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Hungering For Our Celebrities
bkoganbing17 May 2007
The team of David O. Selznick producer, William Wellman director, and Fredric March leading man, after having had a big hit the year before with A Star Is Born, teamed up again to create one of the great screwball comedies of the Thirties in Nothing Sacred.

The inspiration for this film comes from the fertile imagination of Ben Hecht best known previously for co-authoring another newspaper classic, The Front Page. Hecht takes it a step further and while the Morning Post reports the news faster and better than its rivals, it doesn't create the news. Here the media is satirized for creating a celebrity.

Poor Carole Lombard as Hazel Flagg, country girl from rural Vermont who is misdiagnosed by her country doctor Charles Winninger as having incurable radiation poisoning. It's a small news item over the wire services.

But when hotshot reporter Fredric March gets a hold of it, he convinces his editor Walter Connolly to build up the story by bringing Lombard to New York and ballyhooing her into celebrity status. Lombard and Winninger by now know an error in diagnosis was made, but who can turn down an all expense paid trip to New York? The story just mushrooms until it gets away from any kind of control.

The difference sometimes between comedy and drama is often so slight as to be imperceptible. There's not much difference between Fredric March's character in Nothing Sacred and Kirk Douglas's in Ace in the Hole. Both are down on their luck newspaper people looking for a comeback and both exploit a story to their own ends, March comically and Douglas tragically. But the plots are more similar than one realizes.

Even today we still hunger for our celebrities some of whom are nothing but professional celebrities. The sad life of Anna Nicole Smith is proof of that.

When you think about Anna Nicole Smith though Nothing Sacred appears dated it actually has a very timeless message about the power of media to create and destroy.
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A great satire
beynac26 July 2004
Some of the recent comments are wholly unjust to this movie. The point of the film is to make fun of phony sentimentalism, sanctimonious posturing, and the general tendency of the media to put profit ahead of grace, dignity, and the simple truth. Carole Lombard is not only beautiful, but an exceedingly talented actress (in this and everything else she did). The writing cuts to the bone, exposing hypocrisy in all its forms. The film is as fresh today, and is as relevant to the culture, as it was when it was made. As for the notion that a movie made in 1937 offends someone's sense of what is politically correct in 2004, and therefore deserves criticism, give me a break.
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Very Sharp-Edged, Sweeping Satirical Comedy
Snow Leopard4 April 2005
The writers, crew, and cast of "Nothing Sacred" really do treat everything in accordance with the movie's title. No aspect of human society is immune from the sweeping satire. The comedy is fast-paced and often very sharp-edged, and almost any viewer will find it hitting close to home at one time or another, so it is best not to take it too personally. Yet this is not a mean-spirited feature, in that it treats everyone the same way, and it shows sympathy even for the very characters whose faults it so ruthlessly exposes.

Frederic March, as a hardened newsman, and Carole Lombard, as an appealing woman who is nevertheless living a lie, make a good combination. They are both likable enough to make you care about them even when they are at their most opportunistic. The supporting cast, likewise, features several good performances, with the likes of Walter Connolly and Sig Rumann getting some fine moments of their own. William Wellman shows a good feel for the material, getting good mileage out of the story without pushing it too far.

This kind of feature is somewhat unusual even among movies of its genre. Most satires choose their targets, ridicule them, and put the opposing forces in a positive light. But "Nothing Sacred" takes no sides between the small town and the big city, between the powerful and the powerless, or between one character and another. It points out the human flaws to be found in almost all of us.

This is the kind of movie that can only be enjoyed if you don't take it personally or too seriously, because in that case the message will be misunderstood. Rather than targeting any one kind of person, it intends to make some more general points about human nature that, while sometimes rather pointed, are encased in enough humor to make them palatable.
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Still Great
Boyo-217 June 2002
William Wellman was really a helluva director. Anyone that can do a movie like this, and make "The Ox-Bow Incident" too, must have been born to direct.

Coming in at a breezy 75 minutes, "Nothing Sacred" is still very funny on several levels, for several different reasons. Plot does not matter as much as execution, and how you deliver a line matters more than the line itself.

Frederic March and Carole Lombard are perfect, and the supporting cast is just as good, especially the actor who played 'Oliver Stone', March's frustrated boss.

Wellman does unconventional things like make the actors faces be hidden by a tree branch, practically unheard of in that day and age. But the fact of the matter is, that sometimes people are not perfectly framed in life, so maybe they shouldn't be in the movies - at least not as a rule. The first time you get a good look at Lombard, she has shaving cream on her face from kissing a man who is shaving - also not the normal star-moment you might expect.

Just terrific. 9/10.
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Great Fun and Smart Writing!!
alicecbr28 November 2000
A Southern hick, I love it when Vermonters are made fun of. Of course, they are only one of the many groups this movie pokes fun at. If you don't want to see physical abuse made funny, don't see this hilarious satire on everything politically correct. Of course, what really makes this hilarious is that in 1937, they didn't KNOW it was politically incorrect to show man hitting women, to show 'darkies', irascible and rude New Englanders, etc. Then there's the propeller-driven airplanes, the first of the airliners flying right past the head of the Statue of Liberty. And guess what? Jack Welch's fortress, Rockefeller Center, looked then just like it looks now.

Some things don't change: newspaper chicanery, among others. The hoaxes they bring about, and the hoaxes they continue to abet all in the name of news, is not news's SOP. Right now, the current hoax is the nomenclature used to describe the appointing of the Cabinet, as though the election were a fait accomplis: "Andrew Card, the president's new appointee......" and other such insiduously assumptive language has been used before, as this movie wonderfully points out. In this case, it's a woman at death's door dying of radium poisoning.....who ain't!!! I'm giving nothing away, it's perfectly obvious from the beginning.

I suppose I should rail against the prejudice shown against all newspaper folks by the good people of Vermont, as they shut this guy out....with one toddler biting him on the leg as he walks down the street....but it just felt too good. (After all, some really do take their jobs as members of the 4th Estate and protectors of the common good seriously.)

The color is pretty good for 1937, and you'll see the Wicked Witch of the East portraying her less wicked, but still spiteful self.

What will give you chills is the pervading knowledge as you hear Carole Lombard's dialogue about death and dying...that she wasn't to ever grow old gracefully, but died in a plane crash not long after this film was made. She was a beautiful woman, and did quiet a good job of acting in this many-faceted satire of life and our attraction to dying, or the pretense of it.

Well worth your time on many levels ...just to see film-making of the 30's and how good it could be, for one.
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A Screwball Comedy Classic
jacksflicks31 December 1998
The votes for this movie must have been based on political correctness, for based on hilarity, assuming one has a healthy sense of the absurd, this film rates a solid 10.

True, those who are thin-skinned will find the racial and gender and, uh, regional send-offs deplorable. However, since the film is a brilliant satire on the phoniness of those who take themselves too seriously, it is natural that when these people see themselves in it, they will be offended.

"Nothing Sacred" refers not only to the values hypocrisy seeks to destroy, but to the sacred cows the film seeks to topple. Carol Lombard has never been lovelier or more picaresque, and Frederic March plays a great foil for the barely plausible goings on.

One of the irritants in the highly regarded "Bringing up Baby" is the completely implausible haplessness of Cary Grant's character and the determined obtuseness of Kathrine Hepburn's. In "Nothing Sacred" there are no such distractions; it is the superior film.

Other joys of the film are the delightful vignettes, such as a dipsomaniacal country doctor's tirade against journalists (In vino veritas, indeed!) and the transparently phony patriotism at a strip club.

Filmed in glorious early technicolor.
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If its not one hoax, its another.
michaelRokeefe1 June 2003
Absolutely hilarious screwball comedy. A hotshot newspaper reporter(Fredric March)tries to get in the good graces of his boss(Walter Connolly)by exploiting the "imminent" death of an ailing young woman(Carole Lombard). By way of newsprint the doomed young lady becomes the toast of New York City until her health situation is revealed as a hoax. Supporting cast includes: Frank Fay, Margaret Hamilton and Charles Winninger. Lombard is wonderful in the role of the ailing/doomed Hazel Flagg from Vermont. My favorite scene is when March is walking down the sidewalk and a small boy bolts through a gated fence to bite him on the back of the leg and scurry back to safety. This knee-slapping comedy is directed by William A. Wellman and its a crime not to watch.
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The original and the best
blanche-27 September 2008
"Nothing Sacred" has been remade in whole or part many times but no version comes close to the original 1937 screwball comedy starring Frederic March and Carole Lombard. Directed by William Wellman with a script by Ben Hecht, Nothing Sacred is more topical today than it was then. There's been a good deal written on this board about the political incorrectness of it: racism, drunkenness, physical abuse, stereotyping. It's true, there's something to offend everyone. Instead of judging everything by today's enlightened standards, I prefer to notice that yes, things were different in the past and then move on to the wonderful, witty script, the very modern topic, the great performances, the early, muted color, Lombard's outfits, the old airplane and the scenes of New York as it was in all its glory in the 1930s.

March is Wally Cook, a reporter in hot water for writing about the Sultan of Brunai who in reality is a regular Joe working in New York with a wife who identifies him while he's making pronouncements. Wally goes to Vermont to hunt down a story about a woman dying of radium poisoning and finds her in the person of Hazel Flagg (Lombard). Hazel has just gotten some very bad news from her doctor (Charles Winninger) - she's not dying. The diagnosis was a mistake. She had hopes of taking a trip out of Vermont that was offered to her and asks the doctor to keep the new diagnosis of health quiet. Soon after, she meets Wally, who wants to bring her to New York for a last fling at the expense of the paper, which will follow her until her last poisoned breath. Hazel agrees and takes the doctor with her. At first, she has a blast with only the occasional twinge of guilt. Then a German specialist is brought in and blows Hazel's scam all to hell.

One of the comments had it right - this story predates reality shows by something like 63 years. Hazel, like so many today, is an ersatz celebrity, famous for being famous. What will never change is milking a subject for profit until it's dry. Nothing Sacred has some hilarious scenes and great lines, including the big fight scene in the hotel when Wally tries to make Hazel seem ill by forcing her to fight with him in order to sweat and raise her pulse rate. The nightclub scene is a riot.

Lombard is beautiful and wears some stunning outfits and gowns, a gift to Hazel from the newspaper. She was a very adept actress with a wonderful sense of comedy. How sad that she is in a film about dying young and would do so five years later at the age of 34. She and March do a great job together - he's normally not known for his comedy but does well here. He approach to Wally is serious and he plays Wally's intensity and affection for Hazel for all it's worth. Connelly as his editor is fabulous, as is Winninger as the doctor who drinks his way through New York.

Nothing Sacred has been a musical, Hazel Flagg, and remade as Living it Up (with Jerry Lewis as Homer Flagg). Most recently, the general plot was reworked as Last Holiday. See the original in the screwball comedy genre which is, alas, no more.
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Fun With Carole and Fred!
jem13224 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This 1937 screwball comedy is perhaps the only Technicolour film of it's genre, and what a fun, exuberant ride it is! Reliable 30's leading man Fredric March stars as Walter Cook, a reporter at the New York newspaper 'The Morning Star' who will do anything for a good story. After a botched attempt to pass off a African-American commoner as the Sultan Of Brunei, Wally, desperate to redeem himself, travels to Vermont to cover the last remaining weeks of Hazel Flagg's (the wonderful Carole Lombard) radium-poisoning-interrupted life. The trouble is, Hazel's not really sick at all- she was initially misdiagnosed by her bumbling Vermont doctor. Still, Hazel jumps at Cook's offer for her to take a last-gasp trip to the Big City. She's a big hit with the City as the new 'bleeding heart' story. As the pair inevitably fall in love, Hazel's conscience starts to get the better of her and things start to unravel very fast.

Lombard and March! What can I say...they are terrific together! Carole's bright and gorgeous, this is one of her best performances. She's slightly too glamorous to be a small-town Vermont gal, but she's very believable in the role otherwise. As one of the best comic actresses ever to grace the screen, she lights up and gives wit to every scene. March is likable, attractive and does comedy very well. The pair share numerous classic moments together, particularly in the mock 'fight' scene. They, IMO, rank up there with Hepburn-Grant and Gable-Colbert as one of the great screwball pairings.

The colourful supporting players are a lark, too. Watch for the lady better known as The Wicked Witch Of The West, Margaret Hamilton, early in the film as one of the many seemingly 'backward' residents of Vermont. Yep, anyone? Walter Connolly is priceless as the stressed newspaper boss Oliver Stone. Applause must go to Billy Barty, as the young Vermont boy who bites March on the calf, for providing possibly the most spontaneous and funny moment in the entire film.

Aside from the fun and games, this is a wonderful satire on both the values of modern society and the corruption of truth by the media. From the opening shots of busy New York night-life (watch for the very prominent Coca-Cola sign) and Big-city skyscrapers obviously inspired by King Vidor's silent 'The Crowd', we know that we are getting a screwball comedy with a message. Aside from certain racist and sexist elements that the modern viewer may find slightly off putting, this film holds up very well.

The only problem with this film is the rather slow opening sequence. The laughs only really flow fast and freely when we arrive at Vermont and Lombard makes her entrance, 15 minutes into the film. The colour is slightly dodgy (or is it just my copy?), which is understandable as it is one of the early colour films.

Another one of those 30's comedies that didn't have to rely on toilet humour or sex jokes in order to be entertaining.

My rating: 8/10
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Not at all what I expected. It's very funny.
yousonuva26 July 2004
Oh my my was this ahead of it's time or what! The funniest thing out of the 30's that you've never heard of. Super quick, non-chalant humor that's indifferent to weather or not you laugh and that makes it so funny (does not force one joke on it's audience and the effect is so humbling that it solidifies the humor.) Plus a lot of improving from a greatly skilled cast. I do mean great, they were all completely on top of their roles.

I was surprised to see such a sharp funny movie from this era, I mean in the type of funny it is. Chock full o gags and easy to watch the whole way through, I don't think there was one thing wrong with this one.
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Luminous Lombard Glides Over Screwball Classic on Tabloid Journalism
EUyeshima12 December 2005
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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I finally undertstand "rolling in the aisles!"
waxwingslain779 July 2000
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoy laughing but I have never been much of a howler, a knee-slapper; one who laughs so hard he falls over or loses his breath. All of that and more occurred to me when I saw the 1937 version (the only one worth seeing) of "Nothing Sacred." I knew it'd be memorable, since I've yet to meet a Ben Hect script I didn't love, I am very fond of Carole Lombard and Frederic March is one of the most under-appreciated actors of all time. Walter Connolly has some of the films best lines, certainly many of the most excoriating lines and certainly my favorite lines of the picture. Simple plot, you know it: Reporter March fakes a big city exclusive with "dying" Carole Lombard, a girl from a small Vermont town. They arrive in New York and the high jinks ensue. I say "high jinks ensue" deliberately, as my triteness has a purpose: ENJOY the dialogue and the comedic posturing and timing of some real pros, and I don't see how you won't burst three guts while watching this one. Oh, you need to put Political Correctness aside--the only serious point I make--since there is insensitivity, racial and otherwise. If this sort of thing, even though MEANT to show hypocricy, bothers you, skip this one, I mean it. Otherwise, just relax as the barbs fly like frenzied lightning and don't be ashamed to "rattle the walls" with your laughter. (During my initial viewing I was for the only time in my life accused of "rattling walls" with my guffaws.) If, as it is with old musicals, you can accept that this is a series of vignettes rather than a tightly bound story, you're home free and you'll know ecstasy. This is a screwball, not a drama or "comedy/drama." (I'd love to quote a few lines but I don't know if that is spoiler behavior or not). "Nothing Sacred" is mandatory viewing for anybody who loves old Hollywood comedies, screwball or otherwise and I rate it a solid TEN.
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A classic! Lombard shines!
goya-423 October 2000
An unscrupulous reporter takes advantage of a small town girl's supposed imminent death in order to manipulate the public and gain more sales. Lombard however is not that imminent to death and she turns the tables and takes advantage of the situation. Plays as well today as more than sixty years later which proves that while the people may have changed the media stays the same. A good biting satire. on a scale of one to ten..8
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Nothing sacred, Nothing entertaining.
t-murphy-9461913 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Nothing Sacred isn't just boring, its aggravating to watch. None of the characters are endearing. I don't mean likable because there can be unlikable yet endearing characters. Characters the movie makes you hate but still want to root for them. Nothing Sacred does not do that. Fredric March is supposedly the best reporter in the city who makes one career ruining mistake. Then in an attempt to redeem himself he then immediately makes the exact same mistake. He rushes into another feel good story without doing any research. Hazel Flagg is meant to be seen as a pitiable girl in over her head but acts like a spoiled child. Dr. Enoch Downer can't make up his mind between being a reluctant participant or complete imbecile. And the movie's message is that newspapers always lie to get a story and readers are foolish and selfish to latch onto sob stories. The worst part of it all is that this screwball comedy just isn't funny. Site gags and clever wit are very rarely seen and even more rarely successful. The final joke of the movie is the doctor waking up and thinking the hotel he is in has sunk underwater because he hasn't realized he's on a boat. That joke belongs in a Looney tunes cartoon. Although hats off to Nothing Sacred for being the first color comedy.
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A perfect match between fun and charm
Felix Chappel26 May 2003
A film which has Fredric March bitten in the calf by a toddler who subsequently runs askance like a rabid rabbit can't be but excellent. Not to mention Carole Lombard's dazzling performance (I can't remember having seen her mediocre anyway) : how fun and beauty reach a perfect match ! The colors, as translated on the DVD, are fragile and uncertain, which adds a certain poetry to that otherwise quirky comedy. As for the "meaning" ! Some of the front pages devoted to the supposedly terminally ill Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard) might have inspired all the drivel that was supposed to be a tribute to unfortunate Di. The details of the film are also of the neatest sort. One striking example is the Heroines on horses show (another tribute to the "dying" Hazel Flagg- five minutes short, featuring Lady Godiva, Helen of Troy, Pocahontas and some others, and managing to be as irrelevant and funny as can be. Is the secret of these comedy, where beauty is a showcase of fun, lost for good ? The sublimely "dark and handsome" March, the deliciously "classically blonde" Lombard revel in ridicule, and that's a feat no modern comedian seems able to perform. Highly recommendable !
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Was it good? Yup.
BatmanAndRobyn20 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Although there was not as much humor in this as I was expecting, I still really enjoyed this film. Carole Lombard is still as hilarious as ever portraying a young woman faking radium poisoning. A New York newspaper thinks that kind of story would sell, so they jet her to the city and basically make her an overnight celebrity. This movie accurately displays how when the media hypes something up, everyone will get involved and everyone will start to be effected by it, even if it's not effecting them personally. I thought the story was really interesting. It reflects how the media still is today by focusing on interesting cases and primarily giving nobodies overnight fame.

I think my favorite parts where the parts that took place in her hometown of Warsaw, where the children were crazy and no one could really carry a conversation and opted for 'yup's and 'nope's. I also enjoyed how the reincorporated the wrestling scene and how Wallace was describing it as fake. When Wallace and Hazel 'wrestled' at the end of the film, it was to fake Hazel's pneumonia in attempts to make it seem more realistic. I thought it was a good idea to reincorporate it.

I enjoyed this film. The story was very interesting and the acting was entertaining. I also like seeing Margaret Hamilton before she became the Wicked Witch. It was really neat to see her in another film, even only for a minute.
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Dx: Tries Too Hard.
rmax30482314 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Frederick March is a reporter on a New York paper, desperate for a feature story. He digs up a notice of a young woman in Vermont, Carole Lombard, who has been diagnosed as terminally ill with radium poisoning. Not knowing the diagnosis was a mistake made by a bibulous rural doctor, March rushes to Vermont and offers the "dying" woman a trip to New York, all expenses paid, for a last fling. Lombard has discovered the mistaken diagnosis but, in thrall to the prospect of a vacation in the Big Apple, agrees to go along.

She's exploited by the newspaper and becomes a celebrity. She gets the keys to the city for her bravery. People weep at her name. The governor endorses a "Hazel Flagg Day." Everything Lombard does -- such as getting drunk and passing out at a big affair in her honor -- is interpreted as a sign of her mysterious but debilitating illness.

A quartet of European doctors finally uncover her real state, which has more to do with radiance than radium. She and March have fallen in love. Lombard leaves a farewell note to the city, claiming she is going off to die alone ("like an elephant") and the couple escape on a ship.

I'd heard this was an outstanding screwball comedy of the sort common in the mid and late 30s, so the first time I saw it, years ago, I thought I had caught the wrong movie because it wasn't very funny. I've just seen it again and it's still not funny.

It's rushed, yes, and sometimes a little hysterical, and everyone involved tries for boffo laughs, but it doesn't clear the bar set by such other examples of the genre as "Bringing up Baby" or "It Happened One Night" or "The Palm Beach Story." I hate to say it, because so much effort is on display and because Carole Lombard scintillates in the role of the deceptive but fundamentally decent Hazel Flagg. But Frederick March, a fine actor in serious parts, is miscast. Somebody like Clark Gable or Cary Grant is called for -- an earnest extrovert. The funniest scene, I gather, is when March knocks Lombard unconscious in the bedroom. Maybe I'm becoming patriarchal but it doesn't make me laugh to see a woman punched in the jaw. Well, maybe my ex wife. As it is, the funniest scenes involve ancillary characters like German doctors and Scandinavian firemen, who are on screen collectively for about ten minutes.

The plot itself has a lot of built-in tension because, after all, both Lombard and the audience know she isn't sick. So how and when will the charade be brought to a finish? Actually, it leaves a thoughtful person a little uncomfortable because what we have here is an example of an aborted rite of passage. A rite of passage marks the transition of the subject from one status to another. The ceremonies, large and small, surrounding a death are part of a rite of passage, a shift from the status of "living" to that of "dead." People go to a lot of trouble to prepare for an impending death. And when the doomed person refuses to die -- maybe perks up and remits -- the ritual is aborted. The same thing happens when one of the parties cancels a wedding at the last minute, after the invitations have been sent out and the presents have arrived. It leaves a hole in the scenario. It's like watching a Charlie Chan movie with the last ten minutes missing. The audience is, of course, happy that Hazel Flagg is alive and well in Tahiti, and yet underneath it all they feel a little CHEATED.

Anyway, I understand that many viewers enjoyed this immensely and don't want to discourage anyone from watching it, but I thought it was interminable instead of terminal. Not a laugh in a cartload.
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Wicked and Hilarious
jayraskin122 April 2010
Carole Lombard was 29 when she made this movie. She had been in nearly 70 movies by this time, starring in about 40 of them. She had been famous for ten years. Frederick March was 40 years and had been starring in movies for 8 years. He was starring in his 37th film. Thus we have two top stars, totally professional at this point, yet still young. They're at the top of their game and are a joy to watch. I'm afraid that I have only seen two other Carole Lombard movies, "My Man Godfrey," and "Made for Each Other." Neither of these impressed me. However, this movie did impress me. She is hitting each emotional note perfectly without straining or overacting in any scene. Frederick March stands with Bogart, Muni, Cagney, Gable, Grant and Tracy as one of the top actors of the 1930's. He's on auto-pilot here, but the material is so good that he doesn't really have to inject more than his natural (for the time) acting style. For me, this film ranks with "His Girl Friday" and "It Happened One Night" as one of the best screwball comedies of the 1930's. William Wellman, The director, is as good as they come. He has a great visual sense and knows when to let scenes play out without making too many cuts. In the straight jacket of the Hays Moral Code after 1934, it was difficult to show people acting immorally and having fun without creating a sense of guilt. Somehow, the writer Ben Hecht was able to come right up to the wire and sometimes even jump over. This movie is still more outrageous than most of the outrageous comedies of the last 20 years.
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The color, the effects, the acting by Lombard, but mostly a hilarious Hecht script
secondtake17 April 2010
Nothing Sacred (1937)

A hilarious madcap in early Technicolor tri-pack (and probably showing a certain unevenness of color as it hasn't been well restored...yet). Carole Lombard is completely funny, animated, and conflicted. She pulls this off better than many might because she has the ability to seem both innocent and guilty at the same time. The scenario of course demands it, and I won't give a thing away.

There is some spectacle built into the production, which doesn't help the movie, but overall it has that famous 1930s ridiculous style that is fast and nonsensical in turns. Lombard is at her best, really, and if you like Frederick March, they do seem a good match (he doesn't have much life on screen for me). Acting aside, it's the plot, as laid out so smartly by Ben Hecht, that builds and compounds as it goes, and it's a total riot.
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Some really funny stuff... even today
LDB_Movies9 August 1999
Just saw this "classic" on AMC and even though it's very hard to make me laugh, there are 2 EXTREMELY funny lines (won't spoil them for you) regarding things that are written in letters penned by the Carole Lombard character. I laughed out loud. After the movie was over I was still "playing" these lines in my head and laughing.

That kind of humor is rare for a movie that's 60 years old-- I haven't seen/heard these jokes duplicated in a movie since.

Definitely worth seeing. 7 out of 10.
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What's a little funeral between lovers?
theowinthrop5 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
NOTHING SACRED is a look at modern celebrity at it's worse and most bathetic. And God bless it for taking it all apart.

Wally Cook (Fredric March) is an able newspaper reporter, who when plastered (which appears to be frequently) creates hoaxes at the expense of his newspaper and his boss Oliver Stone (yeah, really - only he's played by Walter Connolly here). At the start of this film, Wally has an African-American named Ernest Jones (Troy Brown Jr.) pretend to be "the Sultan of Marzepan" a wealthy far eastern potentate who is planning to donate millions to build some kind of multi-cultural center in Manhattan*. At the last moment his wife shows up with their children (the wife is Hattie MacDaniel), and she wrecks the hoax just as Connolly is taking credit for the donation for his newspaper.

*Oddly enough there has recently been a two part news item in the New York Times about the plans (in Abu Dhabi) for a cultural center and university on a large scale. But this seems to be a legitimate scheme.

From the start Ben Hecht's script follows the idea of how we, the sophisticates who live in cities (especially New York) are far more gullible than we would imagine. Wally is first banished to the obituary column of the paper (Ernest is given a janitorial job - this film is from the 1930s, by the way, so some stereotyping is going to be here). After a month Wally begs for a chance to resume his old job. Oliver, somewhat reluctantly, ends up giving Wally a scoop to interview a young woman in a New England town named Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard). Hazel worked in one of those factories where they used radium based paint on watches, so she has been diagnosed by the local doctor (Enoch Downer - Charles Winninger) as dying of radium poisoning.

Wally goes to the town of Warsaw, and finds the natives nosy, secretive, and hostile (one little kid even bites Wally on the leg). He finds Hazel and makes the offer that Oliver has for her - if she will come to New York City, the newspaper will give her first rate hotel accommodations, fine dining, take to all the sites, and have the city lay out the official red carpet to her - until the day she dies. Hazel gleefully accepts - she hates being stuck in her town. Of course she fails to mention that Dr. Downer (who is a heavy drinker) botched up her test, and the lab has now revealed that she is healthy as a horse and will not die. She takes Downer with her and Wally to make sure he keeps quiet.

The film then follows her rise to international celebrity trumpeted by Oliver's newspaper, the Mayor's office, and other interested parties. She is invited to all sorts of events (when she attends a wrestling match, the two wrestlers - supposedly killing each other - stop to greet her with smiles). A collapse at a nightclub (due to drinking too much) is mistaken for an early sign of her mortal illness (sentimental Oliver begs Dr. Downer not to spare him the worst - the next edition is going out in half an hour!). In the meantime Hazel and Wally have fallen in love - but Hazel does not know how to break the bad news to Wally: that she may live to a fine old age!

Many of the screwball comedies of the 1930s don't work so well today, due to changes in our perspectives. Certainly the jokes at the start concerning Ernest Jones are not so funny now - although Hecht did work in a scene where Ernest gets some back (having been called a fake by Oliver and others at the newspaper, Ernest stumbles into the truth about Hazel - and when he sees the others is swallowing it doesn't give a word of warning). But for the most part NOTHING SACRED works pretty well to this day, and showcases Lombard in her best screwball performance, ably supported by March in a comic turn for a change.
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What a disappointment
mountainkath15 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
As a huge classic movie fan and a huge Carole Lombard fan, it pains me to say this, but I really didn't like this movie.

I wanted to like it. Heck, I expected to like it, but I didn't.

Lombard and March gave good performances, but I think the main problem was that I found the movie boring. It didn't hold my attention. The movie is quite short, but it seemed to just plod along.

The plot of the movie is interesting (small town girl fakes illness to see the big city and then falls in love with the man she's deceiving), but the execution could have been so much better.

That said, I'm glad I saw the movie. It's Lombard's only film in color and that alone was worth my time.
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Not as great as I expected.
Taffyta16 February 2013
Before watching this movie, I looked up the trailer on YouTube and it seemed like it was going to be pretty funny. I also wanted to see it because it was in Technicolor, the first one for my film class so far. It was amusing at times, but I was kind of disappointed. After watching "My Man Godfrey", this paled in comparison. The main guy seemed to be a pretty shallow character. I felt bad for him at first, but then he just kind of seemed like a gullible idiot. The dialog wasn't as funny, the characters weren't lovable. I don't remember any of their names. The storyline was actually kind of boring to me, I found myself checking my phone during it. The only thing that excited me was seeing Margaret Hamilton (of "Wizard of Oz" fame).
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Cute film w/ the lovely Carole Lombard
smatysia9 October 2000
A cute show. Nothing made me roll on the floor, but still cute. Carole Lombard was soooo beautiful. And she was secure enough in it to take a comedic role where she would make faces, and have her hair wet, and other things that many beautiful actresses would not. I recommend.
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Worthwhile farce
moonspinner5526 March 2005
New York City reporter with his reputation on the line hits paydirt with story of Vermont woman dying of radium poisoning...but she's hiding a brighter diagnosis. Savvy comedy for the most part, with cynical jabs at both small town Americana and the Big City. Unfortunately, film loses steam in its final act. Good work from Carole Lombard(one of her looser, less brash performances)and Frederic March makes it worth seeing. There are some big laughs, but it doesn't stay the course. Remade with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin as "Living It Up" in 1954.

**1/2 from ****
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