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No Time for Comedy (1940)

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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 456 users  
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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 »



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: No Time for Comedy (1940)

No Time for Comedy (1940) on IMDb 6.5/10

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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A country boy takes over Broadway . . . until he gets into heart-trouble! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Guy with a Grin  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


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 »


Philo Swift: 'Gaylord Esterbrook'... seems to me I've heard or read that name someplace. What do you do?
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: I write plays.
Philo Swift: Er, yes, I have a hobby, too. What I meant was, what do you do for a living?
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: Write plays. Anything wrong?
Philo Swift: No, no; nothing, nothing. You'll pardon me, but it does seem a little trivial for a grown man.
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: Well, perhaps I'll grow out of it. What do *you* do?
Philo Swift: I'm on Wall Street.
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: Where's that?
Philo Swift: I don't know, but my chauffeur finds it every morning.
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: After you get there, what do you do?
See more »


Spoofed in Snow Time for Comedy (1941) See more »


Bridal Chorus
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Music by Richard Wagner
Played after the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

A strong first half...followed by a talky and unbelievable second half.
6 August 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The first portion of "No Time for Comedy" is excellent--and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, somewhere around the middle, it was like the characters had head injuries (particularly James Stewart) and began acting weird...along with some new and annoying friends. As a result, the film really lost its momentum and its way.

The film begins with a playwright (Stewart) being called to Broadway to do some re-writes for the play. They are in rehearsals and the play just doesn't quite flow the way they'd hoped. Stewart is not at all like they expected. After all, the play is a smart drawing room comedy featuring the upper crust--and Stewart is some Midwestern yokel who has never even been to the big city or been with the smart set. After some teething problems, however, the play is a success. This part of the film is very charming and seeing him and Rosalind Russell together was a treat.

The next portion of the film really stopped making sense. Now that Stewart and Russell are married, suddenly the sweet guy has turned into a major butt-head--a very selfish one at that. Now he drinks heavily and begins hanging out with the world's most superficial and annoying married woman anyone could imagine (Genevieve Tobin). While I hated the change in Stewart's character (since it seemed so out of character), everything about Tobin was wrong...100% wrong. Her character made no sense at all and was played so broadly you'd wonder how any semi-sane person could fall for this super-annoying....'lady'. Also incongruous is her husband (Charlie Ruggles)--he simply made no sense at all as the annoyed but unbelievably passive rich husband. At this point, the only person who comes off halfway convincing is Russell...but even she occasionally behaves oddly. It was really as if the film had two different writers who didn't even read each other's scripts before combining them.

The overall film really looks like two separate films. The first half I'd score an 8 and the second I'd score a 3. It really would have been improved with a revision...a re-write like Stewart's character was called in to do when the movie began. Not a good film, though it looks nice and has some lovely scenes. The bad just outweighs the good.

By the way, after Stewart behaved abominably through much of the film, why would Russell's character STILL want him?! What sort of screwy message is this projecting at women?!

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