Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Nothing Sacred (1937)

Wally Cook is a man in search of a big story.  He finds a foreign man who seems important.  It’s revealed that he actually shines shoes for a living when his wife and kids show up.  Thus, Wally is condemned to write obituaries at a desk where he’s in everyone’s way.  Not one to accept obscurity, Wally finds a new big story.

Enter Hazel Flagg.  Hazel is not well.  Or, at least she thinks she’s not well.  Her doctor informed her that she is suffering from radium poisoning.  This gives her some comfort in that she can at least use what money she has to visit New York.  That comfort is taken away when Dr. Enoch Downer informs her that he’s made a terrible mistake:  He handed out one too many diagnoses of radium poisoning.

Hazel is about to accept being stuck in Warsaw, Vermont, when Wally pays her a visit.  Seeing that she’s upset, Wally offers to fly Hazel (and Dr. Downer) to New York.  She’s thrilled.  Hazel gets what she wanted all along and Wally gets his story.

The comedy comes partly from the false pretenses of Hazel’s visit to New York.  She knows from the time she meets Wally that she’s not actually sick, but can’t pass up the opportunity.  She even conspires with Enoch to fake her suicide and run off.

Then, there’s a certain physical humor.  The movie seems like an early forbearer to the movies of Mel Brooks.  During a boxing match, one of the contenders gets so caught up in the match, he hits the referee and no one bats an eye.

I don’t think I would have seen this had my brother not left me the DVD.  Even then, it took me a while to get around to it.  (Some of the early scenes seemed familiar.  I think I may have started watching this before or caught it on TV part of the way through.)  If I had been forced to watch this in school, I might have at least been thankful not to be doing schoolwork for 73 minutes.  But it’s certainly not something I would have paid to rent.

IMDb page

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