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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
A Southern hick, I love it when Vermonters are made fun of. Of course, they are only one of the many groups this movie pokes fun at. If you don't want to see physical abuse made funny, don't see this hilarious satire on everything politically correct. Of course, what really makes this hilarious is that in 1937, they didn't KNOW it was politically incorrect to show man hitting women, to show 'darkies', irascible and rude New Englanders, etc. Then there's the propeller-driven airplanes, the first of the airliners flying right past the head of the Statue of Liberty. And guess what? Jack Welch's fortress, Rockefeller Center, looked then just like it looks now.
Some things don't change: newspaper chicanery, among others. The hoaxes they bring about, and the hoaxes they continue to abet all in the name of news, is not news anymore.....it's SOP. Right now, the current hoax is the nomenclature used to describe the appointing of the Cabinet, as though the election were a fait accomplis: "Andrew Card, the president's new appointee......" and other such insiduously assumptive language has been used before, as this movie wonderfully points out. In this case, it's a woman at death's door dying of radium poisoning.....who ain't!!! I'm giving nothing away, it's perfectly obvious from the beginning.
I suppose I should rail against the prejudice shown against all newspaper folks by the good people of Vermont, as they shut this guy out....with one toddler biting him on the leg as he walks down the street....but it just felt too good. (After all, some really do take their jobs as members of the 4th Estate and protectors of the common good seriously.)
The color is pretty good for 1937, and you'll see the Wicked Witch of the East portraying her less wicked, but still spiteful self.
What will give you chills is the pervading knowledge as you hear Carole Lombard's dialogue about death and dying...that she wasn't to ever grow old gracefully, but died in a plane crash not long after this film was made. She was a beautiful woman, and did quiet a good job of acting in this many-faceted satire of life and our attraction to dying, or the pretense of it.
Well worth your time on many levels ...just to see film-making of the 30's and how good it could be, for one.
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