Fools for Scandal (1938) Poster

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Very pleasant surprise.
elginbrod200010 April 2005
This film is described in Carole Lombard's biography by Larry Swindell as "one of the horrendous flops of the thirties decade" and by Photoplay as "inane" and "pointless". I must say that I was expecting something as horrendous as Carole's 1933 movie "White Woman", but was pleasantly surprised to find this an endearing, lighthearted romp. The actors seemed to enjoy themselves and recognize that they were not filming Shakespeare, but a screwball comedy. The scenes are varied and interesting, the action moves along at a bright pace and things are anything but dull, including a surprise ending to top things off.

The only criticism I can make is that Carole does seem to shout her lines for some unknown reason. I assume this is the director's fault. And the overall tone of the movie should probably have been toned down and played with more sophistication in spots to give the film a little more class. In a few places it almost goes over the top into a "Three Stooges" mode. Ralph Bellamy really made me laugh a few times. However, Carole has never been more beautiful, and I was not turned off by Fernand Gravet's performance as so many seemed to have been at the time. Come on, no ones perfect. If this film had been made a few years earlier in her career, I think it could easily have been a classic.
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Uneven but Enjoyable
Maliejandra Kay14 April 2008
Kay Winters (Carole Lombard) is vacationing in Europe under the name Kay Summers; she is a famous movie star from Hollywood but wants to avoid crowds. She runs into an attractive young man named Rene (Fernand Gravet) who is on route to a party of a mutual friend, but neither know of this connection. They decide to skip the party altogether and spend the evening dining out. After a delightful night, the two decide to see each other again, but Kay is all set to return to the states. Her love keeps her, though, and she and Rene meet. Soon, love turns sour for the couple and Rene does all he can to create a scandal for Kay. He takes a job as the cook in her home and before long the whole town is swarming with rumors about Kay's new beau.

This film starts out strong, wanes a bit in the middle, and then ends in a fit of laughter. Of course Lombard is best known for her ability with a comedic story, and this film is no exception. Gravet is quite impressive too. He is hysterical in the dinner scene where he does all he can to break up Kay and her fiancée (Ralph Bellamy).
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'it's scandalicious!'
DoubleDownDuderino25 November 2005
An enjoyable character-driven romantic comedy, and a delight it was. Don't expect the best thing since sliced bread, but for a genre which I don't particularly find to be my cup of tea, this made me smile a bit.

Most of the smiling due to Fernand Gravet's performance, slick, charming, funny and clever, as well as the chemistry between he and Lombarde. The supporting roles filled by Bellamy and Jeans were also spot on, creating a great comedic environment.

I don't put much stock into plot when it comes to romantic comedies, regardless of whether it was made yesterday or 60 years ago, so if you can get past that, then you'll truly enjoy yourself.

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blanche-27 October 2010
Carole Lombard and Ferdinand Gravet are "Fools for Scandal" in this 1938 comedy from Warner Brothers, also starring Ralph Bellamy and Allen Jenkins. Lombard plays an incognito Hollywood star in Paris who meets Gravet, who falls for her. He's totally broke, and the best parts of the film are the trips to the pawn shop to free his tux, etc., which means his buddy (Jenkins) has to wear a sandwich board around town to advertise the shop. There's also a masquerade party where everyone goes as their favorite animal.

This is a very slight comedy, with Bellamy in the familiar role of Lombard's eager fiancée. Lombard's acting is quite frantic and high pitch, but she's lovely. Such a sad and early end to her life, I always feel sad when I see her.

Good performances, but unless you're a Lombard fanatic, you can skip this one.
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Blooper outtakes made me want to see this '38 film...
Neil Doyle1 April 2008
Only because CAROLE LOMBARD and FERNAND GRAVET (he played Johann Strauss in "The Great Waltz") are shown enjoying themselves during a blooper moment on the dinner set of FOOLS FOR SCANDAL (in The Big Breakdowns of '38), did I want to see this romantic comedy. Turns out not to be quite the lark I expected, even though it has the usual Warner contract players in the supporting cast, including RALPH BELLAMY, ALLEN JENKINS, ISABEL JEANS and MARIE Wilson.

In the blooper, Carole had trouble digging into her steak which triggered an outburst from her and giggles from the other players. It was so amusing that I wanted to see the actual scene in the movie.

Unfortunately, FOOLS FOR SCANDAL is the screwiest kind of screwball comedy. None of the characters are the least bit grounded in any kind of reality, strictly cut-outs with dull one-liners as they confront one silly situation after another. The plot is something about a screen actress (Lombard) being stalked by a charming Frenchman whom she eventually hires as a cook. All of her female friends are crazy about him--and she's just, well--crazy. CAROLE LOMBARD plays her role at a fever pitch of fast talking nonsense and FERNAND GRAVET joins the mad pace with good humored sportsmanship. RALPH BELLAMY has his usual third wheel role of a man earnestly in love with Carole but obviously not headed for the altar at the final reel. He plays his role like an eager puppy wanting to please, but the results are still rather meager.

Summing up: Contrived screwball comedy is enjoyable only for the performances of the three leads, but the situations are unbelievable and overacted in the sledgehammer style of acting prevalent in Warner comedies of the '30s.
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"Isn't France wonderful? Everybody speaks French, even the children."
utgard1412 August 2014
American actress (Carole Lombard) visiting Paris meets a penniless Frenchman (Fernand Gravet). He becomes smitten with her and pursues her for the rest of the movie. This doesn't sit well with her dull American beau (Ralph Bellamy).

Carole Lombard tries too hard in this to overcompensate for the weak script by acting like she's in one of her other (better) screwball comedies. She shouts a lot, for some reason, and it's annoying. She is beautiful, though. French actor Fernand Gravet has no chemistry with Lombard and seems ill-suited to being a leading man. It doesn't help matters that he's French yet has a nasally English accent. Presumably this is because Gravet was raised in England. Ralph Bellamy is fine in a role he was very used to by this time. Poor Ralph Bellamy. His career was built on playing the boring nice guy who gets thrown over for the more exciting, flirtatious guy. Nice support from Allen Jenkins, Marie Wilson, and Isabel Jeans. A huge box office flop when released, it's considered by many Lombard fans today to be her worst movie. It's not very funny, that's for sure.
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The one with the daffy heroine and the cook
jarrodmcdonald-11 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Carole Lombard made this delightful farce for First National/Warner Brothers, a company not ordinarily known for its lighter comedic fare. This is certainly one of her best, if not least known, films.

French actor Fernand Gravet does a Maurice Chevalier imitation and strikes the perfect balance with Lombard. But the highlight for this writer is Ralph Bellamy's performance as the long- suffering beau that loses the girl in the film's final minutes. The dinner scene where they keep getting interrupted is hilarious. So is the scene where all the women come into Lombard's bedroom to find out about the scandal involving her and the cook (Gravet).

You'd be a fool to miss this film.
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Cute but doesn't quite hit the target
csteidler12 June 2012
Carole Lombard plays a famous American actress staying in Paris; she encounters handsome but broke Fernand Gravet, who spends the first part of the film trying to rescue various items from the pawn shop, and then ends up as Lombard's chef—whether she wants him or not. It's all mildly amusing.

Allen Jenkins does his best as Gravet's sidekick but is hampered by lack of strong dialog. Isabel Jeans gives a deliciously gossipy performance as "Lady Malverton," a pillar of society who knows a good scandal when she smells one.

Ralph Bellamy is good as always, playing his usual chump in love with easily-distracted Lombard. One of the picture's few highlights is when Bellamy tries to tell a joke about a man ordering a steak—it's a really crummy joke made worse by Bellamy's chuckling as he tells it. (That this is a highlight unfortunately says a lot about the rest of the picture.)

The story is okay, the production slick, the dialog decent….but it's all just a little slow, or flat, or too predictable. Lombard is beautiful and frenetic as always—but there's just not much to her character, and certainly nothing memorable or unique from her other similar roles. And Fernand Gravet? Whether he was miscast or mismatched, I don't know—but he's just not very appealing.

Overall, a nice try but pretty forgettable. Too bad.
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The box office rot had set in
Ms_Q24 April 2008
and it was largely because of the Lombard/Gable ''scandal''. Their affair had become very public by 1938 and was probably not greeted with open arms by the American filmgoing audience at the time, considering that Gable was already ''respectably'' married. Lombard did not then endear herself to her public and why should she have? Gable was the idol of millions of women and Lombard was an unwelcome bubble burster. Look at the box office performance of this and her subsequent films, they were virtually all flops until her fortunes began to revive, slightly, with Mr and Mrs Smith. By this time the burning jealousy of those millions of women had softened somewhat. It's kind of fascinating. Fools For Scandal was an expensive and derisive echo of My Man Godfrey, and nowhere near as good. But it was by no means the worst film of the year. A misfire, no doubt. But one with a certain amount of cache. One thing's for sure, it did not result in any kind of a contract for Lombard at Warner Brothers, under the helm of the miserly Jack Warner.
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supremely average AND with a twisted message to stalkers out there
MartinHafer29 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is an odd little film that is neither good nor bad. It's intended as a screwball romance, but just doesn't come together well at all. The film stars Carole Lombard and a complete unknown in the US, Fernand Gravey. Apparently Gravey had a very long and distinguished career in France, but in America, he never became a household name.

Gravey plays a down-and-out Frenchman that falls in love with Lombard at first sight. And, as a result, he spends much of the movie pursuing her in a fashion that today would be seen as stalking. And, since this is a film, she falls in love with him by the end--thus providing supporting evidence to sick freaks everywhere that if you pursue a woman long enough and refuse to take NO for an answer, she WILL eventually give in and marry you. Talk about your healthy messages to our kids!!! Well, despite it having a sick and twisted message, the film itself is amiable fluff. It's enjoyable and slight--sort of like eating a whole lot of meringue. After a little while, you've had plenty and are ready for a break.
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A Charming Gem
marylois-788-91030411 August 2014
Carole Lombard was at her peak of beauty and comic technique in this lost old gem about a movie star incognito in Paris. The setup made me think briefly of Notting Hill, but the times were different--it was all about the glittering scenery, the ritzy richness, the absolutely brilliant way with witty dialogue and delicious, delicate physical comedy. The title is not inviting and doesn't have much of anything to do with the film--even if it had been called FOOD FOR SCANDAL that would have been closer to the point--but the interplay between Lombard, Ralph Bellamy, and Fernand Gravet was exquisite. The villains (or villainesses) were first-rate too, making this romp well worth a watch.
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Where is the music?
malcolmgsw1 August 2005
When i saw the names of Rodgers & Hart in the credits together with that of Bobby Connolly i sat back and waited for some enjoyable musical numbers.Alas apart from one brief number in the nightclub and another number briefly "sung" by Lombarde and Gravet there was nothing.It is a shame because if this was a comedy there is Pecos little to laugh about.Intersesting to note that there is no credited director.Most of the humour seems to revolve around French cooking.Tell me where in 1930s London would you have purchased Escargot?Unfortunately,the script is poor,Gravet is out of his depth,Lombarde seems to want to get this over with as quickly as she can and Bellamy does his usual sad sap routine.So if it comes up in the TV schedules my advice is don't bother.
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yikes, stay away
dvbar11 April 2008
Ugh I've been trying to watch screwball comedies from the 30's and 40's and thoroughly enjoying most of them. In reading about them Carole Lombard's name often comes up as the "Queen" of screwball comedies, so when I saw this movie was on I decided to sit back and enjoy seeing the "Queen" at work. While Lombard was funny the movie itself just wasn't, in fact I barely got through it all. As in all movies and especially screwball comedies suspension of disbelief is definitely needed to enjoy the ride but in this case I just couldn't. Ralph Bellamy plays his usual guy who gets dumped for the more fun handsome or charming leading man, in this case played by Fernand Gravey, but for once I can't see why Lombard or anyone would take Gravey over Bellamy. His penniless chef or marquis or whatever he was supposed to be was just plain annoying, I'm assuming this was meant to come off as charming(Lombard's character at least thought so, I think, even that wasn't very convincing) but it wasn't at all.

If I'm to believe Lombard's character is this easily pestered into a relationship then I have to wonder why Bellamy's annoying character hasn't already pestered her into marriage. And her chasing Gravey down the street begging him to take her back after he reveals he has some title was just plain ridiculous(though I guess they had to make something up to set up the final scene). For my first Lombard movie I must say I'm pretty disappointed and really hope this isn't her best work. Hopefully a better leading man or director or script will help.
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A forgotten gem
spotted-owl10 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Fools for Scandal" (1938) is a delightful comedy about the romance of a movie star (Carole Lombard) with her French chef (Fernand Gravet). Carole Lombard is glamorous and sassy, and Gravet is charming, zany and fun. The dialog is clever and witty.

American movie star Kay Winters is traveling incognito in Montmartre, Paris. She disguises herself in a hat and a brunette wig, to avoid publicity. Kay meets Rene, a handsome Frenchman. Although Rene is penniless, he is charming and an expert cook. He is also a marquis, which Kay does not know for most of the film.

Kay and Rene go to a jazz club, where Les Hite and his orchestra perform. Jeni Le Gon sings and dances.

When Kay leaves for London, Rene pursues her, and Kay eventually hires him as her chef. Kay's boyfriend Phillip (Ralph Bellamy) is an insurance businessman with a bland personality, who contrasts with Rene's zany character.

At the beauty parlor, rumors swirl about the movie star and her cook. Fifteen of Kay's gossipy friends crowd onto her bedroom sofa to find out about the relationship. Tabloid reporters wait outside her house.

The "Noah's Ark" costume party where the guests wear masks of their favorite animals is hilarious!

Kay and Phillip have an engagement dinner which is totally zany. Rene serves the entrees wearing an 18th century costume with culottes and a powdered wig. Phillip and Kay do not like the snail (escargot) entree. Kay wears a stunning black evening gown to the dinner.

The ending is sweet.

The sets of Montmartre, Paris, and Kay's lavish Art Deco house, are superb. Lombard wears many glamorous gowns and furs.

This is an underrated film. Hopefully a DVD will be released soon. Highly recommended.
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