I assume that everyone knows that It Happened One Night is considered to be the first Screwball made. Only, no one ever mentions this little gem, which was released only a few months later and cemented Carole Lombard as the dizzy Queen of Screwballs. I think it's the better movie of the two.
Miss Lombard plays Mildred Plotka, a shop girl who wants to be an actress and has won the lead role in Oscar Jaffe's latest melodrama.
This is the great genius impresario of Broadway, superbly played by John Barrymore. It takes a truly great actor to play an overacting ham while still being funny.
These are Mr. Jaffe's two long-suffering flunkies Owen and Oliver.
The play is naturally a smash and "Lily Garland" is Broadway's newest star.
There are a couple of ways in which you can tell that Howard Hawks made this as a Pre-Code picture. First, if Lily were to take a deep breath in that dress...
Second, the shot of pretty Thirties lingerie.
Check out the garish bed that's shaped like a boat and the silver lame gown and she's not wearing a girdle!
Years later, after a string of hit plays, Lily is upset that Oscar is working her like a dog and wont let her go out to nightclubs or see her mother. The third way this is Pre-Code is that Oscar and Lily are obviously living together without any talk of marriage.
Oscar's paranoia leads him to do a very silly thing. He has Lily followed and her phone tapped.
Typical mid-Thirties secretary look, but I love the pince-nez attached by a shoulder chain.
Well, Lily finds out that her phone is tapped, beats up the detective and takes the first train to Hollywood and Oscar loses his genius.
Two years later and Oscar is broke after a string of flops and Owen and Oscar are trying to think of a way to sneak him out of Chicago without being arrested by his creators.
Meanwhile, Lily Garland is the biggest thing since sliced bread.
Eventually, Oscar thinks of a way to sneak onto the Twentieth Century Limited.
Also on the train is a recently escaped religious nutbar, who's running around putting stickers on everything. However, he is mostly harmless.
Hey, looks who's also getting on the train and looks every inch the part of the Big Movie Star.
While Oscar is quietly brooding in the corner, some strange bearded groupies appear at his cabin door.
Turns out they're on tour in the Passion Play.
Finally, the genius returns to Oscar. He'll put on the Passion play and if he can sign Lily as the star, he can raise a million in 20 minutes! Quick Oliver, order me two dozen camels to put on stage.
This scene with Oscar and Lily in her Chinoise pyjamas is just a gas!
Look at who Oliver found in the lounge to be the show's backer.
When the truth is discovered, all Hell breaks loose and Oscar starts playing with a loaded gun.
This is a clip of the Oscar loses his genius scene.