Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
Cassie has come to New York and goes to work as a model where her friend Gladys works. She falls in love with wealthy young Jerry who is already married. Gladys has the same probelm with ... See full summary »
Raymond Dabney returns to his family after trouble with the law. He convinces the sheriff to give him a job watching the house and furniture of widow Crystal Wetherby without knowing she is... See full summary »
Lil works for the Legendre Company and causes Bill to divorce Irene and marry her. She has an affair with businessman Gaerste and uses him to force society to pay attention to her. She has ... See full summary »
Eddie Hall and his partner Slim are a pair of nickel-and-dime con men on the hustle. Nearly caught by the police, Eddie ducks into Ruby Adams's apartment and convinces her to hide him. Ruby isn't averse to taking advantage of the gullible herself and has even tried to manipulate money out of Al, the square shooter from Cincinnati who adores her. Ruby and Eddie hit it off, but when Eddie accidentally kills a drunk who was pawing Ruby, he takes off and she ends up in a women's reformatory, where she discovers she is pregnant. Devastated at the thought that Eddie has deserted her, she doesn't realize that Eddie has undergone a great change--one that will have a powerful impact on her. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
When Eddie is looking around Ruby's apartment, waiting for his clothes to dry, he spots a pennant on the wall that says "Albany Night Boat". That refers to the steamships that would depart New York City in the early evening for an overnight trip up the Hudson River to Albany. The ships had hundreds of staterooms and were often used - as the film's contemporary audience would know - for romantic getaways or illicit affairs. The pillow Eddie sees next may also have been a souvenir from the ship as it's inscribed "We're here today/Tomorrow we're through. So let's be gay. It is up to you." Such trips peaked in the early 20th century, but started to decline in the 1930's when less costly, speedier, and more efficient modes of transportation by rail and automobile came to the fore. By the 1940's, the Albany Night Boat had virtually ceased to exist. See more »
When Al and Ruby go to the Elite nightclub, as they are talking about her "lost" purse, the position of the ashtray on the table in the foreground keeps changing between shots. See more »
Lily Mae Crippen:
I'm a New Gospelite. My Papa's a preacher.
Yeah? Well, if he's a preacher, I should think he could get you out of here.
Lily Mae Crippen:
Oh, but he don't wanna get me out. He put me in!
Lily Mae used to pass around the plate at Papa's church.
And that ain't all.
Lily Mae Crippen:
Oh, hush your mouth. I didn't run around with the Navy.
What's wrong with the Navy?
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"Hold Your Man" is significant as Harlow's transitional film from the pre-code days. Although technically the Hays Code did not go into effect until July 1934, studios were to some extent trying to police themselves earlier than that to take some of the heat off. Harlow is significantly de-tuned physically here, from the hot presence a year earlier in "Red-Headed Woman" and "Red Dust". It also appears that to illustrate their ability to police themselves without a formal approval process, the studio tacked on a moralistic second half that turned a very entertaining romantic comedy into a sappy melodrama.
The film begins when depression-era hustler Eddie (Clark Gable) and his pal Slim con a pedestrian out of $30. Running from the police he blunders into an apartment and finds Ruby (Harlow) taking a bath. Ruby turns out to be a bit of a con artist herself and gets rid of the police. Eddie takes off but he has made an impression on Ruby and she arranges an "accidental" meeting. They soon fall in love but their marriage plans are interrupted by Eddie's accidental murder of one of Ruby's marks. He gets away but Ruby gets two years in a reformatory, which is portrayed as an intense Home Economics class.
Until it crashes and burns at the end this is a slick little romantic comedy written by Anita Loos (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). Gable provides his standard bravado and Harlow gives it right back to him. The script is quite clever and entertaining. Gable does not have quite the chemistry with Harlow that he had with Claudette Colbert or Rosalind Russell, but this is the kind of film that is best when its two stars are competing instead of cuddling.
Unfortunately the audience's identification impulse and emotional connection are casualties of Harlow's abrupt personality change from gritty seductress to dewy-eyed self-pitying victim. This confuses and distances those who were most involved in the story until that point.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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