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Hold Your Man
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Reviews & Ratings for
Hold Your Man More at IMDbPro »

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28 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

My God, she is stupendous! As real as unreal gets.

Author: (whitedudekickin) from Los Angeles
25 July 2003

I always loved Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, but not so much Jean Harlow. Me = dumb. I'd only seen clips of her films here and there. I always thought she was a hot one-liner, a glamour girl. But after seeing this, my first full length Jean Harlow experience, I admit that Miss Harlow was a truly great screen artist with the gift of creating rich characters. I simply fell in love with her, not because she was the first blonde bombshell or because she died young and became a legend. In this film, Miss Harlow's character is multi-dimensional beyond the traditional 1930's moll. She starts out one place and travels an arduous journey to end up on the other side of life. I loved her tough exterior. I loved her smile. I loved her song at the piano. My God, she was stupendous, she made me burst into tears when she sang her sad song. Most of all, I loved the HAPPY ENDING, Hollywood style. One other thing I was thrilled about was the African American inmate and her preacher father. Anita Loos was SO ahead of her time. She wrote 2 characters who were so lovely and so real. The inmate girl and her father brought such harmony to their scenes with all the white folk. A REVELATION for me. I hate stereotypes.

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22 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Grifters in love

8/10
Author: Brian Cady (cadyb@home.com) from Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.
19 May 2001

Clark Gable plays a con man who busts into the life of hard-boiled dame Jean Harlow. He tries to sucker her while she brushes him off with her tough-gal attitude. Despite their cynicism and cons they fall in love. When Gable accidentally kills a man during a sting he runs out leaving loyal Harlow to women's prison where she discovers she's pregnant. Anita Loos' and Howard Emmett Rogers' writing is excellent throughout with many well-drawn and surprising characters (including a Jewish socialist woman inmate and a black woman inmate and her preacher father played with hardly a trace of stereotype). Gable and Harlow show their mettle as actors adding telling nuances and quirks to their characters that send them beyond the typical Gable and Harlow roles. And the direction is much better than you'd expect from Sam Wood. One beautiful shot has Harlow being inducted into the prison, then led out into a surprisingly snowy courtyard as the camera tracks after her. This is one of the best of both the "criminals in love" and "women's prison" genres and has some of the best hard-boiled dialogue ever written.

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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Gable And Harlow Rock!

9/10
Author: Noirdame79 from Canada
23 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is witty, watchable and utterly touching. And now often do you get to see Jean Harlow (or any actress of this era, for that matter) give another woman a swift punch in the jaw? (Twice!)

After Harlow's Ruby is sent to a reformatory after getting mixed up with Gable's Edward Hall (he of that cheesy yet endearing crooked smile), her predicament becomes all the more complicated when she discovers that she is pregnant, and she's convinced that this rake has abandoned her, but in fact, her love has reformed him and he comes to see her, despite the fact that he will be arrested, and from the help of a minister, are married.

The wonderful relationship that Harlow shares with her fellow inmates is second only to her electric chemistry with Gable, who was her most frequent leading man. Her cynical character is a perfect match for Gable's smooth-talking crook. What's not to like?

"You know, you wouldn't be a bad looking dame - if it wasn't for your face!" Ruby cuttingly remarks to Gypsy, her rival. "If you're going to get that close to me, I'll have to open the other window!"

Priceless.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Jean In Stir

9/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
27 November 2007

Hold Your Man finds Jean Harlow, working class girl from Brooklyn falling for con man Clark Gable and getting in all kinds of trouble. The film starts out as his film, but by the time it's over the emphasis definitely switches to her character.

The film opens with Gable pulling a street con game with partner, Garry Owen and the mark yelling for the cops. As he's being chased Gable ducks into Harlow's apartment and being he's such a charming fellow, she shields him.

Before long she's involved with him and unfortunately with his rackets. Gable, Harlow, and Owen try pulling a badger game on a drunken Paul Hurst, but then Gable won't go through with it. Of course when Hurst realizes it was a con, he's still sore and gets belligerent and Gable has to punch him out. But then he winds up dead outside Harlow's apartment and that platinum blond hair makes her easy to identify. She goes up on an accomplice to manslaughter.

The rest of the film is her's and her adjustment to prison life. Her interaction with the other female prisoners give her some very good scenes. I think some of the material was later used for the MGM classic Caged.

Harlow also gets to do the title song and it's done as torch style ballad, very popular back in those days. She talk/sings it in the manner of Sophie Tucker and quite well.

Gable is well cast as the con man who develops a conscience, a part he'd play often, most notably in my favorite Gable film, Honky Tonk.

Still it's Harlow who gets to shine in this film. I think it's one of the best she did at MGM, her fans should not miss it.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly sweet and romantic film

10/10
Author: divapig from United States
28 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I expected this film to be a run-of-the-mill 1930's romance. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy loses girl, boy wins her back in the end. It wasn't like that at all. Clark Gable plays con artist Eddie with all his usual charisma and mischievous eyebrow raising. He is hiding out from the cops when he bursts into Ruby (Jean Harlow)'s apartment, to find her covered in bubbles in the bathtub, no less. Instant chemistry.She plays hard to get for a while, but a girl can only resist that grin for so long. The heat between them is evident, and there are some scenes that are definitely pre-production code! When a blackmail job goes bad and Ruby ends up in a boarding house for "troubled girls", she is miserable and, thanks to the ragging her roommate gives her, begins to believe that Eddie will never come for her. Harlow plays the hard-nosed, fast talking Ruby perfectly. She never lets Gable get all the good lines! There is an especially moving scene with her playing "their song" on the piano that is acted perfectly. The last fifteen minutes have me crying every time. A truly sweet romance.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Gable and Harlow demonstrate star power in this lesser known pairing.

Author: Poseidon-3 from Cincinnati, OH
31 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Two of MGM's most memorable stars enjoy some snazzy scenes together in this somewhat uneven, but mostly entertaining, romantic film. Gable, a con man, has to hot-foot it from the police after a scam gone wrong and winds up in the apartment of Harlow, who's no slouch in the pilfering business herself, though she gets her dough from an array of men in her life. After an uneasy start, they become close and embark on a relationship, one that isn't above the odd con job, but, when one goes horribly wrong, Gable is on the lam again and Harlow is sent off to a reformatory for women! Here things get a little sticky as Harlow pines for Gable and he risks everything in order to see her. A gaggle of fellow inmates work overtime in order to reunite the couple as the police close in. Gable looks positively adorable here. He delivers his lines with confidence and panache, but also reveals many different shades as his character begins to regard Harlow as more than just another floozy. His big emotional scene is, perhaps, a bit beyond his range, but most of the time he's in fine form and shares sparkling chemistry with his leading lady. Harlow is equally fine. She has a boatload of one-liners and wisecracks and delivers them all with her wonderfully common and knowing persona. She doesn't skimp on the emotional aspects of her character, though. It's a strong performance with a lot of variety to it. She is filmed, however, with some astonishingly heavy soft focus for someone who was only 22 or 23! Erwin appears as one of Harlow's devoted suitors and Burgess (the real-life niece of Fay Bainter) is one of Gable's cast-offs. She and Harlow have some terrifically bitchy exchanges in the film along with some physicality. Notable for its time is the fairly prominent presence of Harris as a black inmate at the reformatory. Though she is depicted as rooming in a different area, she spends much time in Harlow's room and has a substantial role with no mention made of race. Her father in the film, played by Reed, also has a critical role, though that is one of the more saccharine bits of the storyline. A good example of how busy MGM's stable of supporting players were is Friderici as the head matron. She appeared in 15 films the year before this one and 10 this year before dying in December (and appearing in two previously-filmed 1934 films after that!) The vast difference between the lighthearted first half and the more soapy second half may disappoint some viewers, but fans of the stars will surely enjoy seeing them go through their paces regardless. It's not an overly long film and has many captivating facets to it. The quasi-happy ending would likely not be possible just a year later when the Production Code was fully functioning.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Good cast as not-so-good characters

8/10
Author: Michael Morrison (morrisonhimself@consultant.com) from Arizona
20 April 2009

One of the great mysteries of life, suffered from daily, is why nice girls so often are more interested in the jerks and heels than in the nice guys.

Worse, when the nice guys even want to marry those girls, the girls STILL prefer the jerks and heels, even after the jerks and heels have shown their contempt, have shown they're just interested in using the girls.

Stu Erwin is the nice guy, who continues to be nice after being lied to and cheated and even after losing the girl completely.

Clark Gable is the jerk, and he is perfect in the role, rather a sad note to his fans.

Jean Harlow comes across as a more slender Mae West, even sounding like La West in some of her cynical throwaway lines.

Somewhat puzzling is that so many of the other characters, intended to be bad guys -- I mean, heck, they're locked up, so they must be -- are so obviously nice people.

In fact, there are lots of nice people here, people who, in a lesser film or story, would be snarling and back-stabbing but here go out of their way to help someone else.

So, maybe the story is rather clichéd, at least by modern standards, but ultimately the viewer will be glad to have watched.

The biggest complaint I have is that so many really good actors are not given credit. Once again, we can say a fervent "Thank You" to IMDb.com.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

50 out of the 87 minutes are entertaining

6/10
Author: aimless-46 from Kentucky
27 April 2006

"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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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Love takes time; a scheme goes bad.

6/10
Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
23 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This romantic comedy has Jean Harlow billed over Clark Gable and the couple are a touch or two away from combustible. Sam Wood produces and directs. Con-man Eddie Hall(Gable)in hiding from his last sucker slips into the apartment of Ruby Adams(Harlow)...from that moment the flirting, the sharp banter and "come-hither" looks begin. A quick blackmail scheme involving one of Ruby's married admires backfires when the would be victim is punched out cold, real cold...like...dead. Eddie manages to escape during the confusion, but the platinum blonde Ruby is put away for a couple years. When Eddie finds out that there is going to be a little Eddie, he must find a way to reach Ruby in the reformatory. Eddie is determined to marry Ruby so their child will not be illegitimate. Others in the cast: Stuart Erwin, Dorothy Burgess, Garry Owen, Blanche Friderici and Barbara Barondess. Harlow and Gable made six films together and this movie shows why.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Harlow and Gable at their best.

8/10
Author: mountainkath from United States
19 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jean Harlow and Clark Gable were a great on screen team and this may be their best movie together.

Yes, Hold Your Man can be cheesy and predictable, but that's not what I love about the movie. I love seeing Harlow and Gable together and in this film they are simply wonderful. It is obvious that they really enjoyed working together and that is part of what makes this such a wonderful film.

The witty dialogue, great script and attention to detail are the other things that make this such a good movie. I loved this movie the first time I saw it and on each subsequent viewing I always notice at least one new detail. To me, that is a mark of a great film.

The dialogue and script are better than most movies from this time period (early 30's). I adore classic movies, but I admit that most of them are just average and at times don't hold my interest. Hold Your Man is one of the exceptions.

This has a lot to do with the fact that Hold Your Man is a 'pre-code' movie. (The Hays code was not enforced until a year after Hold Your Man.) This movie could not have been made under the code. Well, it could have been made, but it would have been an entirely different story. Thank goodness the code was not enforced until 1934. Otherwise, we would have missed out on this gem.

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