Friday, April 24, 2009

Tonight's Movie: No Man of Her Own (1932)

One of Hollywood's most famous couples, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, starred together in only one film, 1932's NO MAN OF HER OWN. Their screen chemistry is electric, and it's cinema's loss that they never worked together again.

Gable plays Jerry, a New York City card sharp who takes a sabbatical in a small town when law enforcement starts circling too close. He meets a feisty librarian, Connie (Lombard), who is tired of her routine life, and before much time passes they marry and head back to the big city.

Jerry tries to keep Connie from finding out how he makes money, going so far as to get an office job during the day as a cover. As time passes, Jerry discovers that an honest life with Connie by his side might be what he wants, but will he be able to reform?

Gable and Lombard are terrific together, and the sparks really fly when they're on screen. They're a very appealing couple in a solid, well-done pre-Code story which I look forward to watching again in the future.

At the time NO MAN OF HER OWN was filmed, Gable and Lombard were each married to others (Lombard to William Powell); they didn't marry until several years later, in 1939. They had been married just short of three years when Lombard died in a plane crash on a war bond tour.

The supporting cast includes Grant Mitchell, Elizabeth Patterson, Dorothy Mackaill, Charley Grapewin, and J. Farrell MacDonald. The movie runs 85 minutes.

NO MAN OF HER OWN was directed by Wesley Ruggles, younger brother of actor Charlie Ruggles. Wesley Ruggles directed movies for three decades, beginning in 1917 and ending in 1946. He was Oscar-nominated as Best Director for CIMARRON (1931), which won Best Picture.

This film is available on both VHS and DVD. A review of the DVD is available here.

It has also been shown on Turner Classic Movies.

July 2020 Update: This film will be released on Blu-ray in August 2020 as part of the Carole Lombard Collection from Kino Lorber.

April 2021 Update: My review of the Kino Lorber NO MAN OF HER OWN Blu-ray edition is here.


Blogger Evangeline Holland said...

I declare! We watch the same movies around the same time! lol

8:47 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's fun! What did you think of it, Evangeline?

Best wishes,

9:23 PM  
Blogger Evangeline Holland said...

I enjoyed it, but ultimately found it uneven. I can see why the studios found it difficult to find the right vehicles for Carole because though I could buy her as a girl trapped in a small town, she was actually too intense and sharp for a character who was supposed to be a naif "hick" when the movie moved to NY. Clark was good, but his constant smirking began to grow overbearing and I felt his performance was derivative of his role in A Free Soul but without the roughness that made that character so compelling.

It also felt like a transition piece: it was Pre-Code, yet it came across very much like an early screwball--but since that genre hadn't been invented yet, the movie didn't know where to go with the (sex) comedy. But I did find a number of scenes amusing, and Carole and Clark's chemistry was amazing, and both looked great. It's a shame they never did another movie together because they were very natural.

1:45 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Evangeline, I enjoyed reading your critique. It really is a shame they never made another film together.

Best wishes,

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gable and Lombard had a strong chemistry in this movie. Unfortunately, their chemistry wasn't able to save the movie . . . at least for me. The plot was rather thin and the movie had a weak ending. Pity.

12:06 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

I loved it. Miriam Hopkins was the first choice but she wanted top billing ahead of Gable, and that was not going to fly, so the world got lucky and we all got to see Clark and Carole together.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Appreciate everyone's feedback on the film very much!

Barrylane, I'm so glad Miriam didn't end up in this one. I really enjoy Gable and Lombard's chemistry in this film.

Best wishes,

12:59 PM  

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