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Nothing Sacred1937

  • 3.7
He's an unscrupulous newspaperman eager to exploit the story of a young woman's death by radium poisoning. She knows she's not really dying but can't pass up a free trip to New York with all the trimmings. So begins William Wellman's wonderful black comedy NOTHING SACRED, starring Frederic March and Carole Lombard. Legendary screenwriter Ben Hecht's sharply satirical screenplay, depicting the morbid nature of the scandal-hungry public, is more relevant than ever (with such wonderfully comic lines as, "Doctor, I want to know the worst... we go to press in fifteen minutes!"). Wellman keeps the comic pace frantic in one of the screen's cleverest screwball comedies. With a supporting cast featuring some of Hollywood's most hilarious character actors (specifically Margaret Hamilton, Charles Winniger and Walter Connolly), NOTHING SACRED is nothing less than hysterical.

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"[Screenwriter Ben] Hecht handles the material breezily and pungently..." - original Variety review


5 members like this review

What's this film full of Hollywood stars doing on Fandor? Well, it was made by an independent studio started by David O. Selznick (which went on to make such little films as "Gone With The Wind"), and for whatever reason was allowed to slip in to the public domain. But it's very much a 30's Hollywood film, and Lombard shows off every bit of her star power.

"Nothing Sacred" is no "His Girl Friday"; in fact, the dialogue is not just normally paced but notably poorly lip-synched. But the very early Technicolor more than makes up for it, especially striking when applied to the sophisticated city-interiors sort of film that we expect to see in black and white. Watch for the stunning color aerial views of recently skyscrapered New York. And don't worry, the embarrassingly stereotypical black characters who open the film will be almost balanced out by equally cartoonish stereotypes of Vermonters, Central European (ahem) doctors and Swedes.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (15)

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top reviewer

What's this film full of Hollywood stars doing on Fandor? Well, it was made by an independent studio started by David O. Selznick (which went on to make such little films as "Gone With The Wind"), and for whatever reason was allowed to slip in to the public domain. But it's very much a 30's Hollywood film, and Lombard shows off every bit of her star power.

"Nothing Sacred" is no "His Girl Friday"; in fact, the dialogue is not just normally paced but notably poorly lip-synched. But the very early Technicolor more than makes up for it, especially striking when applied to the sophisticated city-interiors sort of film that we expect to see in black and white. Watch for the stunning color aerial views of recently skyscrapered New York. And don't worry, the embarrassingly stereotypical black characters who open the film will be almost balanced out by equally cartoonish stereotypes of Vermonters, Central European (ahem) doctors and Swedes.

5 members like this review
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top reviewer

One of the delightful Carole Lombard screwball comedies from the 1930's. The movie is a bit stiff compared to MY MAN GODFREY, but she is nothing short of absolutely delightful throughout the picture. Worth watching and entertaining.

1 member likes this review

Great movie..very entertaining.

1 member likes this review

Of course I loved it.

1 member likes this review

Carole Lombard is a treasure!

1 member likes this review
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filmmaker

Great film. Fabulous Ben Hecht script pokes fun at newspapers and public phenomena. Cast is delightful, in William Wellman-directed romp.

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top reviewer

Better-than-average mid-century Hollywood fodder, but I prefer Wellman's films before Hollywood cleaned him up to please the Hays Code. Night Nurse was Hollywood trash, too, but at least it was uncensored, and unsanitized. "Beggars of Life", an early Wellman silent from 1928, was brilliant. The Hays Code even affected French films that wanted to play in America, and ultimately, Hollywood abandoned the code in order to survive. A list of topics banned from cinema under the Hays Code (from Wikipedia):

"Resolved, That those things which are included in the following list shall not appear in pictures produced by the members of this Association, irrespective of the manner in which they are treated: Pointed profanity – by either title or lip – this includes the words "God," "Lord," "Jesus," "Christ" (unless they be used reverently in connection with proper religious ceremonies), "hell," "damn," "Gawd," and every other profane and vulgar expression however it may be spelled; Any licentious or suggestive nudity – in fact or in silhouette; and any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture; The illegal traffic in drugs; Any inference of sex perversion; White slavery; Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races); Sex hygiene and venereal diseases; Scenes of actual childbirth – in fact or in silhouette; Children's sex organs; Ridicule of the clergy; Willful offense to any nation, race or creed; And be it further resolved, That special care be exercised in the manner in which the following subjects are treated, to the end that vulgarity and suggestiveness may be eliminated and that good taste may be emphasized: The use of the flag; International relations (avoiding picturizing in an unfavorable light another country's religion, history, institutions, prominent people, and citizenry); Arson; The use of firearms; Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc. (having in mind the effect which a too-detailed description of these may have upon the moron); Brutality and possible gruesomeness; Technique of committing murder by whatever method; Methods of smuggling; Third-degree methods; Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishment for crime; Sympathy for criminals; Attitude toward public characters and institutions; Sedition; Apparent cruelty to children and animals; Branding of people or animals; The sale of women, or of a woman selling her virtue; Rape or attempted rape; First-night scenes; Man and woman in bed together; Deliberate seduction of girls; The institution of marriage; Surgical operations; The use of drugs; Titles or scenes having to do with law enforcement or law-enforcing officers; Excessive or lustful kissing, particularly when one character or the other is a "heavy"."

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top reviewer

The gullibility of the public seems to have stayed unchanged since the 1930s, while the techniques for manipulating mass beliefs have become more scientific. Will those who see this story remind themselves to be even more skeptical today than the public should have been then?

I find most romantic comedies to be dull, lame affairs. This one is genuinely heart-warming, touching, funny, all without trying to hard. I credit the funny yet sincere performances by March and Lombard. It has some great subtle slapstick (like when the doctor is leaning forward and has to be held back but it's never taken note of).

Humor and acting style have not aged well.

Twaddle. Only worth watching if you're bored.

very nice!

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BRS

This was a bit cheesy, even slap-sticky at points, but it had its funny moments. It includes some really bad stereotypes of just about every ethnic group. However, I loved the cynicism in it and glad to see that the problem wasn't just solved in a big hunky-dory show number at the end. Oh, and the deco sets are great.

great...what a funny movie. Oldies are best.

This was a good film. It also revealed a great deal about male-female relationships of the time. It was a surprise to see the 'wicked witch of the west' in a somewhat different role!