Hold Your Man (1933)

“I got two rules when I go out visiting: keep away from couches and stay on your feet.”

HYM Poster

Synopsis:
Two con-artists (Clark Gable and Jean Harlow) fall in love, but are separated when pregnant Ruby (Harlow) takes the rap for Eddie (Gable) and is sent to a reform school.

Genres:

Review:
After the success of their pairing in Red Dust (1932), Jean Harlow and Clark Gable teamed up once again for this financially successful but ultimately disappointing tale of doomed con-artists in love. The story — scripted by Anita Loos — starts off with plenty of zingy potential (Harlow and Gable have great chemistry together, naturally), but — per the directive of Louis B. Mayer, who wanted Ruby to “pay for her sins” — eventually devolves into sappy melodrama. As noted in David Boxwell’s analysis of the film for Senses of Cinema, it represents “a fascinating mix of racy pre-Code cynicism and post-Code sentimentality and piety”. Hold Your Man is worth a look for its first half, but ultimately not must-see viewing.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Harlow and Gable’s initial “meet cute” in the bathtub
    Hold Your Man Meet Cute

Must See?
No, though Harlow and/or Gable fans will likely be curious to check it out.

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One Response to “Hold Your Man (1933)”

  1. Not a must. First viewing.

    Forgotten film that doesn’t need to be remembered for any real reason. So-so script isn’t worthy of the leading stars’ power. (Why is Harlow sent to jail at all, anyway? Can you be an accessory to a murder if the victim died as a result of your boyfriend’s punch?)

    The cast member who comes off best is Stuart Erwin, as Harlow’s most promising, soft-spoken suitor. He’s rather believable with the little he’s given.

    Speaking of that bathtub scene… Yes, it occurs when Gable and Harlow meet – he hides out from the police in her bathroom but they find him there, taking a soapy bath. When Gable talks to them (and he’s passing himself off as Harlow’s husband), his voice is effeminate – like he’s Tony Curtis playing Josephine in ‘Some Like It Hot’! Very weird.

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