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Nothing Sacred (1937)

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An eccentric woman learns she is not dying of radium poisoning as earlier assumed, but when she meets a reporter looking for a story, she feigns sickness again for her own profit.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Ben Hecht (screen play), James Street (suggested by a story by) (as James H. Street)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Carole Lombard ... Hazel Flagg
Fredric March ... Wally Cook
Charles Winninger ... Dr. Enoch Downer
Walter Connolly ... Oliver Stone
Sig Ruman ... Dr. Emil Eggelhoffer (as Sig Rumann)
Frank Fay ... Master of Ceremonies
Troy Brown Sr. Troy Brown Sr. ... Ernest Walker (as Troy Brown)
Maxie Rosenbloom ... Max Levinsky
Margaret Hamilton ... Vermont Drugstore Lady
Olin Howland ... Vermont Baggage Man
Raymond Scott and His Quintet Raymond Scott and His Quintet ... Novelty Swing Orchestra (as Raymond Scott and his Quintette)
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Storyline

Hazel Flagg of Warsaw, Vermont receives the news that her terminal case of radium poisoning from a workplace incident was a complete misdiagnosis with mixed emotions. She is happy not to be dying, but she, who has never traveled the world, was going to use the money paid to her by her factory to go to New York in style. She believes her dreams can still be realized when Wally Cook arrives in town. He is a New York reporter with the Morning Star newspaper. He believes that Hazel's valiant struggle concerning her impending death is just the type of story he needs to resurrect his name within reporting circles after a recent story he wrote led to scandal and a major demotion at the newspaper. He proposes to take Hazel to New York both to report on her story but also to provide her with a grand farewell to life. She accepts. Wally's story results in Hazel becoming the toast of New York. In spending time together, Wally and Hazel fall in love. Hazel not only has to figure out what to do ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

See the big fight! LOMBARD vs MARCH. Selznick International's sensational Technicolor comedy

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 November 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La joyeuse suicidée See more »

Filming Locations:

Agoura Hills, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,831,927 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Apparently because her usually pale blonde tresses did not photograph well in Technicolor, Carole Lombard's hair in this film is a reddish blonde. Her "normal" look can be seen in the newspaper clipping Frederic March shows to several residents of Warsaw, Vermont when he first tries to track her down. See more »

Goofs

From inside the plane they were flying in, Wally Cook (Fredric March) and Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard) would have been able to read the sky-written message stating 'Hello Hazel' welcoming her to New York, but it would have been viewed backwards to anyone on the ground below, the presumed audience for it. See more »

Quotes

Oliver Stone: Jumping H. Sebastian. She's double-crossed us!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Each of the stars' names are shown on a title card set beside a plaster caricature. The rest of the cast have caricatures alongside their names in the credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a Cinecolor version "In Color". The credit for Natalie Kalmus as Technicolor Consultant is missing from this version. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Yellow Brick Road and Beyond (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh du lieber Augustin
(1679) (uncredited)
Music by Marx Augustin
Arranged by Raymond Scott
Performed by Raymond Scott and His Quintet
Played for Katinka sequence
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Luminous Lombard Glides Over Screwball Classic on Tabloid Journalism
12 December 2005 | by EUyeshimaSee all my reviews

The incandescent Carole Lombard was simply the most beautiful comedienne during Hollywood's golden era of the 1930's. In fact, the one conceit of the film is how her stunning glamour, especially in the newspaper photos, seems at odds with the innocent small-town girl she portrays in this 1937 screwball comedy classic directed in lickety-split fashion by the two-fisted William "Wild Bill" Wellman. Lombard never let her beauty get in the way of being funny, and her effervescent manner makes her seem dotty enough to make the crazy situations she gets into believable. Moreover, the film's constant tweaking at the public obsession over a young woman's impending death predates the concept of reality programming by nearly 70 years.

For a movie that clocks in at just 75 minutes, the far-fetched story is fairly dense but clips by without a wasted moment. In brief, Wally Cook is a New York tabloid reporter relegated to the obituaries after his most recent story is exposed as fake. Seeking to rehabilitate his career, he uncovers a story on Hazel Flagg, a woman in rural Vermont dying of radium poisoning. When he arrives in her town, she suddenly learns that her diagnosis was a mistake and that she is not dying at all. However, feeling constrained by her small town existence, Hazel pretends to be terminally ill in order to accept Wally's offer to take her to New York City. In true 1930's fashion, New York pours its heart out to her making her an instant media celebrity. Hazel starts to feel guilty over the misdirected attention, and of course, Wally and Hazel find themselves falling in love amid all the deception and inevitable chaos.

Just coming off his classic dramatic turn in the most cohesive version of "A Star Is Born", stalwart leading actor Fredric March gamely plays the initially cynical Wally with the right everyman demeanor, though I kept thinking how much more at home William Powell or Cary Grant would have been in the role. The lovable Lombard makes Hazel a sublime comic creation even though the character is basically a selfish charlatan. They have a classic sparring scene near the end where each lands a punch on the jaw of the other. Familiar character actors complete the cast with Walter Connolly in constipated frustration as Wally's constantly boiling editor-in-chief (aptly named Oliver Stone), Charles Winninger properly pixilated as Hazel's fraud of a doctor, and familiar faces like Sig Ruman, Margaret Hamilton, Hattie McDaniel and Hedda Hopper in little more than walk-on parts.

Wellman displays an idiosyncratic way with the camera, for instance, focusing on Lombard's ankles as she flirts with March in an open crate or having a tree branch cover their faces during a key dialogue scene. Unsurprisingly, the director of "Wings" and "Lafayette Escadrille" inserted a scene aboard a plane to show off the Manhattan skyline. One of the first movies filmed in Technicolor, it still looks pretty good though there is subtle graininess and typical for a film of this age, a constant popping noise exists in the background. Not as good as "My Man Godfrey" nor as funny as "Bringing Up Baby", "Nothing Sacred" is still great entertainment and a rare opportunity to see the luminous Lombard at full star wattage.


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