Arise, My Love

Arise, My Love is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by Mitchell Leisen and starring Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland and Dennis O'Keefe. It was made by Paramount Pictures and written by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett and Jacques Théry. Notable for its interventionist message, it tells the love story of a pilot and a journalist who meet in the latter days of the Spanish Civil War and follows them through the early days of World War II.[1] Colbert once said that Arise, My Love was her personal favorite film of all the ones she had made.[2][3] [Note 1]

Arise, My Love
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMitchell Leisen
Produced byArthur Hornblow Jr.
Written byBilly Wilder
Charles Brackett
Jacques Théry
Based onstory
by Benjamin Glazer, Hans Székely (as John S. Toldy)
StarringClaudette Colbert
Ray Milland
Dennis O'Keefe
Music byVictor Young
CinematographyCharles Lang
Edited byDoane Harrison
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 16, 1940 (1940-10-16)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States

Arise, My Love is based on the true story of Harold Edward Dahl. During the Spanish Civil War Dahl, who was fighting as a pilot for the Spanish Republican Air Force, was shot down and taken as prisoner of war. Initially sentenced to death, there were some diplomatic movements to free Dahl. His first wife, Edith Rogers, a known singer of impressive beauty, was said to have visited Francisco Franco herself to plead for his life. He remained in prison until 1940 and then returned to the United States.[5]


American pilot Tom Martin (Ray Milland) is a soldier of fortune who went to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. During the summer of 1939, he is languishing in a prison cell while awaiting execution. Unexpectedly granted a pardon on the morning that he is to face a firing squad, Tom's release has been managed by reporter Augusta "Gusto" Nash (Claudette Colbert), who posed as his wife. When the prison governor learns of the deception, the pair has to run for their lives.

Ending up in Paris, Tom tries, without success, to woo Gusto. When she is sent to Berlin as a correspondent, Tom pursues her with both of them again on the run as Hitler invades Poland. Booking passage on the ill-fated SS Athenia, the ship is torpedoed by a German submarine. After their rescue, Tom joins the RAF while Gusto remains in France as a war correspondent. At the fall of Paris, Tom is reunited with Gusto, and both decide to return home to convince Americans that a real danger awaits.



Filming for Arise, My Love began on June 24, 1940 on the Paramount lot and lasted until mid-August 1940, with the script continuously updated to incorporate actual events, such as the sinking of the SS Athenia and the signing of the armistice between France and Germany in the Forest of Compiègne.[6] The character of Augusta Nash was, reputedly based on that of Martha Gellhorn.[7]'Dream Lover, composed by Victor Schertzinger, lyrics by Clifford Grey, was sung and hummed by Claudette Colbert. The song was originally introduced in The Love Parade (1929).

A Stinson A trimotor was featured in the film as a Spanish aircraft. Noted aerial coordinator, Paul Mantz flew the aircraft.[8]


Arise, My Love Bosley Crowther, film reviewer for The New York Times considered the film a cynical way to exploit the war in Europe. "... it is simply a synthetic picture which attempts to give consequence to a pleasant April-in-Paris romance by involving it in the realities of war—but a war which is patently conceived by some one who has been reading headlines in California. Miss Colbert and Mr. Milland are very charming when tête-a-tête. But, with Europe going up in flames around them, they are, paradoxically, not so hot. Same goes for the film."[9]


Arise, My Love was adapted as a radio play on the June 8, 1942 episode of Lux Radio Theater with Milland joined by Loretta Young. It was also presented on the June 1, 1946 episode of Academy Award Theater, with Milland reprising his role.[6]

Awards and nominations

Arise, My Love won the Oscar for Best Story (Benjamin Glazer and Hans Székely), and was nominated for Best Music (Victor Young), Best Cinematography (Charles Lang) and Best Art Direction (Hans Dreier and Robert Usher).[10][11]



  1. The film's title comes from the Song of Solomon 2:10: "My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one ..."[4]


  1. Paris 1995, p. 124.
  2. "Claudette Colbert, Pure Panache: Biography." Meredy's Place. Retrieved: October 31, 2014.
  3. "Claudette Colbert Biography (1903-1996)." Lenin Imports. Retrieved: October 31, 2014.
  4. Dick 2008, p. 150.
  5. Gustavsson, Håkan. "United States of America: Harold Evans "Whitey" Dahl." Biplane fighter aces, January 20, 2014. Retrieved: October 31, 2014.
  6. LoBianco, Lorraine. "Articles: Arise, My Love (1940)." Turner CLassic Movies. Retrieved: October 31, 2014.
  7. Finnie, Moira. "Arise, My Love (1940) on TCM on 4/28." The Skeins, April 28, 2010. Retrieved: October 31, 2014.
  8. Farmer 1984, p. 294.
  9. Crowther, Bosley. "Arise My Love (1940); The screen:'Arise My Love' at the Paramount." The New York Times, October 17, 1940.
  10. "Details: 'Arise My Love' (1940)." Archived 2016-03-10 at the Wayback Machine The New York Times, 2010. Retrieved: October 31, 2014.
  11. "The 13th Academy Awards (1941) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved May 23, 2019.


  • Dick, Bernard F. Claudette Colbert: She Walked in Beauty. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2008, ISBN 978-1-60473-087-6.
  • Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
  • Paris, Michael. From the Wright Brothers to Top Gun: Aviation, Nationalism, and Popular Cinema. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1995. ISBN 978-0-7190-4074-0.
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