Carole Lombard, Fredric March
Wally: If you were my sister, or somebody close to me, I’d take you out of Warsaw dead or alive, Ms. Flagg.
Hazel: Oh, I’ve always wanted to see the world outside before I –
Wally: You’ve lived here all your life, huh?
Hazel: Twice that long…
After Wally Cook (March), a newspaper reporter, is hoodwinked by a conman pretending to be a foreign Sultan, he tries to redeem himself by reporting on a story about a small town girl, Hazel (Lombard), who is dying of radium poisoning. He brings her to New York where she is treated like a hero. What Wally doesn’t know is that Hazel recently discovered that she was misdiagnosed and is actually fine.
I pretty much decided to watch this movie for two reasons. It was short, and it had Carole Lombard in it. Unfortunately, it turned out to be not that funny, and Lombard’s character was quite annoying. There were some funny moments, and I liked the still relevant commentary on how tragedy obsessed the media and the public is, but for such a short movie, it dragged on and on.
I did like some of the experimentation going on with the camera work. Characters are framed in interesting ways at times, and there’s even a conversation that takes place while the characters’ faces are being blocked by a large tree limb. Not everything works well, but it’s nice to see some creativity. The best shot might be when we see a newspaper with a headline about the mayor saying that Hazel is a shining example of real courage in the world…then we pull back and see the person reading the paper is a construction worker sitting on a thin bar on an unfinished sky-scraper, about 80 stories up.
Most of the comedy just isn’t my style, though. Too much slapstick and not enough witty dialogue. And I was a little surprised by the scene near the end where Wally actually punches Hazel right in the jaw. It’s supposed to be for her own benefit, but it’s not something you see too often in movies. At least she got to take a shot at him later too.
Lombard has a few good moments here and there, but March is overly dull as Wally. I always go back to Cary Grant when I see a dull leading man in a romantic comedy like this. Grant had good verbal and physical comedic timing. This guy just wasn’t up to par in the comedy department, in my opinion.
This one won’t be going down in my personal files as the classic that it seems to be perceived as. I think the idea/subject matter is better than the actual script and final product. Not horrible, but hardly an all time great.
Thoroughly research the subject you’re reporting on. Thoroughly.
10 – 2.2 because I just didn’t think it was all that funny – 1.8 for Wally being dull and Hazel being annoying = 6.0