Idiot's Delight Reviews

  • Jan 09, 2021

    This movie, released in January 1939, it is amazingly prescient at predicting what was going to happen in the next few years, namely the horror of World War II. The story itself is charming, as our Clark Gable and Norma Shearer, and features a bravura performance by my favorite actor Burgess Meredith!

    This movie, released in January 1939, it is amazingly prescient at predicting what was going to happen in the next few years, namely the horror of World War II. The story itself is charming, as our Clark Gable and Norma Shearer, and features a bravura performance by my favorite actor Burgess Meredith!

  • Jan 08, 2021

    Anti war movie filmed before the outbreak of WW2. Gable and Shearer have great chemistry. Unfortunately, the film descends into dull propaganda.

    Anti war movie filmed before the outbreak of WW2. Gable and Shearer have great chemistry. Unfortunately, the film descends into dull propaganda.

  • Dec 22, 2019

    Gable and Shearer give two their best performances in the top film adaptation of Robert Sherwood's Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway smash

    Gable and Shearer give two their best performances in the top film adaptation of Robert Sherwood's Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway smash

  • Nov 17, 2019

    A misfire extraordinaire! Gable dances like he has shackles on his feet; the anti-Astaire. The acting and direction are incredibly stilted; Shearer is absurdly camp. Her affectations are ridiculous. The pacifist message of this movie is almost comical, in light of the actual history of WWII.

    A misfire extraordinaire! Gable dances like he has shackles on his feet; the anti-Astaire. The acting and direction are incredibly stilted; Shearer is absurdly camp. Her affectations are ridiculous. The pacifist message of this movie is almost comical, in light of the actual history of WWII.

  • Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
    Jan 11, 2019

    Gable interestingly (because he's not what you call your first choice for this kind of role) plays a showbiz hoofer, back from WW1 and on the lookout for any job he can tag. Norma Shearer plays vaudeville carny performer. They meet for one night of love and then part, only to meet up again years later in Europe at the outbreak of WW2. Robert Sherwood concocted this basically anti-war message film but it seems to bear the imprint of many other hands and too many cooks... For instance, Shearer's kooky traveling artist persona grates on the nerves and one wishes Gable, ever a rock, would shut her up just once. Here is a mighty effort, although to no avail. Or in conventional terms: a bomb.

    Gable interestingly (because he's not what you call your first choice for this kind of role) plays a showbiz hoofer, back from WW1 and on the lookout for any job he can tag. Norma Shearer plays vaudeville carny performer. They meet for one night of love and then part, only to meet up again years later in Europe at the outbreak of WW2. Robert Sherwood concocted this basically anti-war message film but it seems to bear the imprint of many other hands and too many cooks... For instance, Shearer's kooky traveling artist persona grates on the nerves and one wishes Gable, ever a rock, would shut her up just once. Here is a mighty effort, although to no avail. Or in conventional terms: a bomb.

  • Feb 20, 2015

    Robert E. Sherwood won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for his allegory-like satire Idiot's Delight. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer purchased the film rights to the play, and commissioned Sherwood himself to adapt his play to the screen. The result is this astoundingly poignant classic, which features Norma Shearer and Clark Gable in the third and last of their radiant screen pairings... Wonderfully odd--A Russian Countess on the Swiss border is really an American vaudeville performer in disguise; she's not hiding from anything or anyone, she just wants to be bigger than life. Unfortunately, a second-rate song-and-dance man she once dated is staying at the same hotel, while wartime hysteria is breaking out all around them... Shearer and Gable ham it up to this idiot's delight!!

    Robert E. Sherwood won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for his allegory-like satire Idiot's Delight. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer purchased the film rights to the play, and commissioned Sherwood himself to adapt his play to the screen. The result is this astoundingly poignant classic, which features Norma Shearer and Clark Gable in the third and last of their radiant screen pairings... Wonderfully odd--A Russian Countess on the Swiss border is really an American vaudeville performer in disguise; she's not hiding from anything or anyone, she just wants to be bigger than life. Unfortunately, a second-rate song-and-dance man she once dated is staying at the same hotel, while wartime hysteria is breaking out all around them... Shearer and Gable ham it up to this idiot's delight!!

  • Sep 08, 2012

    good and enjoyable com-dram

    good and enjoyable com-dram

  • May 18, 2010

    Idiot's Delight (1939) This is kind of a weird movie for Clark Gable. You don't often see Gable doing soft shoe numbers, singing, dancing, and playing in vaudeville gags, but here he is trying to make a living on the stage. Harry Van (Gable) is trying to stay in the business, going from one partner and routine to the other. He isn't all that successful, but you know that he'll keep at it and eventually do good. He meets up with a small-town country girl, and dreamer, Irene Fellara (Norma Shearer) and they sort of hit it off. Although the relationship is kind of doomed from the start, Harry can't seem to forget Irene. Later, Harry is able to get a small troop of dancing girls put together and they're touring Europe and he bumps into Irene in a resort in the Alps just before the Nazis invade the country. Only this time Irene is acting like some over-the-top, campy, Russian aristocrat who is the mistress to a rich industrialist, Archille Weber (Edward Arnold). This is Harry's last chance and you know that he's going to try to take it, as well as Irene. But, war is on the horizon. This is the beginning of the war movies of the 40s and everyone is gearing up for the fight to come.

    Idiot's Delight (1939) This is kind of a weird movie for Clark Gable. You don't often see Gable doing soft shoe numbers, singing, dancing, and playing in vaudeville gags, but here he is trying to make a living on the stage. Harry Van (Gable) is trying to stay in the business, going from one partner and routine to the other. He isn't all that successful, but you know that he'll keep at it and eventually do good. He meets up with a small-town country girl, and dreamer, Irene Fellara (Norma Shearer) and they sort of hit it off. Although the relationship is kind of doomed from the start, Harry can't seem to forget Irene. Later, Harry is able to get a small troop of dancing girls put together and they're touring Europe and he bumps into Irene in a resort in the Alps just before the Nazis invade the country. Only this time Irene is acting like some over-the-top, campy, Russian aristocrat who is the mistress to a rich industrialist, Archille Weber (Edward Arnold). This is Harry's last chance and you know that he's going to try to take it, as well as Irene. But, war is on the horizon. This is the beginning of the war movies of the 40s and everyone is gearing up for the fight to come.

  • Aug 13, 2009

    Norma Shearer's performance, IMO will be the key to one's enjoyment of this film..because in order to do so, you would have to accept her over-the-top (should I say - hammy) performance as a faux russian expatriate who ( supposedly ) escaped the "bolshevekii" and winds up the wife of weapons magnate Achille Weber (Edward Arnold) on the eve of WWII. Although Shearer's husband Irving Thalberg had died 2 years prior to this film's release, I'm sure she still had the clout at MGM to have gotten away with this kind of performance. Sure IDIOT'S DELIGHT is supposed to be a comedy...but it makes me wonder if someone thought to tell Shearer to tone it down a bit. Probably not. Shearer stars opposite Clark Gable here, who plays the cocky but less-than-talented vaudeville performer Harry Van, who will take most any stage job that comes his way. When he isn't on stage...you can find him hawking encyclopedias door-to-door. It is while he acts as an assistant to a drunken mind-reader that Harry meets Irene Fellara (Shearer), a high wire acrobat. Harry and Irene have a short romantic fling but decide to amicably part ways when their respective acts take them in opposite directions. Years later, Harry is now travelling as part of a song and dance act and finds himself stranded at an alpine resort in a nameless european country whose borders are closed suddenly by the military. While at the resort, Harry meets Weber, the weapons magnate and his sexy russian wife, Irena. Harry is almost certain that Irena is not the person she claims to be. She sure looks exactly like the acrobat he once had that fling with years ago... IDIOT'S DELIGHT is billed as a musical/comedy but it's punctuated with dark undertones. It is based on a pulitzer-prize winning play by Robert E. Sherwood (THE PETRIFIED FOREST). I wonder how much of the play shows through in the film - which has moments when it's anti-war sentiments comes to the fore. Burgess Meredith plays a pacifist here and he seemed to have taken his acting cue from Shearer's performance...both hammy indeed, I must say. Clark Gable is his usual self here and succeeds despite the short-comings of the film. He does a short song and dance number that apparently Gable was very nervous to perform... the only time one will actually see him sing and dance in a film. IDIOT'S DELIGHT might be worth watching just for that moment alone... TCM actually showed two endings to this. One a US release version and the other an INTERNATIONAL release version. The latter may have been apropos in 1939 but really comes off as a bit too much like propaganda now. I just thought the US version worked better given the tone of the rest of the film... Norma Shearer, IMO will do a better job playing a foreigner, this time in a dramatic role in her 1940 film, ESCAPE. 5.5

    Norma Shearer's performance, IMO will be the key to one's enjoyment of this film..because in order to do so, you would have to accept her over-the-top (should I say - hammy) performance as a faux russian expatriate who ( supposedly ) escaped the "bolshevekii" and winds up the wife of weapons magnate Achille Weber (Edward Arnold) on the eve of WWII. Although Shearer's husband Irving Thalberg had died 2 years prior to this film's release, I'm sure she still had the clout at MGM to have gotten away with this kind of performance. Sure IDIOT'S DELIGHT is supposed to be a comedy...but it makes me wonder if someone thought to tell Shearer to tone it down a bit. Probably not. Shearer stars opposite Clark Gable here, who plays the cocky but less-than-talented vaudeville performer Harry Van, who will take most any stage job that comes his way. When he isn't on stage...you can find him hawking encyclopedias door-to-door. It is while he acts as an assistant to a drunken mind-reader that Harry meets Irene Fellara (Shearer), a high wire acrobat. Harry and Irene have a short romantic fling but decide to amicably part ways when their respective acts take them in opposite directions. Years later, Harry is now travelling as part of a song and dance act and finds himself stranded at an alpine resort in a nameless european country whose borders are closed suddenly by the military. While at the resort, Harry meets Weber, the weapons magnate and his sexy russian wife, Irena. Harry is almost certain that Irena is not the person she claims to be. She sure looks exactly like the acrobat he once had that fling with years ago... IDIOT'S DELIGHT is billed as a musical/comedy but it's punctuated with dark undertones. It is based on a pulitzer-prize winning play by Robert E. Sherwood (THE PETRIFIED FOREST). I wonder how much of the play shows through in the film - which has moments when it's anti-war sentiments comes to the fore. Burgess Meredith plays a pacifist here and he seemed to have taken his acting cue from Shearer's performance...both hammy indeed, I must say. Clark Gable is his usual self here and succeeds despite the short-comings of the film. He does a short song and dance number that apparently Gable was very nervous to perform... the only time one will actually see him sing and dance in a film. IDIOT'S DELIGHT might be worth watching just for that moment alone... TCM actually showed two endings to this. One a US release version and the other an INTERNATIONAL release version. The latter may have been apropos in 1939 but really comes off as a bit too much like propaganda now. I just thought the US version worked better given the tone of the rest of the film... Norma Shearer, IMO will do a better job playing a foreigner, this time in a dramatic role in her 1940 film, ESCAPE. 5.5

  • Aug 13, 2009

    It's typical 1930's crap but it's "acquired taste" crap, and I'm one of the few people who will eat it up despite of what it really is. Clark Gable seemed to be in his comfort zone a s a vaudevillian, whereas watching Norma Shearer makes me wanna break up with my previous love for her. It doesn't follow the typical fake Countess narratives, although it's not as fun as the trailer makes it to be.

    It's typical 1930's crap but it's "acquired taste" crap, and I'm one of the few people who will eat it up despite of what it really is. Clark Gable seemed to be in his comfort zone a s a vaudevillian, whereas watching Norma Shearer makes me wanna break up with my previous love for her. It doesn't follow the typical fake Countess narratives, although it's not as fun as the trailer makes it to be.