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No Time for Comedy (1940)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 555 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 5 critic

Playwright Gaylord Esterbrook scores a hit with his first Broadway play, both with the critics and with leading lady Linda Paige. He and Linda are happily married until a patroness of the ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Linda Esterbrook
...
Philo Swift (as Charlie Ruggles)
...
Amanda Swift
Louise Beavers ...
Clementine
Allyn Joslyn ...
Morgan Carrell
Clarence Kolb ...
Richard Benson
Robert Greig ...
Robert
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Jim
Lawrence Grossmith ...
Frank (as Lawrence Grosmith)
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...
Desk Sergeant
Herbert Heywood ...
Joe - Doorman
...
Cab Driver
James Burke ...
Police Sergeant
Edgar Dearing ...
Sweeny
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Storyline

Playwright Gaylord Esterbrook scores a hit with his first Broadway play, both with the critics and with leading lady Linda Paige. He and Linda are happily married until a patroness of the arts convinces Esterbrook to forget about comedy and concentrate on writing a tragedy. The end result nearly destroys his career and his marriage. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mr Smith Goes to town ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Guy with a Grin  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original play by S.N. Behrman opened in Indianapolis, Indiana, on 31 March 1939. See more »

Goofs

At one point in the movie, Gaylord is at his home and discovers Amanda Swift's phone number is written down on a phone list in his wife's handwriting. His wife, Linda, had just left with Morgan Carrell for dinner at the Swift's home. Then the scene shifts to Amanda Swift's home and Gaylord is there. See more »

Quotes

Morgan Carrell, the Director: Clementine, are you sitting on my hat?
Clementine, Actress in Show: [gets up to look] So I am. I completely covered it. Well, its a small hat.
Morgan Carrell, the Director: A sombrero would have met the same fate.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Breakdowns of 1941 (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Opus 98: 1st movement
(1885) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
Played on a phonograph at Amanda's house
See more »

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User Reviews

 
nice teaming of Russell and Stewart
13 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Rosalind Russell and James Stewart are husband and wife in "No Time for Comedy," a 1940 film also starring Charles Ruggles, Genevieve Tobin, Louise Beavers and Allyn Joslyn. It's based on the Broadway hit that starred Katharine Cornell and Laurence Olivier in one of his early lead roles in the U.S. This was the play, according to legend, that David O. Selznick arranged for Olivier to star in so he would be separated from Vivien Leigh while she was doing "Gone with the Wind." Russell is the glamorous stage star Linda Paige who is starring in a drawing room comedy by one Gaylord Esterbrook (Stewart). He's actually from the sticks, and the play is not without its problems. When the production loses its backer, Paige steps in and saves the show. Bumpkin Esterbrook becomes a lauded playwright and marries Paige. He writes comedies with starring roles for her. One day he meets Mandy Swift, a socialite who likes to, shall we say, take young men under her wing and mold them. She convinces Gaylord that he needs to write some serious drama. Since he's already doing some serious drinking, it stands to reason one should follow the other.

Not having seen the original play, it's hard to say whether the film matches up to the original. At the time of the film, Spain was involved in a civil war, and all of Europe threatened by the Nazis; war was imminent. The play is about a playwright who is agonized by his success in the genre of sophisticated comedies when the world is such a serious place. It's also about several years into a marriage when the bloom has fallen off the rose.

The film "No Time for Comedy" is an uneasy mix of drama and comedy. Stewart, who normally plays a likable character, plays a country boy spoiled by success. He turns to drink and another woman, making him much less likable. Yet the audience is set up from the beginning to think he's going to be a nice guy. Russell, of course, plays the stage actress (which she was) beautifully. As Gaylord's suffering wife, she is dignified and sophisticated and you can see her broken heart beneath the veneer. Louise Beavers is fabulous as the maid who is not only an equal in the household but acts on stage as well.

Part of the problem with "No Time for Comedy" is that nowadays, we know the importance of comedy in times of tragedy. In fact, it's always time for comedy, never more than when there's a dark pall over the world. Despite good performances, the movie seems dated today, as I suspect would the play.


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