Hard-hitting news editor Jim Branch falls for high-society type Sharon Norwood but can't get to first base as he continually makes use of her knowledge of the rich and famous to try to ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
Clark Gable plays a card cheat who has to go on the lam to avoid a pesky cop. He meets a lonely, but slightly wild, librarian, Carole Lombard, while he is hiding out. The two get married after Lombard wins a coin flip and they move back to the city. Gable continues his gambling/cheating scheme unbeknownst to Lombard. When she discovers his "other life", she presures him to quit. Gable feels crowded and tells her that he is leaving for South America. In fact, Gable has decided he wants to go straight and turns himself in to the cop...Written by
Jordan Caldwell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Early in the film a taxicab with the telephone number of CIrcle 7-1633 is seen waiting for the card players to board. Later on Clark Gable as Babe Stewart gives CIrcle 7-1633 as his home phone number. See more »
In the very beginning of the movie, Carole Lombard's character Connie Randall, is talking on the phone to a man who sounds like someone interested in courting her. She calls him George. Moments later she calls the clerk where she gets a pack of cigarettes George too. See more »
Recently my favorite video store acquired this movie on DVD, and I was very hopeful in renting it. As I am a huge fan of William Powell and Carole Lombard in "My Man Godfrey," I was astonished to hear the line "See you in church," dropped casually by Lombard in the middle of this film. That line, of course, appears early on in "My Man Godfrey."
I had always thought that this was a comic device, used for that particular film, but apparently it was something of comic parlance in the 1930s. After all, there is a four year spread between this film and "My Man Godfrey". If it still has resonance now, it must have been doubly meaningful to audiences then.
The plot itself is really thin, with Gable's character "Babe" deciding to marry Lombard's "Connie" on the flip of a coin. I don't know whether that was supposed to be THE COMIC DEVICE of the film or whether it was a throw-away notion coming from the screenwriters. It really doesn't matter much because it ruined the whole notion of the film, which is that Gable's "Babe" doesn't want any attachments of any kind to interfere with his life as a card sharp and cheat.
In the social history context, it is very interesting to see a film which shows men of wealth and status in New York City -- in the third year of the great Depression ( counting 1930, '31, and '32 as the epicenter of that disastrous time ) -- casually gambling away sums of money that would easily have sustained a family of four over an entire year !!
Lombard is an intriguing personality in the history of the American cinema and every one of her performances in the '30s speaks volumes about the genius she had contained within herself. She is so wistfully beautiful and her comic timing is usually impeccable. In this film she plays a woman who thinks she is wasting away in her small town, bored with her "unsteady" boyfriend and bored with her job as a librarian. The point is, however, that she was a young woman with a job in the depths of a depression that savaged the whole of the U.S. economy.
For audiences of that era, her character's decision to toss that safety and security for an "instant marriage" to the rogue "Babe" would have been both scandalous and highly romantic. The fact that Gable's very nefarious alternative lifestyle -- as a card sharp and con man -- nets him a plush apartment and plenty of ready money, doubles the scandalous nature of the plot. The fact that he and his confederates fleece the social class known as "New York Swells" accounts for some of the film's popularity in that time and in that era.
But Gable's "Babe" is not some Robin Hood type in a tuxedo. He and his partners cheat the rich and keep the money for themselves.
They are not progressives, they are not "reformers," they are crooks.
This enjoyable film earns a 5 from me for the supporting cast of actors and from Lombard's extraordinary ease of performance. The plot itself is so near to being utter nonsense that only her luminous and magnetic beauty saves the day for the entire ensemble. Clark Gable was the "good guy" with heartburn in "It Happened One Night," which is a far, far superior film. Here, he is just flat out all criminal with heartburn and no better than the bankers of that day, who foreclosed on homes and farms with nary a thought to the long-term consequences to their customers, to society, or to the health of the country which made them so prosperous to begin with. Seventy-five years later, these nuances are probably lost on people who don't know a lot about our true American history. The formulaic "happy ending" tells me that the producers ran out of story before the actors ran out of charisma or talent.
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