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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>
Harlow and Gable sizzle but the film is only good in the first half...
HOLD YOUR MAN starts out as a brisk romantic comedy about a con man and a smart-talking dame (CLARK GABLE and JEAN HARLOW), and appears to be a perfect vehicle for the two stars. She aids him when he's fleeing from the police and they gradually form an intimate relationship. She comes back at him with lots of sassy remarks any time they play the flirting game and the film is entertaining, breezy and funny, full of racy situations that got by in the pre-code era.
Then--wham--the tone changes when she's picked up after a scam goes wrong and Gable escapes. She's sentenced to two years in a women's reformatory and therein the plot gets stuck in a bundle of clichés as she interacts with other "roommates" and the film loses all the charm of the earlier scenes and settles for becoming a sob story--especially when she finds out she's pregnant and has no idea whether she'll ever see Gable again. As the only honest person in the whole story, Stu Erwin does a nice job in a thankless role. Gary Owen is amusing as Gable's fellow grifter.
Fortunately, the two stars have enough chemistry together to make it all very watchable, but the disappointing mid-section and predictable ending weakens it considerably from an entertainment standpoint.
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