Wed 11 Jul 2012
NO MAN OF HER OWN. Paramount Pictures, 1932. Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Dorothy Mackaill, Grant Mitchell, Elizabeth Patterson, J. Farrell MacDonald, Paul Ellis. Director: Wesley Ruggles.
One big reason this pre-Code movie is worthy of note is that this was the first and only onscreen pairing of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, later one of the most famous of married couples in Hollywood. A good second reason, though — if that’s possible — is that No Man of Her Own a pre-Code movie; in fact, it may have been one of the tipping points that caused the Code to go into effect.
Clark Gable, sans mustache, plays a card shark and con man who fairly obviously makes a good living at it. But when the heat is on, he heads out of Manhattan in a hurry. Picking a destination at random, he ends up in the small upstate town of Glendale, NY. Being the ladies’ man that he is, and is he ever, Babe Stewart’s eyes falls almost immediately upon Connie Randall, Carol Lombard’s character, one of the town’s librarians.
It is lust at first sight. Connie is about to burst from boredom. Glendale is far too small for her. But she knows better than to be too easy, although Babe is awfully hard to resist.
The scene that takes place in the stacks in the back of the library is one of the more famous ones in early cinematic history.
But a later scene that takes place in a cabin up at the lake, in which Connie is seen clad only in bra and panties, is also well worth a second look. Add in a couple of shower scenes, albeit separately, and (in another vein) the scene following the one which ends with Babe saying, “See you in church,” and you have the beginning of a humdoozer of a movie.
Alas and alack, once the two are married, all there’s left to do is for Babe to reform, if Connie can accomplish it, and the last third of the movie limps to one dull thud of an ending. “Is that all there is?” you may ask yourself. But it’s the getting there that’s the attraction, and it’s why this movie is lot less likely to be forgotten than most of the others made in 1932.