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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

She's Got the Fake News Blues.

Nothing Sacred (1937) on IMDb

Plot Overview

“THIS IS NEW YORK – Skyscraper Champion of the World … where Slickers and Know-It-Alls peddle gold bricks to each other … and where Truth, crushed to earth, rises again more phony than a glass eye …”

At a New York gala affair, newspaper editor Oliver Stone (Walter Connolly) of The Morning Star introduces a wealthy far eastern potentate “the Sultan of Marzipan” who's set to donate millions to build The Morning Star Multi­cultural Center in Manhattan. An artist's conception pictures it to an appreciative audience, showing an imposing but architecturally unsound building of zero utilitarian function and alien aesthetic form. The “sultan” turns out to be fraudulent, Ernest Jones (Troy Brown) a boot­black in rented costume, and the news­paper reporter who broke the story, Wally Cook (Fredric March), some­what of a lush.

There is no country of Marzipan that I'm aware of. Marzipan, instead, according to Webster is, “a confection of crushed almonds or almond paste, sugar, and egg whites that is often shaped into various forms.” The Morning Star's attempt at redemption entails a series of stories made of whole cloth: a patsy Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard) of Warsaw, Vermont who has been misdiagnosed as suffering from (incurable) radium poisoning and who will jump at any chance to escape her stifling small-town existence, her sugar daddy Wally with a newspaper expense account to show her around the Big Apple in her dying days and write it up, and the egg­headed Dr. Emil Eggel­hoffer (Sig Rumann) who keeps mum about his diagnostic error so he can travel to New York at the paper's expense.

As Hazel is enjoying her visit, the mayor gives her the keys to the city, the people there lionize her (“You're the bravest kid that ever lived”), the news­paper touts this “Belle of New York,” and the “governor declares a public holiday, Hazel Flagg Day.” Some real doctors complicate matters, how­ever, and her continuing good health, to say nothing of the twinge of conscience she feels, as well as the inevitable romantic feelings she and the news­paper man develop for each other. It's such a frazzled calamity that even the fire company manages to muster a truck.


During the course of the story, references are made to “the hand of God”, “the finger of God”, “Moses in the mountains”, and “the days of Judas Iscariot.” The name of the paper is also in the Bible. It's as if our society is peopled by the God-fearing, but they don't seem to act that way.

The Apocrypha is part of the Catholic Bible, and the Wisdom books of the Apocrypha are accepted by the Protestants for edification purposes though they be not included in the canon. Among them is Eccles­ias­ticus, also known as The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach. A portion seems applicable here: (Sirach 1:28) “Distrust not the fear of the Lord when thou art poor: and come not unto him with a double heart.” The doctor did not have a response consistent with the fear of the Lord when his child­hood essay on “We are the sixth grade” did not win any of the major prizes from The Morning Star. His consolation prize was a pittance. Consequently, he felt justified taking advantage of the paper's offer now, because they owed him. He was of a double heart feeling they owed him but knowing he was taking advantage.

(Sirach 1:29) “Be not an hypocrite in the sight of men, and take good heed what thou speakest.” Wally was in the eyes of the public a hypocritic reporter publishing fake news stories one after another. He did not “take good heed what” he wrote. He should have done some fact checking first.

(Sirach 1:30) “Exalt not thyself, lest thou fall, and bring dishonour upon thy soul, and so God discover thy secrets, and cast thee down in the midst of the congregation, because thou camest not in truth to the fear of the Lord, but thy heart is full of deceit.” Hazel is going to have a hard time living it down, having become a sensation through false pretenses.

Production Values

This screwball comedy “” (1937) was directed by William A. Wellman. Ben Hecht wrote the screen­play, suggested by a story of James H. Street. It stars Carole Lombard, Fredric March, and Charles Winninger. Carole Lombard was a beauty and did quite good acting in this demanding satire; she was a natural. Frederick March is a fine actor but more suited for serious parts; here he is miscast in a free-for-all comedy. Supporting cast includes Frank Fay, Margaret Hamilton, Walter Connolly and Sig Rumann. Hattie MacDaniel shows up as the wife of the “Sultan.” Raymond Scott and His Quintet performed novelty swing music.

This movie came out before our current rating system was in force, but in the days of television, it got rated, United States: TVPG. Carole Lombard's voice is hard to make out at times; she speaks fast and mumbles. This movie was an early Technicolor film, but some of the coloration seems to have washed out over time. Disney has made a restoration, but they haven't released it as of Jan., 2018—are they planning a remake? “Nothing Sacred” has been remade in whole or part many times but none can touch this original 1937 screwball comedy. It's been done as a musical, “Hazel Flagg ”, and remade as “Living it Up” with Jerry Lewis. Most recently the plot was reworked into “Last Holiday.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

The writers, cast, and crew of “Nothing Sacred” sure treated it all in accordance with the movie's title. This is the kind of movie best enjoyed if one doesn't take it personally or too seriously. I enjoyed it even though its humor seemed directed at an audience from another time. I'm easy to please. It's an old movie and one should set his expectations accordingly.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action scenes. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Special effects: Well done special effects. Suspense: Lots of suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Apocryphal scripture taken from The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English. U.S.A.: Hendrick­son Pub. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. Print, WEB (for verse numbering).

Webster's Ninth New College Dictionary. Spring­field, Massa­chusetts, Merriam-Webster, 1983. Print.