Clark Gable plays a card cheat who has to go on the lam to avoid a pesky cop. He meets a lonely, but slightly wild, librarian, Carole Lombard, while he is hiding out. The two get married ... See full summary »
Clark Gable plays a card cheat who has to go on the lam to avoid a pesky cop. He meets a lonely, but slightly wild, librarian, Carole Lombard, while he is hiding out. The two get married after Lombard wins a coin flip and they move back to the city. Gable continues his gambling/cheating scheme unbeknownst to Lombard. When she discovers his "other life", she presures him to quit. Gable feels crowded and tells her that he is leaving for South America. In fact, Gable has decided he wants to go straight and turns himself in to the cop... Written by
Jordan Caldwell <email@example.com>
In the first five minutes of the movie, Babe takes a taxi. We get a very clear view of the front hood of the cab, with the telephone number of the cab company. One hour into the movie, Babe calls his wife with his new office phone number. He looks at the dial of his new phone, and gives her the telephone number of the cab company. See more »
Just a New York cowboy aren't you? Passing through and giving a little small town girl her big moment.
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NO MAN OF HER OWN (Paramount, 1932), directed by Wesley Ruggles, is a notable film mostly for its pairing of Clark Gable (on loan from MGM) and Carole Lombard, if not much else. Though they would have made a great team in future film projects, mainly comedies, perhaps, this was to become their only teaming together. The term of "Gable and Lombard" wouldn't become legendary until years later when they officially became a married couple in 1939. As it stands in cinema history, this is where Gable and Lombard actually met.
Following the opening titles where the names and faces of its leading players are cleverly inserted into a deck of cards, the story opens at a luxurious New York City apartment of Kay Everly (Dorothy MacKaill) where of a game of poker is being held. Guests include professional cardsharp, Jerry "Babe" Stewart (Clark Gable), who "never goes back on a coin," his partners in crime, Vargas (Paul Ellis, Charlie Vane (Grant Mitchell); and the wealthy opponent, Mr. Morton (Walter Walker), president of the Riverside Bank. After Morton loses a considerable amount of money, the gentlemen depart, going their separate ways by taxi. Moments later, Babe, Vargas and Charlie return to the apartment where Babe goes over their mistakes. As Babe breaks his engagement with his mistress, Kay, Dick Collins (J. Farrell MacDonald), detective and close friend of Morton, enters the scene. Though he doesn't have enough evidence to place him under arrest, he informs Babe he's going to keep him and his gang under close surveillance. Sensing Collins wise to his racket, and that Kay could possibly betray him to the police, Babe feels it best to leave town until things blow over. At a flip of a coin, Babe takes the next train to the small town of Glendale. Upon registering at the Palace Hotel, he encounters Connie Randall (Carole Lombard), a librarian, bored enough to go away with the next traveling salesman who comes along. Though Babe is no salesman, he does sell himself to Connie, her parents (George Barbier and Elizabeth Patterson) and teenage brother, Willie (Tommy Conlan). After a social gathering at the Randall home, Babe follows Connie to Lake Inspiration where she's spending the weekend with friends. While inside her cabin, at a flip of a coin, Babe and Connie come to terms and get married. Taking up residence in New York, Babe pretends to be working at a Wall Street firm by day while continuing to host poker parties with suckers at night. As Connie notices Babe cheating at cards and learning of his crooked activities, an argument ensues, forcing Babe to take a three month leave for South America while Connie, at Babe's urging, to return home to her family. Awaiting for Babe's return, Connie receives a surprise visit from Kay informing her where Babe's actually been for three months.
Unless pertaining to the Kay Everly character, the title appears to have no bearing to the plot. The original story credited to Edmund Goulding, however, was initially done as a silent movie titled HAPPINESS AHEAD (First National Pictures, 1928) starring Colleen Moore, Edmund Lowe and Lilyan Tashman in the Lombard, Gable and MacKaill roles. As interesting as titles become recycled, HAPPINESS AHEAD (First National) was not only reused for a 1934 Dick Powell musical, but Paramount reused its NO MAN OF HER OWN title (1950) for an entirely different melodrama starring Barbara Stanwyck and John Lund.
Basically a dramatic tale, there are amusing elements performed to classify this as a comedy. The initial opening using a teaser certainly plays like one directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Gable shows his comedic flare through his several attempts gathering attention from the local librarian (Lombard). He also shows himself as a great ladies man when he and librarian clinch before the night is over. Though Lombard's reputation for screwball comedy wouldn't be realized until after her performance in TWENTIETH CENTURY (Columbia, 1934), her comedic talent does turns up occasionally through her sassy one-liners. Had NO MAN OF HER OWN been released a year earlier, Dorothy MacKaill might have assumed Lombard's role. A leading actress for First National Pictures (1925-31), with her most notable performance being the pre-code melodrama, SAFE IN HELL (1931), MacKaill's career by this time has reverted to forgettable projects and/or secondary roles until her retirement in 1937. With all the attention drawn towards Gable and Lombard, MacKaill's limitations during the opening and closing segments, could easily have any film buff forget she's in the movie at all. Though underscoring is sporadic, popular tunes lifted from earlier 1932 Paramount musicals, "Give Her a Kiss" (from THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT) and the title tune from LOVE ME TONIGHT, are used to good advantage for the cabin sequence between Gable and Lombard.
Distributed to home video in 1986 from Kartes Home Entertainment, and later on MCA/UA video and DVD, NO MAN OF HER OWN, has turned up on cable television's American Movie Classics (1993-94) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere October 13, 2008). Though not the immortal classic one could have hoped for, Gable and Lombard is all that's needed to watch, even at a flip of a coin. (*** decks of cards)
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