And here we are for the classic 1937 screwball comedy that proves indeed that there is Nothing Sacred, starring Carole Lombard and Fredric March.
Fredric March plays Wallace Cook, a reporter for the Morning Sun newspaper, who is trying a make a comeback after mistakenly reporting a shoe shiner as an African Sultan. He convinces his boss to let him report on Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard), who is dying of radium poisoning. When he arrives in her hometown of Warsaw, Vermont, she has just found out from her doctor that she is NOT dying from radium poisoning, and that the doctor had made a mistake. This makes her sad, as she had hoped to travel out of Warsaw. She meets Wally as she leaves her doctor’s office, and before she can say anything, he offers to bring her and her doctor to New York, which she can’t bring herself to refuse. So, they make the trip, and she enjoys herself, all the while falling for Wally and trying to figure out how to break it to him that she isn’t dying (never mind get away from the public, now that she is a “dying celebrity”).
To get into my own opinion of this movie, it was one I thoroughly enjoyed! After watching both this movie and My Man Godfrey (1936), I certainly think that Carole Lombard was well-suited to screwball comedies! There are so many wonderful moments in this movie, it’s hard to choose which ones to mention! I know I enjoyed watching Hazel’s attempted fake suicide, where she planned to jump in the river, and have the doctor pull her out. Wally found out that she planned to commit suicide and got there before she could jump in, but he had to jump in and try to save her after he accidentally pushed her in (although she ended up saving him because he couldn’t swim)! And I certainly can’t help but wonder about the doctor, considering how much drinking he does while in New York! No wonder he originally made that mistake! Of course, I can’t avoid mentioning when Hazel tried to fight Wally (although I really can’t get into too many more details with spoiling the story more than what I have mentioned)! So this is a wonderful movie, and one I would recommend!
Now, my comments are coming off my first viewing of the movie from the recent 2018 Blu-ray release from Kino Lorber. Apparently, this movie has had a rough life. The movie was originally produced by David O. Selznick (the producer of Gone With The Wind), in Technicolor. It was re-released in the mid-40s, but printed in Cinecolor, which was cheaper to produce, but not quite as colorful, with some colors more muted. It was only seen this way until the Technicolor version was restored in the 1980s. In the meantime, the movie itself had fallen into the public domain. When Disney acquired a number of Selznick’s movies, they received the film elements and restored this movie in 1999. Apparently, this restoration hadn’t made it to home video until this recent release, which was part of a package of movies that Kino licensed from Disney for Blu-ray and DVD. The age of the transfer does show, but it does have its moments where it looks wonderful. I’m not an expert on how exactly it should look, especially since this was my first viewing, but I think it looks good enough to recommend trying the Blu-ray!
Film Length: 1 hour, 13 minutes
My Rating: 9/10
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