Wednesday, December 22, 2021

No Man of Her Own

Another of the spotlights TCM has been running is a series of movies with stars who met each other filming the movie and eventually got married. (I believe The Silver Cord, which I reviewed a few weeks back, was part of that spotlight for Joel McCrea and Frances Dee.) One of the movies that I hadn't seen before was the 1932 film No Man of Her Own, as it's the only film with both Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Recently, I sat down to watch it.

Clark Gable, early in his career, plays Babe Stewart, one of those professional gamblers that populated movies of the 1930s. As is often the case, Babe is part of a team, with the members of the team out to fleece rich people who are new to town and don't recognize Babe and his friends as con artists, in this case using marked decks to win big at poker. Among Babe's friends are Charlie Vane (Grant Mitchell), and the moll of the group, Kay Everly (Dorothy Mackaill).

Unfortunately, Babe and Kay -- who was apparently Babe's girlfriend at one point -- have a falling out. Also, the police, in the form of Detective Collins, are on Babe's trail. So he decides to leave New York for a while until things can cool off and he can start up the con again. He arbitrarily stops in Glendale, which is where he meets Connie Randall (that's Carole Lombard). She works in the town library, and the two fall in love. Babe decides to flip a coin over whether or not to marry her, and the coin tells him to do it. So they get married and leave Glendale for the big city.

Babe starts hosting the poker games in his and Connie's apartment, but she wonders why she never meets any of the other men's wives, and what Babe does during the day. Fortunately for Babe one of the members of the team runs a brokerage and is willing to give Babe a desk to sit at during the day should Connie ever want to call him. But eventually, Connie is bound to figure out what's going on with the rigged poker games. And when she does, she's none too happy about it.

At this point, the movie takes an absurd plot twist involving Babe going to South America for three months with Charlie and another confidant, but without Connie, because reasons that make no sense. And Charlie decides he's not actually going to take the cruise, but do something that will absolutely leave you scratching your head.

Still, No Man of Her Own is certainly a competently-made movie, with capable acting jobs from everybody. It's just that it doesn't rise to anything particularly notable beyond the Gable/Lombard pairing. And it's terribly dated, as those plot twists are probably things audiences of the early 1930s would have been OK with, but today just don't work. Watch it, and go on to the next pre-Code.

There's another movie called No Man of Her Own, from 1950 starring Barbara Stanwyck and having a completely different plot, if you're looking for the Gable/Lombard movie on DVD.

No comments: