Tag Archives: Hattie McDaniel

The Set of 400: #190 – My Favorite Dying Charlatan

Today! Because we switched a whole study course from the menace of Communism to the inspiration of Hazel Flagg –

Nothing Sacred (1937)

Directed by William Wellman

Starring Carole Lombard (x3), Fredric March (x2), Walter Connolly, Charles Winninger, Sig Ruman (x2), Frank Fay, Margaret Hamilton, Maxie Rosenbloom, Charles Lane, Sidney Kibrick, Hattie McDaniel (x2), Hedda Hopper, Jinx Falkenburg, Billy Barty

The movie that kicked off my 2018 marathon of every existing Carole Lombard feature (all 42 of them), Nothing Sacred inspired this endeavor by functioning as the purest example of Lombard-led screwballery. The other (spoiler alert) four Lombard films on this list all feature an equally effective leading man performance, be it Fred MacMurray or Jack Benny or William Powell, but Fredric March is just big name window dressing in this all-out Lombard vehicle. She plays small-town Hazel Flagg, incorrectly diagnosed with a rapidly terminal illness, who is quickly whisked away to New York City by an unaware, enterprising reporter hot for a human interest story. Hazel can’t help but get caught up in the attention and glamour, and obvious issues arise when more and more people find out about this deception.

It’s a real rock ’em sock ’em affair

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The Set of 400: #382 – My Favorite Pile of Lies

Today! Because Helen Bartlett is not Helen Bartlett alone. Helen Bartlett is womankind –

True Confession (1937)

Directed by Wesley Ruggles

Starring Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, John Barrymore, Edgar Kennedy, Porter Hall, Una Merkel, Lynne Overman, Hattie McDaniel, Byron Foulger, Irving Bacon

Just as a quick preface – herein is the first list appearance of the great Carole Lombard, maker of many a screwball romantic comedy of the 1930s and early ’40s, many of which are basically the same film over and over, the only difference being sometimes Carole was a socialite romantically involved below her, or she was a struggling working girl (no, not a prostitute, except in that one movie) romantically involved above her. I know this, as I watched every single one of her movies in 2018, mainly because they’re interchangeably nice and inoffensive and it was something to do. Some of these are still pretty good movies, but a handful manage to break away and really do something different.

Which brings us to True Confession, her second pairing with the fantastic John Barrymore and her fourth, final, and best film co-starring Fred MacMurray, this time as her lawyer husband trying to get her out of a murder rap. The grim set up is compounded by Carole’s character Helen being a chronic liar, mostly in the cause of doing good, but vastly complicated when on trial for her life. Naturally, hijinks ensue, including much complication brought about by Barrymore’s shady trial attendee and pub frequenter Charley, whose motives aren’t clear until well into the picture. Continue reading

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