Carole Lombard is at the top of her game in this satire today’s uptight PC police would probably hate. That’s just another reason to see this one. It’s almost impossible to believe she wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar, let alone win one for this terrific performance.
The New York Morning Star has egg on its face thanks to reporter Wally Cook’s (Fredric March) exclusive. The paper is holding a banquet for a Sultan who says he’ll donate ten dollars for every one for a huge culture center. He’s exposed as a Harlem bootblack named Ernest pulling a scam. Editor Oliver Stone puts Cook at the Obituaries desk.
Wally talks Oliver into sending him to Warsaw, Vermont where Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard) is dying of radium poisoning from a watch made by the town’s biggest employer.She’s got six months. Wally wants to make it a huge story. When he gets to the town everyone freezes him out and all they can say is “Yep” and “Nope.” No one tells him where he can find Hazel. Margaret Hamilton has a bit as a drug store owner. Billy Barty has a quick cameo as a little boy who bites Wally on the leg.
Hazel visits her doctor Enoch Downer who tells her he was wrong and she’s not dying. She’s upset because she thought she would go to New York before expiring. She feels she’ll be stuck in Vermont forever. Wally runs across her coming out of the doctor’s office. He offers her a trip to New York and huge publicity. She doesn’t say anything about not dying. Enoch accompanies her to New York with Wally. He keeps quiet too.
She’s given all kinds of honors including a ticker tape parade and a key to the city. She’s even a guest of honor at Madison Square Garden for a wrestling card and given a solemn ten bell toll, the same thing they give in tribute to wrestlers that have died.
She’s taken to a nightclub where it’s Hazel Flagg night. The MC is Frank Fay and the music is from the Raymond Scott Quintette. On stage she collapses and everyone is concerned. They don’t know that she passed out because she’s drunk.
She finds herself falling for Wally. She tells Enoch she wants to fake a suicide to stop it all. She’ll jump in the river and Enoch will be standing by in a rowboat to take her away. As she’s leaving her hotel room, Ernest is in the hall with a flower box. Inside the room he calls his wife and says he’s getting her flowers wholesale. What he’s doing is stealing them from Hazel’s room. Then he comes across the suicide note.
Wally rushes down to the waterfront to save her and he manages to push her in. She has to rescue him because he can’t swim. The next day he tells her he’s going to see the Governor to arrange a special day for her in observance of her funeral. He’s also arranged for a top Viennese doctor who is the world’s greatest specialist on radium poisoning to examine her. He tells her it’s a million to one hope but maybe he can cure her.
After the exam the doctor and his colleagues go to see Oliver and tell him she’s okay and doesn’t have radium poisoning. What is Wally going to do now?
This movie is a lot of fun and anyone who likes comedy should put this on their must see list. It was remade in 1954 with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Jerry is Homer Flagg.