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Nothing Sacred (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 26 November 1937 (USA)
An eccentric woman learns she is not dying of radium poisoning as earlier assumed, but when she meets a reporter looking for a story, she feigns sickness again for her own profit.



(screen play), (suggested by a story by) (as James H. Street)

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Complete credited cast:
Wally Cook
Dr. Enoch Downer
Oliver Stone
Dr. Emil Eggelhoffer (as Sig Rumann)
Master of Ceremonies
Troy Brown Sr. ...
Ernest Walker (as Troy Brown)
Max Levinsky
Vermont Drugstore Lady
Vermont Baggage Man
Raymond Scott and His Quintet ...
Novelty Swing Orchestra (as Raymond Scott and his Quintette)


Hazel Flagg of Warsaw, Vermont receives the news that her terminal case of radium poisoning from a workplace incident was a complete misdiagnosis with mixed emotions. She is happy not to be dying, but she, who has never traveled the world, was going to use the money paid to her by her factory to go to New York in style. She believes her dreams can still be realized when Wally Cook arrives in town. He is a New York reporter with the Morning Star newspaper. He believes that Hazel's valiant struggle concerning her impending death is just the type of story he needs to resurrect his name within reporting circles after a recent story he wrote led to scandal and a major demotion at the newspaper. He proposes to take Hazel to New York both to report on her story but also to provide her with a grand farewell to life. She accepts. Wally's story results in Hazel becoming the toast of New York. In spending time together, Wally and Hazel fall in love. Hazel not only has to figure out what to do ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See the big fight! LOMBARD vs MARCH. Selznick International's sensational Technicolor comedy


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 November 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La joyeuse suicidée  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,831,927 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecast of this film occurred Monday 23 October 1944 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). Although, prior to a 1948 telecast of this film, some historians contend that theatrical films were broadcast on TV uncut from beginning to end without commercial breaks, but on a Sunday night in 1948, just prior to a telecasting of a hockey match from Madison Square Garden that would have ended the broadcasting day at 11 p.m., this film was shown without opening credits and was interrupted by a single 60-second commercial. According to an article by film historian Don Miller in the August-September 1961 issue of "Films in Review," this marked the first time a motion picture was telecast with a commercial break, but this information has since been proven dubious. In Los Angeles, this film was first telecast Sunday 19 September 1948 on KTLA (Channel 5) and in Baltimore Sunday 14 November 1948 on WMAR (Channel 2); all these early broadcasts were, of course, in B&W. See more »


Master of Ceremonies: [introducing on stage performer on horseback] Katinka who saved Holland by putting her finger in the dyke. Show them the finger babe.
Katinka: [extends bandaged middle finger to audience]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Each of the stars' names are shown on a title card set beside a plaster caricature. The rest of the cast have caricatures alongside their names in the credits. See more »


Featured in Hollywood: The Selznick Years (1969) See more »


Dark Eyes
Arranged by Raymond Scott
Performed by Raymond Scott and His Quintet
Played for Catherine the Great sequence
See more »

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User Reviews

The original and the best
7 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Nothing Sacred" has been remade in whole or part many times but no version comes close to the original 1937 screwball comedy starring Frederic March and Carole Lombard. Directed by William Wellman with a script by Ben Hecht, Nothing Sacred is more topical today than it was then. There's been a good deal written on this board about the political incorrectness of it: racism, drunkenness, physical abuse, stereotyping. It's true, there's something to offend everyone. Instead of judging everything by today's enlightened standards, I prefer to notice that yes, things were different in the past and then move on to the wonderful, witty script, the very modern topic, the great performances, the early, muted color, Lombard's outfits, the old airplane and the scenes of New York as it was in all its glory in the 1930s.

March is Wally Cook, a reporter in hot water for writing about the Sultan of Brunai who in reality is a regular Joe working in New York with a wife who identifies him while he's making pronouncements. Wally goes to Vermont to hunt down a story about a woman dying of radium poisoning and finds her in the person of Hazel Flagg (Lombard). Hazel has just gotten some very bad news from her doctor (Charles Winninger)

  • she's not dying. The diagnosis was a mistake. She had hopes of taking

a trip out of Vermont that was offered to her and asks the doctor to keep the new diagnosis of health quiet. Soon after, she meets Wally, who wants to bring her to New York for a last fling at the expense of the paper, which will follow her until her last poisoned breath. Hazel agrees and takes the doctor with her. At first, she has a blast with only the occasional twinge of guilt. Then a German specialist is brought in and blows Hazel's scam all to hell.

One of the comments had it right - this story predates reality shows by something like 63 years. Hazel, like so many today, is an ersatz celebrity, famous for being famous. What will never change is milking a subject for profit until it's dry. Nothing Sacred has some hilarious scenes and great lines, including the big fight scene in the hotel when Wally tries to make Hazel seem ill by forcing her to fight with him in order to sweat and raise her pulse rate. The nightclub scene is a riot.

Lombard is beautiful and wears some stunning outfits and gowns, a gift to Hazel from the newspaper. She was a very adept actress with a wonderful sense of comedy. How sad that she is in a film about dying young and would do so five years later at the age of 34. She and March do a great job together - he's normally not known for his comedy but does well here. He approach to Wally is serious and he plays Wally's intensity and affection for Hazel for all it's worth. Connelly as his editor is fabulous, as is Winninger as the doctor who drinks his way through New York.

Nothing Sacred has been a musical, Hazel Flagg, and remade as Living it Up (with Jerry Lewis as Homer Flagg). Most recently, the general plot was reworked as Last Holiday. See the original in the screwball comedy genre which is, alas, no more.

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