With it being February 1, I just have to have a review of one of Clark Gable’s films to celebrate his birthday (ESPECIALLY since he is the Star Of The Month)! So, we’ve got his 1932 film No Man Of Her Own, which co-stars Carole Lombard! But, let’s get through our theatrical short, first!
Coming Up Shorts! with… Science Friction (1970)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)
(Length: 6 minutes, 16 seconds)
The ant has been captured by a scientist, and the aardvark tries to get him away for a snack. It’s another cartoon where the ant has a bodyguard to help protect him against the aardvark. In that regard, it’s nothing new. Still, the humor works as all the aardvark’s attempts to get the ant backfire on him. I had a few good laughs with this one, and it’s one I find worth revisiting occasionally!
And Now For The Main Feature…
Babe Stewart (Clark Gable) is a card sharp in New York City, working with his lover Kay Everly (Dorothy Mackaill) and his buddies Charlie Vane (Grant Mitchell) and Vargas (Paul Ellis) to cheat people out of their money at poker. Things are going well, except Kay is getting too serious with Babe, and he wants out of the relationship. However, she won’t let him go, and threatens to turn him in to the police. Babe doesn’t think she will, but when he finds out that policeman “Dickie” Collins (J. Farrell MacDonald) has been following him and is close to nailing him, he decides to leave town. Leaving it up to chance, Babe decides to go to the town of Glendale. There, he meets librarian Connie Randall (Carole Lombard). Connie is quite bored with her small town, and is looking for a way out of there. Babe flirts with her every chance he gets, and, in spite of the fact that she is attracted to him, Connie plays hard-to-get. They continue this flirting for a while, until Babe is ready to go back to New York. Then, on the flip of a coin, Connie tries to convince him to marry her. So, with the coin saying “yes,” they end up getting married, and he brings her along with him to New York City. On their way to his apartment, he is met by Collins, who warns him that he is still after him. Charlie Vane soon shows up, and he and Babe plot to get a game going that night. Meanwhile, Connie has no idea what they are doing, and believes that Babe has an actual job to go to. So, early in the morning, she wakes Babe up, and sends him off to “work.” Stuck with nothing to do for a few hours (and unwilling to tell his wife the truth), he finds a friend at a stock brokers, and gets himself a job there. Eventually, Connie catches on to what Babe, Charlie and Vargas are doing, and reshuffles a stacked deck of cards, causing them to lose a lot of money. As a result, Babe decides to take a trip to South America with Charlie and Vargas, but is shocked to hear that Connie still wants to stay with him. With this development, will the two stay together, or will they separate, allowing Babe to continue his crooked ways?
The casting of No Man Of Her Own came about mostly because of actress Marion Davies. At the time, she was still more or less working with MGM, and she made a push (through her lover William Randolph Hearst) to have the MGM exectuives make a trade for then-rising star at Paramount Studios Bing Crosby for her next film (Going Hollywood). In return, the MGM executives lent Paramount Clark Gable, figuring that his project would not be a hit. Clark Gable had his choice of projects, and chose No Man Of Her Own. At first, actress Miriam Hopkins was to be his co-star, but she refused to be second-billed to Clark. So, Carole Lombard was given the part. Even though they were to become an item later on, there were no sparks between them while working on this movie. No Man Of Her Own did prove to be a hit, but it was the only time Clark and Carole worked together onscreen, mainly due to the fact that they were under contract to different studios, who refused to loan them out for any joint projects.
For me, this romantic comedy turned out to be a lot of fun! I enjoyed watching Clark Gable as a card sharp, who was able to keep ahead of the law. Of course, he has a slight weakness for women, and, in proving that this is a pre-Code movie (and therefore not for little kids), he seems to have one thing on his mind (but at least, he’s not so full of himself that he doesn’t make sure the lady is a willing participant). And Carole Lombard is fun, too, as we see her with her own yearnings, which her mother (played by Elizabeth Patterson) tries to put down. And yet, even with that, she still pushes Clark’s character to be a better person. Like I said, the more sexual aspects make this less family-friendly, but it’s mostly implied (although we see Carole in her underwear for a moment or two). I wasn’t sure what to expect of the movie going into it, but I do know that I enjoyed it quite a bit, which made the Carole Lombard set it is included in well worth it for this movie alone! So, I would definitely recommend this fun film!
This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1 from Kino Lorber. The film mainly seems to be sporting an HD scan, which still has some dirt and specks and tears. None of them are that major, so it doesn’t really take away much from the presentation.
What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1
Rather than writing a separate post on this set, I’ll just add my comments here. The three film set Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1 includes Fast And Loose, Man Of The World and No Man Of Her Own. As I’ve said in each of the reviews, none of the transfers appear to be new scans (which, to a degree, makes sense, as they would have to be given individual releases with higher price tags and greater sales to even be worth restoring/remastering). I think the set is worth it for No Man Of Her Own alone, and maybe Man Of The World as well. But, if you mainly associate actress Carole Lombard with screwball comedy (and that’s what you’re looking for), then this set would probably not be a good choice (but you may want the upcoming Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 2 set, to be released April 6, 2021 on Blu-ray, which will include the 1935 film Hands Across The Table and the 1936 movies Love Before Breakfast and The Princess Comes Across).
Film Length: 1 hour, 22 minutes
My Rating: 9/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Clark Gable – Dancing Lady (1933)
Man Of The World (1931) – Carole Lombard – The Eagle And The Hawk (1933)
Man Of The World (1931) – Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1
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