6.7/10
1,057
38 user 6 critic

Idiot's Delight (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 27 January 1939 (USA)
A group of disparate travelers are caught and thrown together in a posh Alpine hotel when the borders are closed at the beginning of World War II.

Director:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A jewel thief and a con artist are rivals in the theft of a valuable gem as the Japanese army invades China.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell, Peter Lorre
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two rival newsreel photographers join forces to find the an aviatrix's missing brother, who has disappeared in the Amazon rainforest.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Walter Pidgeon
A Free Soul (1931)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An alcoholic lawyer who successfully defended a notorious gambler on a murder charge objects when his free-spirited daughter becomes romantically involved with him.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore
Strange Cargo (1940)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Convicts escaping from Devil's Island come under the influence of a strange Christ-like figure.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Ian Hunter
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Dill leaves Mary standing at the altar in order to marry his old flame, Connie, instead. Knowing that Mary still has feelings for Dill, Jeff keeps quiet about his own love for her.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Robert Montgomery, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A con man on the run from the police falls for a librarian.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Dorothy Mackaill
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A talented boxer and a gifted dancer hope to increase their waning popularity by inventing a fictitious love affair for the benefit of the tabloids.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Marion Davies, Clark Gable, Allen Jenkins
Saratoga (1937)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After winning a stud farm in lieu of gambling debts, bookie Duke Bradley turns an eye to the daughter of the now deceased gambler and her millionaire fiancée.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore
Dancing Lady (1933)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An attractive dancer is rescued from jail by a rich man, who helps her to have her first big opportunity at a musical play on Broadway.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Two brother, rival correspondents, find themselves fighting their conservative editor over stories and each other of over the affections of a pretty blonde journalist.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Robert Sterling
Boom Town (1940)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two buddies who rise from fly-by-night wildcatters to oil tycoons over a twenty year period both love the same woman.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert
Possessed (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An ambitious factory girl meets a handsome, wealthy lawyer, but he's interested in her as a mistress, not a wife.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Wallace Ford
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Donald Navadel (as Skeets Gallagher)
Peter Willes ...
...
William Edmunds ...
Dumptsy
...
Pittatek
...
...
Les Blondes - Francine
...
Les Blondes - Beulah
Edit

Storyline

When song-and-dance man Harry Van returns from World War I, he finds work hard to come by. His greatest success comes as straight man in a phony vaudeville mind-reading act with the tipsy Madame Zulieka. While on tour in Omaha he meets acrobat Irene Fellara, and they have a brief romance. Twenty years later while Harry is on tour in Europe with a troupe of leggy blonde dancers, his train is stopped at the Swiss border and he finds himself stranded in the Alps in anticipation of World War II hostilities. Harry and his chorines take refuge in an Alpine hotel with a group of disparate travelers who are also marooned there. Among them are an American pacifist, British newlyweds, a cancer researcher, a German munitions manufacturer, and a beautiful blonde expatriate Russian aristocrat who looks suspiciously like the Irene of two decades earlier. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Biggest Thrill They Ever Gave You! Norma and Clark together in the romance of a "ham" song-and-dance man and a "red-headed liar from Omaha." See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

27 January 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az élet komédiása  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Idiot's Delight (1939) served as the basis of the stage musical "Dance a Little Closer" (book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Charles Strouse). Directed by Lerner and starring Len Cariou and Liz Robertson, it opened in New York on May 11, 1983, closing the same night. See more »

Goofs

During the air battle in the ending shot for the international market the background film is clearly looped since the same twin-tailed airplane (similar to an American P-38) flies past the window 8 times. See more »

Quotes

Irene: Do you know that song? It's Kak Stranno - its Russian. Oh, its so lovely! It takes me back so far to the Winter Palace in Petersburg. La-la-la La-la-la Kak Stranno. That means, How Strange. It tells such a sad, beautiful story about two people, who meet and fall in love for one exquisite moment - and then they part. Like ships that pass in the night. Mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm Mmm-mmm-mmm KaK Stranno - How Strange.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The six actresses who play Les Blondes are not credited with individual character names. Instead, they are credited using the group character name "Harry Van's Les Blondes" followed by a list of the six actresses names. This appears on a separate title card after the cast list of the other credited roles. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Electrical Power (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

How Strange
(uncredited)
Music by Sam Messenheimer
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Played at Daka's Place and at the hotel
Sung by Norma Shearer in Russian
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An idiotic stinkbomb with two gems inside...
28 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

The play was stagy and stilted to begin with; on screen it was all so much worse. There is virtually no directing, and of the principals, only Gable has a clue what he's doing. Poor Norma Shearer starts out fine as the ingenue, but with no notion of how to play the fake countess, she hams her way desperately through the rest of the picture like a high school thespian. It's embarrassing to watch. Just when you think nothing could be worse, Burgess Meredith bursts in like a misplaced character from another set, jumping around and shouting at the top of his lungs -- a hammy stage actor who seems not even to have been told there are microphones. The voice in your head keeps screaming "Cut! Cut! Cut!" for the missing director, who's evidently out to lunch.

That said, there ARE real merits in this movie. Gable is disarmingly charming as Harry Van. The play itself is an interesting period piece with a warning about fascism BEFORE we knew the worst. And then, there IS a kind of weird, whacky fascination in watching Norma Shearer taken over by that BIG platinum wig, which is almost a character in the play by itself.

Finally, there are two outstandingly memorable moments which for me make this movie well worth watching. Gable's witty, winking, sexy, song-and-dance version of "Puttin' on the Ritz" is something not to be forgotten -- AND, the man CAN sing and dance! The other sheer delight is watching the !GREAT! Laura Hope Crews in her brief but masterful portrayal of the tipsy Madame Zuleika, whose cheesy vaudeville mind reading act gets more hysterical with every furtive sip from her hip flask. I screamed with laughter, and you will, too. Laura Hope Crews should be declared a national treasure.


33 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 38 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Watch the Latest Episode of "The IMDb Show"

This week on "The IMDb Show," La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz shares some "secret" information about his new spy-thriller series, "Counterpart." Plus, Kevin Smith lets us in on his favorite Sundance movies of all time.

Watch the show