Monday, 22 June 2009

Nothing Sacred (1937)

I find it hard to remember a film from the 1930s which has more relevance for today’s society than William Wellman’s 1937 satire “Nothing Sacred”. The premise is simple – a journalist (Fredric March) in desperate need for a scoop finds a small town girl (Carole Lombard) suffering from uranium poisoning (or something similar) and brings her to New York where a lot of headlines about her courage, bravery in face of adversity and decaying health help improve the circulation of the newspaper. There is, of course, a tiny problem with all this. She’s isn’t really dying. Oh, and did I mentioned that she falls in love with the journalist?

The film reminded me of Howard Hawks’ “His Girl Friday” (1940), which although slightly later, it is adapted from an earlier play called “The Front Page”. It’s not as funny, fast-paced or corrosive as Hawks’ film, but then very few films really are, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Nothing Sacred” is indeed quite funny, with one of its leading lady better performances, one where she masterfully balances her slapstick and screwball comedy sides. It’s also her only Technicolor film, but sadly it has fallen into public domain, and the owner of the print (WB, I believe) doesn’t see the need to release a restored version.

1 comment:

VP81955 said...

UCLA restored "Nothing Sacred" not long ago, but I'm not certain whether that version has found its way to DVD.

And just to be technical about it, "Nothing Sacred" is Lombard's only three-strip Technicolor feature. When she worked for Mack Sennett in the late 1920s, she appeared in several short comedies that had two-strip Technicolor sequences.