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He Couldn't Say No (1938)

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Crime  |  19 March 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 115 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

An office clerk is harassed by his girlfriend's mother.


(as Lew Seiler)


(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: He Couldn't Say No (1938)

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Complete credited cast:
Violet Coney
Cora Witherspoon ...
Mrs. Coney
Diana Lewis ...
Iris Mabby
Senator Mabby
Ferris Taylor ...
Oxnard O. Parsons
William Haade ...
Slug, a Gangster
Tom Kennedy ...
Raymond Hatton ...
Hymie Atlas, a Gangster
John Ridgely ...
Ed, the Man-On-The-Street Radio Reporter
Chester Clute ...
Cliff Clark ...
Rita Gould ...
Julia Becker, the Sculptor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cliff Saum ...
Painter (scenes deleted)


Office clerk Lambert T. Hunkins gets a ten-dollar raise and his girlfriend, Violet Coney, and her mother learn that he has also some money saved, and decide it is time Lambert and Violet got married and start supporting them. Lambert is secretly in lone with Iris Mabby, daughter of Senator Mabby, and he clips all the pictures of her that appears in the newspapers. Violet and Mom railroad him into getting engaged to Violet, and take him to an auction to buy for furniture for future use. Instead, he buys an-unauthorized statue of Iris. Her father wants it back, Lambert refuses and won't sell it at any price. Then a trio of gangsters show up with intentions of selling it to the senator at a very high price. Complications ensue en mass. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

senator | clerk | raise | statue | gangster | See All (49) »


HE GAMBLED ON LIFE...and won first prize in a love sweepstakes


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Larger than Life  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The play by Joseph Schrank opened in Springfield, Massachusetts on 16 March 1936. See more »

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User Reviews

While the story is silly and slight, it's a decent time-passer.
10 February 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I noticed that one of the reviews for this film says it's among the 10 worst films that they've ever seen. I can't understand this unless you just haven't seen all that many movies. I see it instead as a seriously flawed film but a decent time-passer nevertheless. It's the sort of nonsensical story you need to watch without thinking or complaining--just accept it for what it is.

The film begins with Frank McHugh playing a meek man (Lambert) who has a secret--he has an infatuation with a society lady, Iris Mabbey. You never really have any idea why--he just thinks she's the most beautiful woman on Earth. There is a woman who works with him (Jane Wyman) and she and her mother have just taken for granted that she WILL marry Lambert! And, while it looks as if Lambert doesn't want to marry her, he's so meek that he can't say no. Later he takes her and her super-obnoxious mother shopping for furniture at an auction. However, instead of spending his money on furniture, there's a statue that appears to be Iris--and he buys that instead. The two women are infuriated with him but for the first time he's clear--he MUST have that statue. Even when a blustering Senator (Iris' father) offers him a ton of money for it, Lambert isn't swayed--he MUST have that statue! Where all this leads, you'll have to find out yourself.

While the plot above is pretty silly and some parts of the ending are ridiculous, the film has a likable charm as well. No brilliant by any standard, still, I had a hard time disliking this cute film.

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