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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     1997     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: Lumivision
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/30/1997
Original Release Date: 11/25/1937
Theatrical Release Date: 11/25/1937
Release Year: 1997
Run Time: 1hr 17min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Great movie, terrible DVD quality
Kathleen S. Johnson | Sonora, CA USA | 12/13/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great film, but do NOT buy the copy of the DVD with the airplane on the cover, it is TERRIBLE. Fuzzy, poor sound quality, cheap graphics on the outside of the DVD case. It looks like something tossed together by some company who makes bootleg copies from the t.v. I've never heard of the company (Timeless Classics), and on top of everything else it arrived scratched and loose in the case. Movie, five stars, DVD quality, MINUS 5."
Nothing Sacred
Byford I. Hall Jr. | Gainesville, FL United States | 05/22/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The title says it all. This would have been a much more enjoyable movie had the original that was used have been a good one. At best I could only give the quality of the picture a C- or D+."
A Great Comedy That Needs Some Explaining
R. F. Mojica | Staten Island, NY United States | 07/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"On reading some of the reviews of Nothing Sacred here, I saw that while some folks found it just fine & dandy, others were disappointed. Being Carole Lombard fans, and knowing the reputation of this film, they expected more from it; they expected it to be funnier than it was.

The problem is that this film was, as pointed out by others, more of a satire than a screwball comedy. In many ways, it was almost a late `30s film version of MAD magazine, and, thus, many of the barbs are aimed at topical targets that would be completely missed by the average film viewer 70 years later, unless he or she was, like I, a bug on 1930's pop culture.

For example, the opening scene, which some here have referred to as uncomfortably close to "racist"; it features the black actor Troy Brown as a "Oriental Potentate" who is donating millions of dollars towards the establishment of a "temple of learning & culture". Rather than being an outrageous racial joke, it is a spoof on the then topical subject of Father Divine.

Shortly thereafter, the Fredric March character finds himself in Warsaw, Vermont, where he is mistreated and abused by sullen, silent, greedy, mossbacked Vermonters. While amusing in itself, it is more amusing when one realizes that this is Ben Hecht & director Wellman's acid take on Frank Capra's Mandrake Falls, from Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, where those same silent characters are portrayed as cute, cuddly, warm hearted but shrewd eccentrics, and the homely, lovely little towns of New England are held up as paragons of all American virtues where the rube locals are actually infinitely smarter and wiser and more knowing than the slick city folks from New York. In this film those towns are places to flee from, places you wouldn't even want to die in. There is likely also a political jibe here. Hecht, a liberal, was likely thumbing his nose at one of the two states not to vote for Roosevelt in the 1936 election by portraying its citizens as nasty, hidebound and grasping.

The radium poisoning plot device was based on an actual incident, then current, where women who had worked in a watch factory as teenaged girls, painting the numbers on illuminated watch dials, started dying of cancer.

The scene in the nightclub, saluting the "heroines of history" features Frank Fay, then still a well known comedian. Fay more or less originated the role of "MC" in a vaudeville or revue setting. Fay's MC characterization was a smarmy, unctuous, egotistical wise guy who made belittling comments about the acts he introduced or ushered off the stage (you can see Fay's act in all its glory in the Warner Brother's early talkie revue "Show of Shows"). Here he plays a caricature of that role, which made him a big star on Broadway. People in 1937 would have "gotten" this joke, but today people don't know Frank Fay and don't get the gag. This scene is also noteworthy as one of the earliest examples of a character flipping the bird in a Hollywood film, when the Dutch girl (played by Jinx Falkenburg, then America's most famous fashion model & cover girl) who saved her country by sticking her finger in the dike is told by Fay to "show us the finger." You can guess which finger it was.

There are dozens of examples of these topical jokes in this film, and I'll give one more. In the newspaper editor's office, Maxie Rosenbloom, playing his usual dim bulb character, is talking on the phone to his even dumber brother "Moe". He starts the conversation with "Hell, Moe..." I'm sure this joke, which would meet stony silence now, got screams in 1937, because it is a spoof of the famous "Hello, Flo" telephone scene from MGM's the Great Ziegfeld, the scene which won Luise Rainer the Academy Award for best actress in 1936.

To be fully appreciated, this film almost needs a booklet in which the then current pop culture references are explained. Still there is enough here to amuse even if one misses the topical jokes. But likely that's all this film will do--amuse. When one watches it now, knowing its reputation as one of the funniest comedies of the 30's, one should remember that that reputation comes from the original reaction to the film in 1937, when audiences would have gotten all the jokes."