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No Time for Comedy (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 14 September 1940 (USA)
Playwright Gaylord Esterbrook scores a hit with his first Broadway play, both with the critics and with leading lady Linda Paige. He and Linda are happily married until a patroness of the ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Philo Swift (as Charlie Ruggles)
...
...
...
...
Jim
Lawrence Grossmith ...
Frank (as Lawrence Grosmith)
...
Robert
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bonnie Gaye Cowen
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Storyline

Playwright Gaylord Esterbrook scores a hit with his first Broadway play, both with the critics and with leading lady Linda Paige. He and Linda are happily married until a patroness of the arts convinces Esterbrook to forget about comedy and concentrate on writing a tragedy. The end result nearly destroys his career and his marriage. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mr Smith Goes to town ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

14 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Guy with a Grin  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Faylen plays a cab driver in a scene with James Stewart. Six years later Faylen again plays a cab driver opposite Stewart in It's s Wonderful Life (1946). See more »

Goofs

At one point in the movie, Gaylord is at his home and discovers Amanda Swift's phone number is written down on a phone list in his wife's handwriting. His wife, Linda, had just left with Morgan Carrell for dinner at the Swift's home. Then the scene shifts to Amanda Swift's home and Gaylord is there. See more »

Quotes

Philo Swift: 'Gaylord Esterbrook'... seems to me I've heard or read that name someplace. What do you do?
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: I write plays.
Philo Swift: Er, yes, I have a hobby, too. What I meant was, what do you do for a living?
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: Write plays. Anything wrong?
Philo Swift: No, no; nothing, nothing. You'll pardon me, but it does seem a little trivial for a grown man.
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: Well, perhaps I'll grow out of it. What do *you* do?
Philo Swift: I'm on Wall Street.
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: Where's that?
Philo Swift: I don't know, but my chauffeur finds it every morning.
Gaylord 'Gay' Esterbrook: After you get there, what do you do?
[...]
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Connections

Spoofed in Snow Time for Comedy (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Music by Richard Wagner
Played after the wedding
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User Reviews

 
nice teaming of Russell and Stewart
13 July 2008 | by See all my reviews

Rosalind Russell and James Stewart are husband and wife in "No Time for Comedy," a 1940 film also starring Charles Ruggles, Genevieve Tobin, Louise Beavers and Allyn Joslyn. It's based on the Broadway hit that starred Katharine Cornell and Laurence Olivier in one of his early lead roles in the U.S. This was the play, according to legend, that David O. Selznick arranged for Olivier to star in so he would be separated from Vivien Leigh while she was doing "Gone with the Wind." Russell is the glamorous stage star Linda Paige who is starring in a drawing room comedy by one Gaylord Esterbrook (Stewart). He's actually from the sticks, and the play is not without its problems. When the production loses its backer, Paige steps in and saves the show. Bumpkin Esterbrook becomes a lauded playwright and marries Paige. He writes comedies with starring roles for her. One day he meets Mandy Swift, a socialite who likes to, shall we say, take young men under her wing and mold them. She convinces Gaylord that he needs to write some serious drama. Since he's already doing some serious drinking, it stands to reason one should follow the other.

Not having seen the original play, it's hard to say whether the film matches up to the original. At the time of the film, Spain was involved in a civil war, and all of Europe threatened by the Nazis; war was imminent. The play is about a playwright who is agonized by his success in the genre of sophisticated comedies when the world is such a serious place. It's also about several years into a marriage when the bloom has fallen off the rose.

The film "No Time for Comedy" is an uneasy mix of drama and comedy. Stewart, who normally plays a likable character, plays a country boy spoiled by success. He turns to drink and another woman, making him much less likable. Yet the audience is set up from the beginning to think he's going to be a nice guy. Russell, of course, plays the stage actress (which she was) beautifully. As Gaylord's suffering wife, she is dignified and sophisticated and you can see her broken heart beneath the veneer. Louise Beavers is fabulous as the maid who is not only an equal in the household but acts on stage as well.

Part of the problem with "No Time for Comedy" is that nowadays, we know the importance of comedy in times of tragedy. In fact, it's always time for comedy, never more than when there's a dark pall over the world. Despite good performances, the movie seems dated today, as I suspect would the play.


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