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Nothing Sacred

Screening on Film
Directed by William Wellman.
With Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Charles Winninger.
US, 1937, 35mm, color, 77 min.
Print source: Disney

Shortly after excoriating Hollywood in his stirring melodrama A Star Is Born, Wellman moved on to the American press, but this time with a comedy navigated by the incomparably airy luminescence of Carole Lombard. Her Hazel Flagg essentially pretends to be dying of radium poisoning to escape an airless Vermont town, and Fredric March’s enterprising reporter Wallace is only too happy to believe the story in order to sell papers and foster a feeding frenzy around her tragic tale. Along with the epic glamour of New York and the charms of Wally, Hazel must endure a constant stream of inanity—as everyone falls over one another to exploit the exploiter during her supposed last days in the fickle spotlight. Wellman keeps his screwball—apparently the first in Technicolor—lodged happily in a cynical, satiric, irreverent corner, where no one is innocent and the central love affair—born of deception and self-interest—is consummated by a spirited tussle during which each knocks the other out.

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