6.6/10
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Idiot's Delight (1939)

A group of disparate travelers are caught and thrown together in a posh Alpine hotel when the borders are closed at the beginning of World War II.

Director:

Clarence Brown

Writers:

Robert E. Sherwood (play), Robert E. Sherwood (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Norma Shearer ... Irene
Clark Gable ... Harry
Edward Arnold ... Achille Weber
Charles Coburn ... Dr. Waldersee
Joseph Schildkraut ... Captain Kirvline
Burgess Meredith ... Quillery
Laura Hope Crews ... Madame Zuleika
Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher ... Donald Navadel (as Skeets Gallagher)
Peter Willes Peter Willes ... Mr. Cherry
Pat Paterson ... Mrs. Cherry
William Edmunds William Edmunds ... Dumptsy
Fritz Feld ... Pittatek
Virginia Grey ... Les Blondes - Shirley
Virginia Dale ... Les Blondes - Francine
Paula Stone ... Les Blondes - Beulah
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Storyline

When song-and-dance man Harry Van returns from World War I, he finds work hard to come by. His greatest success comes as straight man in a phony vaudeville mind-reading act with the tipsy Madame Zulieka. While on tour in Omaha he meets acrobat Irene Fellara, and they have a brief romance. Twenty years later while Harry is on tour in Europe with a troupe of leggy blonde dancers, his train is stopped at the Swiss border and he finds himself stranded in the Alps in anticipation of World War II hostilities. Harry and his chorines take refuge in an Alpine hotel with a group of disparate travelers who are also marooned there. Among them are an American pacifist, British newlyweds, a cancer researcher, a German munitions manufacturer, and a beautiful blonde expatriate Russian aristocrat who looks suspiciously like the Irene of two decades earlier. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Imagine! Norma Shearer as a "lady in tights"...who escapes from the honky-tonks into the rich world a Munitions King can give her! Clark Gable, the man in her life, whom she loved and left...and whom she finds again. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian | Esperanto

Release Date:

27 January 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Idiot's Delight See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,519,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Lana Turner was supposed to be one of the women of Les Blondes, but she had to go into hospital to fix a botched operation on her appendix. See more »

Goofs

As Gable enters his hotel room after Shearer is waiting there for him, she pretends to do the act with his sock over her eyes, guessing that he is holding up a room key. He tosses his hat into a chair in front of the table where she is sitting. Instead of the hat staying at the back of the cushion, it bounces to the front, and he sits on his own hat. See more »

Quotes

Irene: My father was old. The hardships of that terrible journey had broken his body. But his spirit was strong. His spirit, that is Russia.
Irene: He lay there in that little boat. And he looked up at me. Never can I forget his face. So thin. So white. So beautiful in the starlight.
Irene: And he said to me, 'Irena, little daughter'. And then... he died.
Irene: For four days I was alone with his body. Sailing through the storms of the Black Sea. I had no food. No water. I was in agony from the violent wounds of the ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The six actresses who play Les Blondes are not credited with individual character names. Instead, they are credited using the group character name "Harry Van's Les Blondes" followed by a list of the six actresses names. This appears on a separate title card after the cast list of the other credited roles. See more »

Alternate Versions

MGM filmed two endings for this film: one for American audiences and another, more spiritual and optimistic ending for International audiences because of the war clouds that were gathering in Europe. See more »

Connections

Featured in Just One More Time (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Over There
(uncredited)
Written by George M. Cohan
Incorporated into the score in the opening scenes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Last Teaming with Gable and Shearer
25 October 2003 | by smithy-8See all my reviews

"Idiot's Delight" is a good version of the play. Clark Gable and Norma Shearer do their roles with justice. This is their best and last movie together. Today, the movie may seem dated, but it wasn't in 1939.

Hollywood made several movies about fascism. Behind the story of a song and dance man (Clark Gable) with his troupe of blond beauties traveling throughout Europe, lies a story of countries fighting over fascism.

Like to make a CORRECTION: On my critique of "Escape", I said there were two endings to the movie, I was wrong. I was thinking of this movie. On "Idiot's Delight", they made two endings: one for America and one for the international market (they were already fighting in the pre-WWII war). The international ending makes more sense. You can see the movie with both endings on Turner Classic Movies.


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