Made for Each Other (1939) Poster

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7/10
Sugary Melodrama
bkoganbing2 December 2005
James Stewart and Carole Lombard meet and marry on impulse while Stewart is in Boston on a case.

When they get back to New York the two of them go through a lot of the trials that newlyweds do, a seemingly unfeeling and uncomprehending boss, a bitter mother-in-law for Lombard, a new baby and then a sick toddler. I guess the fact that they get through it all is proof that they were indeed Made for Each Other.

Other reviewers have noted some similarities between It's A Wonderful Life and Penny Serenade. They are certainly there. What's not there is the screwball comedy that we remember Carole Lombard for. No laughs in this one, she plays this quite seriously and shows her versatility.

Stewart however is pure Stewart. It's as if Jefferson Smith had gone to law school instead of becoming a Boy Ranger. He's so idealistic and full of hope as he starts married life with Lombard. As he appeals to Charles Coburn for financial help to save his kid, the whole audience in the theaters must have felt along with him.

The two have some problems keeping household staff and when they find one they really like, their budget crunch forces them to let Louise Beavers go. Though it sure has some racial clichés in it, my favorite moment comes from Louise Beavers in that scene with Carole Lombard as Lombard tells her they will have to discharge her. Beavers is a woman with real heart and soul and her words of comfort to Lombard never fail to move me.

For fans of melodramatic soap opera and the two stars. Some may find Made for Each Other too saccharine, but I like it.
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Touching (if flawed) story of likeable young married couple.
otter14 March 1999
Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard make an incredibly appealing couple, one whose everyday middle-class joys and sorrows you like sharing. That's all there is to the movie, pretty much, Jimmy and Carole get married, have a baby, deal with in-laws, money troubles, changes in their relationship, all the things everyone does. It's the opposite of an Action Flick, here domestic sorrows like pay cuts and not having a baby sitter on New Year's Eve are treated as seriously as real people treat them, and the movie is well made enough that you care. Who couldn't care about such nice, funny, sensitive people? For much of its length, it's a better "Penny Serenade".

The place where it falls apart is the ending, which is a ludicrously inappropriate melodrama about flying medicine in from thousands of miles away in a storm, it just doesn't belong in the same movie. But, I like the story behind it: Like a character in the movie, producer David Selznick's brother Myron (a power agent) was taken seriously ill, and was basically given up for dead. A doctor said that the only thing that could save him was a rare/experimental drug that wasn't available in LA, it had to be flown in from the east coast in terrible weather. The Selznick family sweated for hours, trying to keep in touch with a heroic pilot who was risking his life to save a stranger. When the pilot landed safely and Myron was saved, David Selznick the workaholic producer said "This it too good to waste on Myron. Let's put it in a picture!" I just wish he'd waited for a better place to use it.
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strange story structure
rsyung15 January 2003
I have to agree with other reviews as to the strange mix of genres and bizarre lack of conventional story structure. Normally, in the traditional three-act structure, the basic dilemma is set up in the first act, but in this film, the story just sort of segues gradually into the marriage and then one personal crisis after another, culminating in the illness of the child. In spite of all its shortcomings, Lombard's warmth and vulnerability shine through. I thought Stewart's gradual descent into desperation and self-recrimination strangely prefigured George Bailey in `It's A Wonderful Life.'
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6/10
A disjointed tearjerker - uneven, maudlin and overall not up to snuff for Stewart and Lombard
movieman-20015 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"Made for Each Other" stars resident scatterbrain, Carole Lombard and congenial James Stewart as Jane and John Mason, a couple on a whirlwind romance to nowhere. John works for a curmudgeon judge, Joseph Doolittle (Charles Coburn), a professional alliance that is at odds with the effervescence of his newlywed life. A greater hurdle to overcome is Jane's live in mother, Harriet (Lucile Watson) who intrudes upon the couple's idyllic domestic paradise with all the tact and humility of the proverbial bull in a china shop. By the time New Year's Eve rolls around the edges of martial Shangra-la have become so frayed that both John and Jane contemplate the longevity of a future together. Their sudden realization that their marriage may be over, which takes place amidst the gaiety of romantic couples celebrating the New Year, reaches a level of heartbreaking poignancy that, alas, the rest of the story lacks. Financial stresses brought on by a change at work eventually culminated with a devastating illness that may claim the life of John and Jane's infant.

Director John Cromwell spins a cinematic tapestry of lives that are the embodiment of those proverbial ups and downs we all encounter in life – at least during the first two acts of his story. Cromwell's sprite and accessible direction allows even the sensitive charm and poignancy of secondary characters their chance to shine. Unfortunately for all concerned, the last act of this story is maudlin melodrama and an insane layering of cliché that drives the story into a downward lack of restraint. Though the effervescent triumph of the human spirit is never far from Cromwell's vision for the film, it's ultimately that old fashioned sentiment that salvages the whole affair from becoming overly sweet or dire.

MGM's DVD is impressive. The B&W picture exhibits a very nicely balanced gray scale with smooth, solid blacks and very clean whites. Age related artifacts are present throughout but do not distract. Some minor edge enhancement crops up and there is more than a hint of pixelization in infrequent spots but overall the picture will surely not disappoint. The audio is mono but more than adequate for a film of this vintage. There are no extras.
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7/10
A real "mixed bag"
MartinHafer24 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This film concerns newlyweds, Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard and their attempt to have a successful and happy life together. The problem is that repeatedly, Stewart's character is so weak and ineffectual that the family is always struggling to make ends meet (though they had a cook through much of the film, so they couldn't be THAT bad off). In addition, because of his and his wife's weakness, the marriage was often damaged by Stewart's obnoxious and demanding mother (played by Lucille Watson, who made a career out of playing obnoxious old ladies)--who they allowed to live with them despite her being a very unpleasant person. As far as his job went, Stewart was a young lawyer who seemed to allow his job to run his life and offered him little consideration in return.

The acting through all of these ups and downs was terrific and the film rather engaging. And you know that when a movie stars Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard, it must be a pretty good film. Well, this is a very entertaining film, but somehow I can't help but think it could have been a bit better. In other words, instead of a better than average film, the movie COULD have risen above this but was hampered by two major problems--Stewart's character was too weak and annoying through much of the film and occasionally this soapy film got so melodramatic that it seemed hard to believe. Towards the end, when their baby got deathly ill, it was at times very touching and well-done--particularly when Lombard cried as well as the scene where Watson apologized and talked about why she was a nasty old crank. But, at others, it seemed pretty heavy-handed and schmaltzy.

All in all, a mixed bag but still entertaining and worth seeing if you are a fan of classic Hollywood films.
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10/10
The Precursor to "It's a Wonderful Life"
allen-maccannell19 July 2013
After reading IMDb about various movies for years, this is the one film that caused me to sign up as a member in order to leave a review.

That should say a lot.

This is a fantastic movie with great acting and it clearly prefigured "It's a Wonderful Life."

It's an honest tearjerker. Those prone to cry will do so. For some I could see it producing Niagara Falls. The acting is that good. And a movie is made only once every few years that can make my eyes water.

I'd advise you not to pay much attention to the negative reviews, including from those who would now find the plot to be derivative when future movies were the ones that were derived from this.

Sure, it starts slow (and Jimmy Stewart was more of a novice). It's supposed to be showing the every day life of a struggling couple during hard times.

That only adds to the emotional impact of the last half hour.

The producer put a part of his own life story into this picture.

It's really sad to know that Carole Lombard died soon after this movie was made in a plane crash over the mountains.

This movie is a must-see.
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Tries soooo hard to do too many things...
carole-lombard7 November 2004
Lombard was tired of doing screwball comedies, and still had her eye on the Selznick ultimate prize, Scarlett O'Hara - but she had to prove she could handle dramatic parts, to herself and to the public. This film is low-key, charming in its own way, but rather schizophrenic in plot. James Stewart is a convincingly earnest young husband and fledgling attorney who meets and marries the Lombard character in a whirlwind romance, before the couple comes crashing back to earth with a loud thud. Baby soon makes three, and Mother-in-Law makes an uncomfortable four -- in a tiny apartment, with an even tinier household budget.

The plot peculiarities begin on a New Year's Eve -- although in the midst of a huge party, Jane and Johnny don't feel much like celebrating. They argue all the time, and can't really remember what they loved about each other to begin with. Then their baby gets desperately ill, and the plot appears to belong in a different movie. After some pretty dramatic twists, the movie returns to its original focus and becomes relatively normal again.

All in all, a fairly entertaining domestic soaper, until the Plot Twist from Mars rears its alien head. You'll be making faces at the screen, saying to yourself, "Hunhhhh?????"
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10/10
An underrated gem which exalts Lombard's talents.
godsnewworldiscoming-13 November 2006
While other users will disagree with the accolades I give this movie, I was throughly impressed with Carole Lombard. While her legacy is her indisputable talent as a screen comedian, she was very touching and cogent in this serious role. What I like about the golden age of Hollywood was how they could take such simple plots and parlay them into unforgettable classics.

What newlywed couple today couldn't relate to the problems Stewart and Lombard contended with in this movie? Their tenacity and devotion to one another under duress was very simple and poignant. I have a funny feeling if I ever get married, I would want my future wife to watch this movie with me!

Stewart's role in this movie is not as heralded as his characters in Mr. Smith goes to Washington or in Its a wonderful life. That is certainly understandable. However, I will watch any movie which pairs up Hollywood legends. Any movie featuring James Stewart and Carole Lombard definitely warrants a look. If this movie came out any year other than 1939, it would be highly esteemed.
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3/10
A few good moments, but overall the story is a confused mess.
danmccoy1 July 2008
This film doesn't have a very clear picture of what it is or wants to be. There are some good bits when Stewart is on screen and they give him some lines to work with. It works best early on as romantic comedy, but the story keeps heading for more dramatic territory and gets itself lost in the process. By the last fifteen minutes or so, the plot twists are just a series dramatic clichés.

The part with the airplane feels like some leftover footage from another film spliced in.

The main reason I can think of to watch it is if you want be able to say you've seen all of Jimmy Stewart's films.
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4/10
Stewart or Lombard, Not Made For Each Other
jcholguin3 October 2004
James Stewart plays Johnny Mason, lawyer. Carole Lombard is Jane Mason, wife. Lucile Watson the mother-in-law Harriet Mason. Johnny sees Jane and quickly marries her. Mother is disappointed. Mother lives with them. Many troubles are ahead. Jane can't cook. Can't set the table. Can't do many things according to mother. The interaction between daughter-in-law and mother are the highlights of this film. Stewart and Lombard are married but just don't have any real magic on screen. Stewart is Stewart. He is good as a timid husband and son but this doesn't carry the film. Can baby Mason build bridges between Jane and Harriet? A believable film for those that are married.
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7/10
All in all, a pretty entertaining film
Keely_morris114 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Made for Each Other is a very entertaining film if one does not expect too much. As other reviewers have noted, perhaps it is only for die-hard fans of James Stewart and Carole Lombard, and as I am a huge fan of both, perhaps that is why I enjoyed it.

The plot surrounds John and Jane Mason who get married only after knowing each other for a short time. Their relationship grows cumbersome when John's disapproving mother moves into the household as well as a new baby. To add to their stresses is John's job, which leaves the Masons in poor financial straits. In a melodramatic, rather ridiculous ending, the baby is hopelessly ill and without the help of some serum, is not expected to live. In true Hollywood fashion, the serum is delivered and John and Jane are happy again.

Made for Each Other was produced by David O. Selznick and one wonders, with his meticulous nature of scrutinizing his productions, if he was too busy prodding the crew on Gone With the Wind to take notice on anything that was going on the set for this film. However, IMDb trivia states that Selznick included the cheeky ending as an homage to his brother who apparently had the same situation as baby. Nevertheless, without the ending, this film is charming. James Stewart and Carole Lombard play their parts to perfection. Lombard, especially, demonstrates her versatility in this film. However, one wonders if Stewart and Lombard knew how hopeless and unrealistic this ending was when they were filming it. It's hard to believe that they didn't, but perhaps they thought that they would be able to carry it through. Unfortunately, even with the presence of two luminescent stars, this ending falls short. Had Selznick and his writers left the ending to John and Jane solving their marital troubles in the same accord as the rest of the film, Made for Each Other would have been far better.

Nonetheless, for any fan of Lombard or Stewart, this is a film definitely worth seeing. It showcases both in their prime and if you disregard the slaughterhouse of an ending, is thoroughly enjoyable.
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7/10
An up and down movie, the ups really spectacular...
secondtake7 October 2010
Made for Each Other (1939)

"Last year there were half a million divorces in this country. Congratulations."

And that is the beginning of a sometimes-screwball comedy that turns very serious by the end, with James Stewart leading the charge. It could be screwier, and Jimmy Stewart is more lovable than hilarious, so the humor revolves around him as the foil. Carole Lombard, his partner in crime, can be more zany, for sure, but even there, she is more restrained than other films (like "Twentieth Century"). It's the situation, and the rest of the cast, who make this funny...and eventually tragic.

How exactly it drags at times is hard to say. Oddly, even Stewart is a little off base, exaggerating too much. The plot, overall, lacks drive. You might think this doesn't matter in a silly comedy, but it does very much. In fact, because this comedy is laced with a fair amount of normal drama, it needs a basic conflict that dramas need. There are some terrific scenes--the New Year's moment is really moving, and the scenes after that--and these are the reason to watch.

On some level, this is a type of drama/comedy that is aimed at new parents, or newlyweds. The couple's focus on the baby reminded me of "Christmas in Connecticut," and "Penny Serenade." I wish it just worked better, but too often it bumbles along, one little moment after another, the result of imperfect direction (John Cromwell) and a weak script. So it does the best it can, and the last half hour is its best, with high drama kicking in. This is a David O. Selznick production in the same year as his slightly more famous movie, "Gone with the Wind."
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4/10
Bargain basement movie
Jacquline9 October 2004
When I bought 4 DVDs for £5.oo in a local shop it should have been warning enough that this movie was not up to the usual standard of David Selznick Productions. With a cast containing such names as James Stewart and Carole Lombard I was looking forward to a real treat. As many other commentators have said it is an odd mixture of plot and scenes that doesn't quite convince. HOWEVER, I am so glad that I did view this film as I now have the memorable saying 'Never let the seeds stop you from enjoying the watermelon.' to live by. This should sum up everyone's life. Pick out those seeds or spit them out or swallow them - and then enjoy the watermelon - life itself.
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7/10
Classic but dated melodrama with an exceptional couple , James Stewart and Carole Lombard
ma-cortes13 May 2014
Interesting and thought-provoking drama with some touches of humor about newlyweds , their problems , distresses , overdue and poverty . This weeper movie turns out to be a simplistic tale , however provides an enjoyable time . Nostalgic and sensitive picture with brooding drama , adequate cinematography and evocative musical score . Well thought movie in which the couple's big dreams give way to a life full of unexpected sadness and unexpected joy . The picture begins with the followings lines : Greater New York has a population of 7.434.346 , among the least important of whom is John Mason (James Stewart) and Jane (Carole Lombard) . They fall in love and marry ; when John and Jane try to go on their honeymoon in Europe aboard the liner SS Normadie , their journey is suddenly interrupted . Then they must overcome meddlesome in-laws (Lucile Watson) , proud chiefs (Charles Coburn) , poorness and even the arrival a baby . Things become so serious , they decide to separate but their child's illness brings together for a second chance .

Sensitive film which deals with interesting issues such as family life , couple relationship , meddling mother-in-law , birth a son , and many other things . The story is plain and simple , nonetheless results to be a moving experience . It is a tearjerker about an agreeable couple who looks rather stiff and maudlin nowadays . This over-expended weepie flick relies heavily on the relationship between James Stewart and Carole Lombard but this does not get bored or spoils the tale . Slightly overrated but excellent all the same time , the picture is enjoyable and entertaining , including a stirring ending . Great producer David O. Selznick's experience of trying to have life-saving serum flown in for his critically ill brother was the basis for the flying sequences final the movie . The story is narrated with great sense and sensibility , the intelligent screenplay was written by Jo Swerling suggested by a story by Rose Franken . Sensational protagonist duo , James Stewart is extraordinary , as usual , and Carole Lombard is magnificent . They don't make'em like this anymore and no one plays Stewart better than Stewart . Only these big stars like Stewart and Lombard could play material like this . Support cast is frankly excellent such as Charles Coburn as Judge Doolittle , Lucile Watson as Mrs. Harriet Mason , Eddie Quillan as Conway , Harry Davenport as Dr. Healy , and uncredited War Bond as Hatton , among others.

Atmospheric cinematography in black and White by Leon Shamroy , subsequently a famed cameraman of super-productions , though also available colorized . The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely and usually badly edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second or third-generation or more copies of the film . Pleasant as well as adequate musical score by Oscar Levant , though uncredited . This stunning and appealing flick filmed in great sensibility was compellingly directed by John Cromwell , considered to be one of the best American directors . Cromwell was a veteran filmmaker who directed all kind of genres through a long career from the 20s and 30s to the 60s such as Adventure genre : ¨Son of fury¨, ¨Prisoner of Zenda¨ , ¨Tom Sawyer ¨ , ¨Ana and the King of Siam¨ ; Thriller and Noir cinema : ¨The Scavengers¨ , ¨The racket¨, ¨Dead reckoning¨, ¨Algiers¨, ¨Vice squad¨ and especially drama as ¨The Goddess¨, ¨Spitfire¨ , ¨Ann Vickers¨ , ¨Dance of life¨, ¨Of human bondage¨ , the notorious ¨Abe Lincoln in Illinois¨ and this ¨Made for each other¨.
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7/10
Lombard And Stewart Make This Film Worth Watching
jem13221 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The always excellent Carole Lombard takes on a straight dramatic role in 'Made For Each Other', playing wife to James Stewart's struggling 'everyman' husband.

John Mason, a promising young lawyer(James Stewart)meets Jane(Carole Lombard)and they marry impulsively after knowing each other for only one day. Unfortunately, married life isn't peachy keen as promised, with the struggling couple having to postpone their honeymoon for John's work, put up with John's interfering mother (who lives with them) and a chronic lack of money.

Lombard is a revelation (for me at least, I've only seen her in comedy before this)in a straight dramatic role. There are no zany antics from her as seen in the likes of 'Nothing Sacred' or 'My Man Godfrey'; here she excels at playing melodrama. Carole's beauty is particularly luminous in this one, and she has the opportunity to show her talent for conveying complex emotions when the script calls for her to despair over her dying baby.

James Stewart takes on a familiar role as the 'insignificant' John (note the use of simplistic first names to highlight the supposed 'ordinariness' of the narrative). Stewart's 'aw shucks' demeanor and reliability serve the film well. It is possible to suspend belief and imagine Lombard and Stewart as a real-life married couple, as their portrayals are so well-executed.

Lucile Watson (best known for 'Waterloo Bridge') gives a good supporting performance as John's elderly interfering mother, as does Charles Coburn as Judge Doolittle. The thing that ultimately lets this film down is the pacing of the narrative and the overall plot. It's not an overly long film, but some scenes do seem to drag tremendously. 'Made For Each Other' has a tendency to be too sweet and simplistic in it's resolve, and it's a readily familiar story, nothing new here. Lombard and Stewart breathe life into what would have been just a B-grade vehicle.

A lovely thing about this film is the opportunity to watch Carole playing a mother. Lombard was desperate to have a child with husband Clark Gable, and her warmth and caring manner shine through in the scenes with her child. They are tinged with sadness though, as we Lombard fans are all too aware of the fact that Carole was to die tragically in a plane crash only a few years later, she never got the chance to live out her dream in real-life.

7/10.
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5/10
Awkward as a whole, shining in parts
MerryArtist27 July 2008
As a whole, this movie doesn't work at all. Different parts of the story jump around here and there and fail to form a cohesive piece -- the result of a poorly written script. For instance, halfway into the movie and you still get no idea of where it is all going. You get a vague sense that Johnny's (Jimmy Stewart) inability to support his family and the consequent strain on his relationship with his wife is part of the main plot, only to be completely thrown off by a new development in the story, which doesn't fit into the first portion of the film at all. It's almost like watching two different stories at the same time.

Despite this serious flaw, the film is "saved," so to speak, by its superb cast. Both Charles Coburn and Lucille Watson give their typical character portrayals. Jimmy Stewart gives his usual touching performance that is so well-known to film-goers. Meanwhile, Carole Lombard tries a hand at a dramatic role -- and succeeds. As a wife, she is charmingly believable, and as a mother, simply shines. Thus the unfortunate film is held together -- albeit weakly -- by the performance of the cast. Otherwise there isn't much that would convince one to keep watching. However, it may be worth your time if your main object is to enjoy the performance of either Jimmy Stewart or Carole Lombard, or both.
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7/10
Well, I really enjoyed it!
Incalculacable19 June 2006
I can't understand the harsh reviews that this film has received from other IMDb users! I really enjoyed this film, despite the disappointing ending. I don't know if this is because I am a very big fan of both James Stewart and Carole Lombard, but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. I especially recommend it to you if you enjoyed 'Penny Serenade (1941)' with Irene Dunn and Cary Grant as they are very similar in plot.

Without the charm and ability Lombard and Stewart, I believe Made for Each Other could have been extremely ill-fated and boring. However, they manage to bring life, charm and make their characters very genuine. Made for Each Other is about a couple (played extremely well by Carole Lombard and James Stewart as always) who meet, fall in love and get married quickly, seem simply made for each other... but when certain problems arise - disapproving in-laws, job stress, financial challenges and illness, their love really takes the test.

It is only the ending that lets the film down. Not only is it bizarre but it is extremely unrealistic too. I can understand why it was written - to give an added sense of drama for the finale, to keep the reader glued to the screen, but it seemed very unnecessary.

Other than that, I found it an absolute pleasure watching Carole Lombard and James Stewart fit so perfectly into a melodrama which many of us can relate to. Perhaps it is for 'die-hard fans' only, but I do recommend it to those who are not familiar with their work. I found it very interesting, charming and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny - a great balance of comedy and drama. I can't understand the dismal reviews for this film - I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Wonderful melodrama.
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4/10
only for diehard Lombard and Stewart fans
claudecat26 February 2002
Carole Lombard and James Stewart gamely try to inject some life and meaning into this bizarrely constructed film about the tribulations of a newlywed couple. The scenes play as if they were parceled out among various directors, each with a different goal. Some are Capra-cute, some screwball, some melodramatic, and some surprisingly noir. There's even an extended adventure sequence, when the plot suddenly focuses on a small plane flying through a blizzard. It's hard to say which scenes are the most incongruous, when the film as a whole is so erratic in tone, and the storyline not exactly believable. Only worth watching for film students or fans of the actors--some smaller parts, such as Judge Doolittle and the intrepid pilot, are also very well played.
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7/10
Three Maids and a Baby
wes-connors26 September 2010
Manhattan lawyer James Stewart (as John "Johnny" Mason) falls in love at first sight with beautiful Carole Lombard (as Jane), while obtaining a Boston deposition. The happy newlyweds return to New York, but receive a frosty reception from Mr. Stewart's hard-of-hearing boss Charles Coburn (as Joseph M. Doolittle) and his mother Lucile Watson (as Harriet). They had hoped Stewart would marry the boss' daughter, and live in reflective prosperity. While obviously "Made for Each Other", Stewart and Ms. Lombard have trouble making ends meet, especially after baby makes three.

The struggling couple must also contend with complaining mother Watson, who moves in, and a series of ineffectual servants. With Lombard and Watson around the house, you have to accept that the "hired help" is around to impress Mr. Coburn and other dinner guests. Esther Dale (as Annie) and Renee Orsell (as Hilda) are funny maids. Louise Beavers (as Lily) offers some helpful advice about eating watermelon; and, she delivers fried chicken on holidays. Eventually, the frothy comedy turns to heavy melodrama. As usual, the David O. Selznick production values are excellent.

******* Made for Each Other (2/10/39) John Cromwell ~ James Stewart, Carole Lombard, Charles Coburn, Lucile Watson
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7/10
Don't expect many laughs, just great performances
Scaramouche200422 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A young couple meet, fall in love and marry, all in the space of one day. Now comes the hard part, telling the folks and making the marriage work. Sounds fun doesn't it? Add to this synopsis Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard, two of the best exponents of the 1930's screwball comedy than your bound to think that this is a must-see humour fest, on par with the likes of say, It Happened One Night, The Awful Truth or Bringing up Baby. Well your wrong.

What has the potential to be a light hearted love comedy with all the domestic trimmings, soon morphs into a dark and brooding melodrama, highlighting the troubles and heartache this new couple encounters.

His overbearing and interfering mother, his uninspiring job and lack of prospects, the pay cuts and the poverty are all played out for us to see in true David O'Selznick gloom and doom fashion.

Add to this already depressing spectacle, a lusty infant who is suddenly brought to deaths door, this movie will soon have you reaching for the pills, the noose or any other sharp object you may happen to have handy.

However what actually curbs your efforts for self destruction and has you glued to the screen are the fine performances we are presented with.

The great James Stewart once again delivers an Oscar worthy performance (and lets face it in which film did he not!!!!)as the hapless hero, although this time unlike other characters like George Bailey or Jefferson Smith, he seems to be a bit of a limp-wrister with very little 'umph' about him. In fact at times you have to question what Lombard's character saw in such a insipid loser in the first place.

Also Lombard was superb. Although more famous for her rapid talking wise cracking comedic roles, she actually acts through what has essentially become a true out and out tear jerker with the greatest of ease.

So in summarising, The story may be depressing as hell, but the performances save it from what would otherwise be virtual obscurity, and if you can resist the act of suicide until the end, the now fully restored to health tot says, his first words which will go along way to reassure you that their is plenty left to live for.

However, watch this film more than once and even this moment of wonder may fail to save you.
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Painful Movie to Watch
sedruol11 August 1999
I am a huge fan of both Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard. However, attempting to get through a viewing of "Made for Each Other" made me cringe. The dialogue was superficial, the characters lifeless, and the situations drab and depressing. It seemed that the movie was going for a realistic portrayal of a couple in their first years of matrimony, but it failed miserably in this attempt. Although Stewart and Lombard are both talented actors, at no point during the picture did I ever really *CARE* about what happened to John and Jane Mason. Not only was the script flat and uninventive, but it never really showed what would make the couple fall in love in the first place. Furthermore, the "dramatic" turn of events toward the end of the movie were so cliched, they would easily lend themselves toward derisive laughter rather than tears. Frankly, this wouldn't even make a good "movie of the week."
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2/10
Muddled Plot Makes This a LONG Movie
GAWeldon3 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Your enjoyment of "Made For Each Other" is entirely dependent on your appreciation for Jimmy Stewart. If you're a big fan of his, you should find this movie mildly entertaining. If, however, you find Jimmy Stewart vastly overrated as an actor, like I do, then you're in for a painful slog.

All of Stewart's quirks, gimmicks, affectations, and stammers are fully on view here. In this movie, he plays a wimpy lawyer who lets everyone and everything in his life overwhelm him. That would be fine if the movie gave us any kind of story to attach to the character he plays. It doesn't. There's a co-worker at the law firm where Stewart works who seems to be the film's villain early on. They're competing for a firm partnership, so it seems like we might get some heated office politics. We don't. Stewart had been dating the boss' daughter before meeting his wife, so it seems like we might get some interesting romantic rivalry sparks in the movie. We don't. Stewart's boss (Charles Coburn) pushes Stewart around, possibly because Stewart ditched his daughter, so we might get some "boss vs. employee" friction. We don't. Stewart's new wife and his mom rub each other the wrong way, so we might get some interesting family in-fighting. We don't. In fact, not much really happens in this movie at all.

After about an hour of listlessness, Stewart and Lombard decide to get a divorce. At this point, I thought, "Well, maybe their baby will get sick and die and that'll end this dreary movie." Shazam! The next scene, that very thing started to happen! All of a sudden Stewart is sobbing on the phone, demanding help from his boss, praying for help, all in the most melodramatic way possible. Some random pilot decides to fly from Salt Lake City to New York during a raging blizzard (in an open air bi-plane!!!) in order to save the day. Why couldn't the movie be about THAT guy?

Stewart's character is such a mama's boy that its hard to root for him at all. I could never see what Lombard's character saw in him in the first place. Charles Coburn's character started off as really irritating, with the old "hard-of-hearing" schtick that seems to be prevalent in so many old movies. He really takes control of the situation (and the movie) by becoming a man of action once the baby gets sick. His role became the most interesting part of the movie at that point.

If you want to see Jimmy Stewart at his best (in 1939), stick with "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".
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3/10
What a stinker!
carol-17711 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Extremely formulaic with cosmic-sized logic holes and a pretense at comedy. Aw, poor NYC lawyer! He's just scraping by, and when he gets a reduction in pay he doesn't go out to find another job, though he's one of the most respected lawyers in the area. We see him arguing in court so that others come up and congratulate him on his fiery, winning delivery, but he can't stand up to anyone in his firm. At home, problems are ignored until people storm out of the house.

The only character you want to root for is the final maid, who seems an actual human being who uses logic and communication to survive in the world. How laughable that the maid should bring the lawyer and his wife a chicken and wine on New Year's Eve because she feels sorry for them! (The bit's not played for laughs.)

Sorry, just too unbelievable and with a **SPOILER** pat, everyone-turns-180-degrees ending. How'd they get top-notch stars for this? If I'd been at the studio I'd have sent this one back for a complete rewrite.
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4/10
Made to order by Selznick - and maybe the US government.
RJBurke194224 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I decided to watch this movie because I'd not seen Carol Lombard before in any movie. I'm sorry it had to be this one because, quite frankly, this is a dog – and even with Jimmy Stewart and Charles Coburn, both of whom were great actors.

The problem with the film is simple: it tries to put too much, too quickly, in to a story about a young lawyer (John Manson played by Stewart) who marries Jane (played by Lombard) within an hour of meeting her. What's that cliché? Marry in haste, repent at leisure...

In short, the story is a series of episodes that show the couples' worsening financial status, their troubles with John's live-in mother, their struggles to pay the bills, John's diminished status at the office, the arrival of their baby son, John Jnr (unexpected and causing additional friction at home with mother), the couples' angst about their marriage, the baby's sickness which worsens, thus necessitating an heroic flight by a lone pilot (in a fierce storm) to bring a special serum to save the child, and finally John being accepted as a junior partner at the law firm.

How many more clichéd situations could the writers include? Maybe Mother dying soon after? There wasn't much comedy; the drama was lacklustre, at best; the dialog was painful to hear. Only the acting of the four main players was adequate.

This was the period at the end of the Great Depression with the USA coming out of its long downturn – during which many people experienced all of the events portrayed in the movie.

So, it made sense for Selznick to reaffirm good ol' home spun American values of family, relationships, heroism, perseverance, and initiative – all against the backdrop of the "average" American family. Who better to use than Jimmy Stewart and Carol Lombard?

And, it should be noted that the film was released in early 1939; so, it was planned in 1938 – soon after the USA began to get production going for the coming World War II. Hence, this sort of film was a great booster for the general public, at that time, many of who would soon have to join England in war. As many here would know, Hollywood and Washington formed an uneasy alliance before, during and after the war.

However, I'm glad I saw it – as a piece of disguised socio-political propaganda. But, I'll have to see other Lombard films to gain a better appreciation of her acting range.

As another reviewer noted: see this one just to say that you've seen all of Stewart's movies; otherwise, don't bother.
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7/10
The Three Rings...
ferbs5426 November 2007
The old saying goes that there are three rings in marriage: the engagement ring, the wedding ring and suffering. Well, if there's only one thing that the 1939 slice-of-life drama "Made For Each Other" shows, it's that the problems faced by young married couples haven't changed much in the last 70 years. In this tender little film, NY lawyer Jimmy Stewart meets Carole Lombard on the Boston Common. It turns out that they have the mutual irresistibles for each other and get spliced a mere few days later. And then the fun begins, as the newlyweds begin to deal with money problems, mother-in-law issues, job nuisances, a cramped apartment, AND the arrival of the inevitable bundle of joy. In today's culture, this couple would soon be considering a divorce, but Jimmy and Carole bravely slog through, despite some occasional misgivings.... "Made For Each Other" is as sweet and warm a domestic soaper as can be, and the two leads really do float the picture with their boundless charm and charisma. Lombard, 30 here, looks absolutely beautiful (often in stunning close-up), and her character is just so nice and understanding. The picture alternates scenes of gentle humor with scenes of bittersweet warmth, and the character actors here--Lucile Watson, Louise Beavers, Charles Coburn, Ward Bond--are all given moments to shine. The film culminates with a good deal of suspense, too, as a valiant flier braves a storm to deliver serum to Jimmy and Carol's dying son. All in all, then, this is yet another class production from David Selznick, coming out soon before that same year's "GWTW." It should be required viewing for all couples about to take the big plunge.
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