Hold Back the Dawn

Hold Back the Dawn is a 1941 American romantic drama film directed by Mitchell Leisen, in which a Romanian gigolo marries an American woman in Mexico in order to gain entry to the United States, but winds up falling in love with her. It stars Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, Paulette Goddard, Victor Francen, Walter Abel, Curt Bois, Rosemary DeCamp, and an uncredited Veronica Lake.


The story opens with Georges Iscovescu recounting his story to a Hollywood film director at Paramount in an effort to earn some quick cash. Georges is a Romanian-born gigolo who has arrived in a Mexican border town seeking entry to the US. He has to endure a waiting period of up to eight years in order to obtain a quota number, living with other hopeful immigrants in the Esperanza Hotel. After six months he is broke and unhappy. When he runs into his former dancing partner, Anita Dixon, she explains how she quickly obtained US citizenship by marrying an American, who she then, just as quickly, divorced.