© 1937 Selznick International Pictures

Nothing Sacred (1937)

After the disappointment of Splice yesterday, I wanted to watch something that I knew would be good. Since I have been quite taken with Carole Lombard recently, in True Confession and To Be or Not to Be, I finally got around to seeing Nothing Sacred, which has been on my “to watch” list for a few years now.

As a David Selznick production, everything about the film had to be big and grand, including filming in glorious Technicolor and hiring the most expensive actress of the day, Carole Lombard. Although the color does not actually add much to the film, the presence of Lombard turns the rather corny story into an enjoyable film.

Lombard plays Hazel Flagg, a young woman who has been diagnosed with untreatable radium poisoning and given a few weeks to live. As she is preparing to leave her small hometown in Vermont for her first and last trip to New York, the local quack informs her that he misdiagnosed her, and she is actually in perfect health. Meanwhile, tabloid newspaper reporter Wally Cook (Fredric March) has been demoted to working in the obituary section and beg his boss to give him the Hazel Flagg story, which the paper can “play up big.” Hazel becomes a media sensation, hiding the fact that she is actually healthy so she can get a free trip to New York. Predictably, the two fall in love.

The plot and dialogue are average screwball comedy fare, but Walter Connolly is there to provide extra laughs as an apoplectic newspaper publisher, and frequent Marx Brothers foil Sig Ruman is funny as always as Dr. Emil Eggelhoffer of Vienna, the legitimate doctor who exposes Hazel as a fraud. Fredric March plays his role much as he played every other role—straight. But the real star of the film is Lombard, who pouts, stamps her feet and generally carries on like a brat throughout the film, but does so in a very endearing way.

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