shameless, season 9
dan quayle was right

nothing sacred (william a. wellman, 1937)

A short (77 minutes) screwball comedy in Technicolor, Nothing Sacred has a decent reputation, based in part on the presence of Carole Lombard. She is good, although she doesn't even turn up for the first 15 minutes of the film. But I never felt I was watching something zany, so for me, Nothing Sacred lacked the pizzazz I expect with screwball.

It reads like a classic of cynicism. Lombard plays a small-town woman who is supposedly dying of radium poisoning. She finds out she is fine, but when a big-city reporter played by March comes to town wanting to exploit her upcoming death, she plays sick in order to get a trip to Manhattan. There, she is feted like a Goddess, inspiring everyone with her bravery. The average person comes across as gullible, Lombard is deceitful, and March not much better. The script shows that city folks are just as apt to be hoodwinked as those from the small towns. All of this is indeed cynical, and more power to it. But despite an attempt at several big scenes, it mostly just lays there.

I should note that I saw a terrible print, basically the worst possible one. I was fooled by Amazon, who has at least two versions ... one was marked "Digitally Remastered", so I went with it. It was awful, with washed out colors that were a nightmare for fans of old movies. What makes it worse is that the other Amazon version uses a decent print. Hell, you can find the movie on YouTube and it looks better than what I saw.

So I admittedly saw Nothing Sacred under less than good conditions. Even taking that into consideration, though, I wasn't overwhelmed by the picture.

This was remade in the 1950s as a Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis picture, Living It Up, with Lewis in the Lombard role and Janet Leigh in the March role. (Martin played a doctor.) It also gave us the wonderful Sheree North:

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