh today as it was when first released. The silky perfection of the Wilder-Brackett screenplay is expertly served by Leisen (a director who deserves ranking with Ernst Lubitsch and Preston Sturges), and Colbert is merely the brightest star in a flawless cast of screwball veterans. Poking fun at the elite was a Wilder-Brackett specialty, and Barrymore is particularly savvy to the material, giving a performance that's simultaneously sly, desperate, and hilariously inspired. The plot is so elegantly executed that Midnight makes most comedies of later decades look pale in comparison. Gone are the days, it seems, when sophistication, wit, and good taste were an integral part of Hollywood comedy. Midnight offers all of those qualities in abundance, making it a perfect antidote to the crudeness that dominates mainstream comedy at the turn of the millennium. --Jeff Shannon
Lev Raphael, author of the Nick Hoffman mysteries
Claudette Colbert is wisecracking chorus girl Eve Peabody (later Baroness Czerny), stranded in Paris, who is befriended by taxi driver Tibor Czerny (played by Don Ameche, in one of his best roles) and ends rubbing elbows with the "smart-set", with unexpected results. For those who have watched Anatole Litvak's "Tovarich" (1937) on TCM, starring Colbert and Charles Boyer, it has a similar premise, but the other way round, because in the latter Colbert, a Russian Grand Duchess who belongs to that country's Royal Family, pretends to be a maid.
The cast is full of excellent players: John Barrymore who impersonates with great skill, Monsieur Flammarion, a role somehow reminiscent of the one he played in "Twentieth Century" opposite Carole Lombard, but in a much "understated" manner. Mary Astor, as his unfaithful wife is rightly "stiff-upper-lip", high class and disdainful. Francis Lederer is very good as her lover, Jacques Picot, who falls under the spell of Colbert's charms. Rex O'Malley is Astor's wisecracking friend, Marcel Renard.
This movie has definitely the trademark "Paramount Look" and the great settings recreate Paris very well. There are many very funny scenes, especially those at the soirée offered by pretentious socialité Hedda Hopper and the party that takes place at the Flammarion Residence in Versailles, where all the guests dance "La Conga". Unforgettable.