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Nothing Sacred
Nothing Sacred
Actors: Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Charles Winninger, Walter Connolly, Sig Ruman
Director: William A. Wellman
Genres: Comedy, Drama
UR     2002     1hr 17min

As potent today as it was when released in 1937, this classic screwball satire stars Carole Lombard as Hazel Flagg, the small-town girl who mistakenly believes she's dying of radium poisoning. Sensing a great human interes...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Charles Winninger, Walter Connolly, Sig Ruman
Director: William A. Wellman
Creators: W. Howard Greene, James E. Newcom, David O. Selznick, Ben Hecht, Budd Schulberg, James H. Street, Ring Lardner Jr.
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Romantic Comedies, Classic Comedies, Love & Romance
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/19/2002
Original Release Date: 11/25/1937
Theatrical Release Date: 11/25/1937
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 17min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Matt B. from GETZVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 7/8/2011...
Bored by small town life in Vermont, Hazel Flagg claims she’s poisoned by radium so that she can take a jaunt to The Big Apple, to be paid for by charitable donations from people moved by the pity of an All-American blond girl dying before her time. The screenwriter who also wrote The Front Page, Ben Hecht, does a send up of newspaper reporters, human interest stories, special interest charities, and the oily sincerity of do-gooders.

Besides being easy on the eye, Lombard was a gifted comedienne, with graceful movement and wacky tricks with her voice. Full of distress and crying, she’s so comical that one wonders how she did it so naturally. From what tap did she get her effortless humor? Frederic March in late career was mainly known for very serious roles but he does well enough as an amusingly cynical reporter, though sometimes he’s stiff. The best characters are secondary ones. Charles Winninger, as the incompetent drunkard doctor, and Walter Connolly, as the hard-pressed editor, are both perfectly cast.
The Technicolor, despite lavish settings, looked a tad faded.

Still, the movie is a hoot, smooth comedy throughout after the opening scene that doesn’t work. The choir of homely kids sings ailing Hazel a morosely funny song and a boy’s pet squirrel scares the bejesus out of her. The quartet of doctors are hilarious stereotypes of Central European Herr Profezors. The set piece is a send up of really big shows – the Women Who Changed History are scantily-clad dollies on horse-back such as Katinka, “the girl who stuck her finger in a dyke — and so saved Holland.”

A lot of fun.

Movie Reviews

Essential Carole Lombard...
Jeffrey Ellis | Richardson, Texas United States | 11/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Much like Marilyn Monroe, Carole Lombard continues to intrigue even decades after her own untimely death. An actress skilled at drama but showing a distinct preference for comedy, Lombard mixed her stunning beauty with a genuinely quick wit and a sharp, sarcastic intelligence. On screen, she was someone who, even at her most vulenerable, could still obviously take care of herself. Whereas the joy from watching Katharine Hepburn's screwball comedies came from seeing the haughty Hepburn brought down a notch or two, the joy of Lombard's films was watching her force the rest of the world to come up a few notches to meet her. One of her most enduring (and endearing) turns came in the 1936 film Nothing Sacred. In a plot recycled in countless films since, Lombard is mistakenly told that she is dying. A small-town girl, Lombard's one wish is to see New York before she dies. Natrually, New York's high society welcomes her with open arms and Lombard, on account of her impending death, becomes the toast of the town. Of course, this is when Lombard finds out that she's not dying. This is where Nothing Sacred differs from nearly every other film ripped off from it since. Instead of humbly admitting the truth, once-innocent Lombard carries on the charade because she's grown to love the attention! Whereas in today's Hollywood, nervous studio execs would wonder if this made Lombard an unlikeable character for middle America, the classic screwball comedies of the '30s had the guts to simply go with their outrageous situations. Instead of simply going out of their way to conform to presumed audience expectations, filmmakers like Howard Hawks and William A. Wellman (who directed this film in a nicely breezy style) understood that if they simply went to the trouble to 1) find a good script and 2) cast talented performers like Lombard, audiences would be willing to follow their films wherever they led. To be honest, I suspect audiences haven't changed but unfortunately, filmmaking has. The screwball comedy is a genre that modern Hollywood tries to recreate every couple of years. Usually, they fail. Luckily, we have films like Nothing Sacred, My Man Godfrey, 20th Century, and others to remind us of how wonderful these films (and their stars) truly were."
Yumpin' Yiminee! Comedy and commentary in a perfect union!
Kelly Dillman | Pittsburgh, PA | 05/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"NOTHING SACRED has all the right elements to make it a classic screwball comedy. It's short (a mere 74 minutes), has tight and fast scenes, some out-of-the-blue and very odd occurences (as mentioned by others, the boy biting March is a riot), stars who aren't afraid to get silly or messy to produce the best laugh, and a strong, scathing message.Ben Hecht's script is excellent, providing many belly laughs during the movie, and chuckles long after the VCR or DVD player has been shut off. Carole Lombard is her hilarious wacky self. I love black and white movies, but I must admit the Technicolor really allowed me to appreciate her full beauty. And as for Fredric March, well, I've always had a sweet spot for his acting, and he certainly didn't disappoint in this production. He and Lombard balance each other out perfectly. And, as was characteristic of the great comedies of the 30s, the supporting characters excel in their roles to round out a practically perfect comedy.As far as the film itself, there were three aspects that I particularly enjoyed. One being the sincere, in your face view of male/female relationships. The bedroom fighting scene between March and Lombard is hilarious, one of the highlights of the movie, but would never make it on screen in any of today's movies. In today's movie world where you can't offend ANYONE (except Christians or Republicans), and you usually can't show any kind of physical humor toward women (yet it's OK to beat the guy to a pulp), the un-PC nature of this 60+ year old production gives it unexpected freshness.A second uncommon point is the change in the romantic comedy formula. You know, it almost always goes boy meets girl, boy and girl are together for awhile having a jim-dandy time, boy and girl break up after tiff or misunderstanding of some sort, boy or girl makes a witty, cutesy speech to get them back together. This movie changes at least the last part of that formula to focus the last question from "How will they get back together?" to "How will they get out of the problem together?". Nice little twist.A final interesting aspect was the deliberate hiding of Lombard and March's faces during most of their more intimate scenes. This is fitting considering the movie was a rail against the mass media's need to sensationalize and exploit every intimate thing (and the masses' willingness to happily join in the explotation).If you enjoyed BRINGING UP BABY or IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, you're bound to enjoy this film. If you enjoy this film, but haven't seen the other two I mentioned, check them out! Chances are you won't be disappointed!"
Nothing Funnier
Mr Peter G George | Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom | 03/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Nothing Sacred is often referred to as a screwball comedy. Granted it has Carole Lombard the ultimate screwball heroine and other elements which suggest this form of comedy. However, it does not in the end so much resemble films like Bringing up Baby as it anticipates the later satires of Preston Sturges. Whichever way it is classified though, Nothing Sacred remains one of the best comedies of the thirties or indeed of any era. This film, with its story of an apparently dying young woman, has an added poignancy for viewers watching it today. Lombard would be dead by 1942 and a real national heroine also with a navy warship named after her. The fiction at times seems to look ahead to the fact and thus the story becomes moving as well as funny. The print of the film on this Lumivision DVD is on the whole good. There are some scenes especially at the beginning of the film where the early Technicolor print has been damaged. This means that there is some flickering and some separation of the colours. For the most part however, the film looks almost perfect with the vibrant colours so typical of thirties Technicolor. It is a joy to see Carole Lombard in colour and something of a surprise also, for her hair looks redder than expected. There are one of two slight jumps where the continuity of the film has been broken and this may account for the running time of the film, at 73 minutes, being slightly shorter than that listed in some sources. The extras on this DVD are welcome but rather disappointing. The two Sennett short comedies are not very funny and really show that he had not moved on at all from his early pioneering days. These shorts are of interest mainly because they allow us to see a young and barely recognizable Lombard toiling away in her pre-stardom days. The DVD also includes a very damaged trailer for Nothing Sacred and some interesting if rather brief home movies with Lombard and Gable."