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'Til We Meet Again

Lobby card depicting Merle Oberon (left) and Geraldine Fitzgerald
Directed by Edmund Goulding
Anatole Litvak
William Keighley
William K. Howard
Produced by Hal B. Wallis (exec. prod.)
Written by Story:
Robert Lord
Warren Duff
Starring Merle Oberon
George Brent
Pat O'Brien
Studio Warner Bros.
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) April 20, 1940
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English

'Til We Meet Again is a 1940 romance film starring Merle Oberon and George Brent as two doomed, star-crossed lovers. It is a remake of the 1932 film One Way Passage and itself was remade into the 1954 Mexican 3-D film El valor de vivir.


Total strangers Dan Hardesty (George Brent) and Joan Ames (Merle Oberon) meet by chance in a bar in Hong Kong. They share a single drink before parting. They romantically shatter their glasses and leave the broken stems crossed on the counter. Outside the bar, Dan is handcuffed by Lieutenant Steve Burke (Pat O'Brien) of the San Francisco police. Burke has spent a year chasing the convicted murderer around the world.

By chance, Dan and Joan are traveling on the same ocean liner to San Francisco. Once they are underway, Steve allows Dan the freedom of the ship. Dan and Joan fall in love, but neither tells the other that they are facing death. Dan has been sentenced to be hanged and Joan has only weeks or at best months to live, due to a weak heart.

Also aboard are two of Dan's crooked friends, the "Comtesse de Bresac" (Binnie Barnes) and Rockingham T. Rockingham (Frank McHugh, reprising essentially the same role he played in the earlier One Way Passage). They help plan Dan's escape at Honolulu, the only stop along the way. The Comtesse, actually a con artist trained by Dan and in love with him herself, 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. However, the Comtesse slips Steve some 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 as they had planned. They spend a blissful few hours together. On the way back, Dan stops and gets out before they reach the ship. This sudden and unexplained act agitates Joan so much, she collapses. Dan carries her back aboard, much to the dismay of his friends.

The ship's doctor tells Dan about Joan's bleak prognosis. Later, when they reach San Francisco, a newspaper reporter informs Joan of Dan's fate. She rushes to see him one last time. They bid each other goodbye, each concealing their knowledge of the other's doom. They promise to reunite at a bar in Mexico City on New Year's Eve. On that day, the bartenders there are surprised when two glasses break of their own accord and the stems are crossed.


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