Nothing Sacred (1937) - Rotten Tomatoes

Nothing Sacred (1937)




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Nothing Sacred Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

"This is New York, Skyscraper Champion of the World...Where the Slickers and Know-It-Alls peddle gold bricks to each other...And where Truth, crushed to earth, rises again more phony than a glass eye..." With this jaundiced opening title, scripter Ben Hecht introduces his classic comedy Nothing Sacred. Fredric March plays Wally Cook, a hotshot reporter condemned to writing obituaries because of his unwitting complicity in a fraud. Anxious to get back in the good graces of his editor Oliver Stone (Walter Connolly), Cook pounces on the story of New England girl Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard), who is reportedly dying from radiation poisoning. Actually, Hazel isn't dying at all; she's been misdiagnosed by Moscow's eternally drunk doctor (Charles Winninger). But when Cook offers to take her on an all-expenses-paid trip to New York in exchange for her exclusive story, it's too good an offer to pass up. Once in the Big Apple, Hazel is feted as a heroine by the novelty-seeking populac; she enjoys the adulation at first, but soon (and with the help of gallons of alcoholic beverages) suffers the pangs of conscience. She confesses her deception to Cook, who by now has fallen in love with her. Cook and Stone conspire to keep the public from discovering the truth, eventually dreaming up a phony suicide. Travelling incognito to avoid arrest, Wally and Hazel marry and go on a honeymoon, secure in the knowledge that New York City has forgotten all about her and moved on to their next fad. Brimming with witty, acerbic dialogue and hilarious bits of physical business, Nothing Sacred is among the best "screwball" comedies of the 1930s. The musical score by Oscar Levant both mocks and celebrates the George Gershwinesque musical style then in vogue. As an added bonus, the film is lensed in Technicolor (avoid those two-color reissue prints), allowing modern viewers to see what New York City looked liked back in 1937. Nothing Sacred was later adapted into a Broadway musical, Hazel Flagg , which in turn was filmed by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis as Living It Up (1954), with Lewis in the Carole Lombard role.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Romance, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: James H. Street, Ben Hecht, Ring Lardner Jr., Budd Schulberg
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 23, 1997


Carole Lombard
as Hazel Flagg
Fredric March
as Wally Cook
Charles Winninger
as Dr. Enoch Downer
Walter Connolly
as Oliver Stone
Sig Rumann
as Dr. Emile Egglehoffe...
Margaret Hamilton
as Drug Store Lady
Alexander Schoenberg
as Dr. Kerchinwisser
Troy Brown
as Ernest Walker
Olin Howland
as Baggage Man
Aileen Pringle
as Mrs. Bullock
Hedda Hopper
as Dowager
John Qualen
as Swedish Fireman
Monty Woolley
as Dr. Vunch
Hattie McDaniel
as Mrs. Walker
Alexander Schonberg
as Dr. Kerchinwisser
Alex Novinsky
as Dr. Marachuffsky
Kathrun Sheldon
as Downer's Nurse
Kathryn Sheldon
as Downer's Nurse
Ernest Whitman
as Policeman
Everett Brown
as Policeman
Ben Morgan
as Wrestler
Hans Steinke
as Wrestler
George Chandler
as Photographer
Nora Cecil
as Schoolteacher
Claire Du Brey
as Miss Rafferty, Nurse
Claire Du Brey
as Miss Rafferty, Nurse
A.W. Sweatt
as Office boy
Vera Lewis
as Miss Sedgewick
Ann Doran
as Telephone girl
Bill Dunn
as Electrician
Lee Phelps
as Electrician
Bobby Tracy
as Announcer
Betty Douglas
as `Helen of Troy'
Eleanor Troy
as `Catherine of Russia...
Monica Bannister
as `Pocahontas'
Shirley Chambers
as `Lady Godiva'
Billy Barty
as Little Boy
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Nothing Sacred

Critic Reviews for Nothing Sacred

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Wellman knew to keep this story short -- it runs just 73 minutes -- and speedy. And yet he understands how to conduct it so that it's more than just breakneck comedy.

Full Review… | January 7, 2012
Combustible Celluloid

Classically funny Wellman screwball comedy starring wonderful Lombard, equalled by March.

March 23, 2008

Sophisticated, well-oiled 1930s screwball comedy.

Full Review… | May 30, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The film has been perceived as a satire on yellow journalism due to Hect'd experience. There's a key line in which a NY journalst is told: A Newspaperman? The hand of God reaching down into the mire couldn't elevate one of them to the depth of degradation

Full Review… | September 15, 2006

Audience Reviews for Nothing Sacred

Ben Hecht was as smart a writer as they come, his work notable chiefly for his cynical but humorous bite, a jaded, crusty, hardboiled view of humanity tinged with heart, and here is no exception. A wily big city reporter attempts to salvage his flagging reputation by milking a cute story about a dying small town woman ... only she's 100% in the pink. And he doesn't know that.
Although already designed from the ground up as built for fun it still rests firmly on the charismatic shoulders of its two leads. Fredric March is more than capable as the reporter, particularly with the laidback visit to stoic Vermont scenes, but the thing takes off and flies every time Carole Lombard even comes close to camera time.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Another thirties' screwball comedy from the ubiquitous and always entertaining Carole Lombard, there isn't too much hilarity ensuing in this film compared to later works, but does manage to entertain. Most of the time the film does so with its interesting plot, centered on heroine Hazel Flagg (Lombard). Hazel finds out from her beloved physician that she is in fact not dying from radium poisoning as she had previously learned. At that exact same moment reporter Wally Cook (March) arrives in town to find her, whisk her away from the small town where she lives, and promises that he will make her the toast of New York City. Never having traveled anywhere, and fixed recently on her mortality, Hazel lies and goes back with Wally. Of course she takes her physician, makes him lie, and oddly does become the toast of the city, even reducing people to tears at the mere sight of her on the street or in a club. Hazel revels in the attention, and the love of the city, all the while falling in love with Wally, who is using her himself in order to get back in the good graces of his editor after a botched charity event. Of course it is Lombard's performance that makes this film even a little famous, not only for her impeachable beauty and reputation for being a loud and impish actress, but also because she was genuinely funny throughout her career. Even here she is flawed for taking the trip, but lovable as she makes everyone fall for her. March is also entertaining as the handsome love interest, but is rather flat throughout most of the film. Once Wally is made aware of her circumstances (as always inevitably happens) he tries to keep the secret from his editor. This does lead to one questionable scene where Wally hits Hazel so she passes out and he can fake a disease so they can fool the editor. This film is also shot in Technicolor, which looks odd since this film came out in 1937, two years before "Gone with the Wind" and several years before it was considered acceptable to make most films in color. The shots of the city simply look off thanks to a lack of understanding when it came to the process. This film is also famous for being the first film shown on television with a commercial break. Because of Lombard this film still receives attention, but besides her presence, the rest of the film slips into melancholy more often than not, and doesn't take enough chances or advantages towards the film's premise.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Although the romantic side of this movie is predictable, the comedy is good, and the story is interesting. It's not the best movie, but still pretty entertaining.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Nothing Sacred Quotes

– Submitted by Andy A (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Andy A (3 years ago)

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