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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 112 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)

He Couldn't Say No (1938) on IMDb 5.8/10

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Complete credited cast:
Frank McHugh ...
Lambert T. Hunkins
Violet Coney
Cora Witherspoon ...
Mrs. Coney
Diana Lewis ...
Iris Mabby
Berton Churchill ...
Senator Mabby
Ferris Taylor ...
Oxnard O. Parsons
William Haade ...
Slug, a Gangster
Tom Kennedy ...
Dimples, a Gangster
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 more »


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


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 March 1938 (USA)  »

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

How desperate was Jane Wyman?
30 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"He Couldn't Say No" ranks as one of the top ten worst films I have ever seen. Jane Wyman, a brilliant, Academy Award winning actress, is completely wasted in this film. There are brief humorous moments, but they are overshadowed by the cardboard plot and insufficient character development. Frank McHugh was well-cast in the lead, but the film is so unbelievable that this is the only point in its favor.

The basic "plot" (such as there is) is as follows: Lambert, a less than average looking fellow (McHugh), who is fascinated by the beautiful Iris Mabby (Diana Lewis), a senator's daughter, is engaged to one his coworkers (Wyman). His fiancé dominates him and has an overbearing mother (Cora Witherspoon) as well. The three of them go to an auction to buy furniture to furnish the apartment in which all three (!) of them will live after the wedding. At the auction, Lambert spends an outlandish sum on a nude statue that looks exactly like Iris Mabby, infuriating his fiancé and her mother. From then on, the film centers around his attempts to keep the statue despite a great deal of crusading efforts from numerous other people.

All of the actors in this film were far more talented than this film makes them appear. If you are a Jane Wyman or Diana Lewis fan, don't disappoint yourself by watching this pathetic motion picture. There are a great many far better classic films that you could be viewing instead.

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