“I got two rules when I go out visiting: keep away from couches and stay on your feet.”
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.
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
No, though Harlow and/or Gable fans will likely be curious to check it out.