Cain And Mabel

  • 1936
  • 1 HR 29 MIN
  • NR
  • Comedy, Musical

The music is better than the acting in CAIN AND MABEL. In fact, this film was one of the biggest disasters of 1936, despite the efforts of Clark Gable and a bunch of superior second bananas, as well as some of the best music Harry Warren and Al Dubin ever wrote. Musical comedy star Marion Davies and heavyweight boxer Gable both need something to help their...read more

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The music is better than the acting in CAIN AND MABEL. In fact, this film was one of the biggest disasters of 1936, despite the efforts of Clark Gable and a bunch of superior second bananas, as well as some of the best music Harry Warren and Al Dubin ever wrote. Musical comedy star Marion

Davies and heavyweight boxer Gable both need something to help their careers. Roscoe Karns concocts a publicity-generating romance, but that takes second place to reality when the two realize they really are in love. Along the way, there are spectacular production numbers, singing, dancing,

boxing, and yawns. Davies, whose career was already dim by this time, was in her late 30s and a bit long in the tooth to play a naive type, and her performance can only be described as inept, as in the sequence featuring an enormous white pipe organ, in which Davies does nothing while scores of

actors perform their number all around her. The inadvertent humor of the scene is heightened if one looks very closely. A studio workman wandered across the stage at the height of the number and his presence was only discovered in the editing room. It was impossible to totally cut the nameless

grip and the cost of re-takes would have been prohibitive, so the quick shot of the anonymous workman stayed in all prints. Bobby Connolly earned an Oscar nomination for his choreography of the number. Publisher William Randolph Hearst, Davies' lover, prevailed on pal Jack Warner to hire Gable

away from MGM as her costar. Gable was forced to remove his mustache because director Lloyd Bacon thought a boxer should be clean-shaven. Hearst was angry at MGM for having rejected Davies for two films, THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET and MARIE ANTOINETTE; producer Irving Thalberg cast his wife,

Norma Shearer, in the coveted role on both occasions.

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