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Cain and Mabel
     

Cain and Mabel

Director: Lloyd Bacon,

Cast: Lloyd Bacon, Marion Davies, Clark Gable, Allen Jenkins

 
Previously (and uncomfortably) co-starred in Polly at the Circus, Marion Davies and Clark Gable were reteamed in Cain and Mabel, reportedly on the demand of Davies' "sponsor" William Randolph Hearst. The story concerns a hash slinger-turned-Broadway-star named Mabel O'Dare (Davies, endearingly miscast) whose career is in the hands of hotshot publicist

Overview

Previously (and uncomfortably) co-starred in Polly at the Circus, Marion Davies and Clark Gable were reteamed in Cain and Mabel, reportedly on the demand of Davies' "sponsor" William Randolph Hearst. The story concerns a hash slinger-turned-Broadway-star named Mabel O'Dare (Davies, endearingly miscast) whose career is in the hands of hotshot publicist Reilly (Roscoe Karns). To stir up interest in Mabel's latest musical show, Karns cooks up a phony romance between his client and boxing champ Larry Cain (Gable) -- even though Mabel and Cain have already developed a healthy dislike for one another. Unfortunately, Karns' brainstorm turns out to be a drizzle: Mabel's show is a flop, and Cain begins losing in the ring. By the time Cain and Mabel have fallen in love for real, both parties have had to virtually abandon their careers as proof that it is for real. Most of the comedy setpieces in the film fall flat, save for a terrific bit near the end: Told that "The show must go on!," a disconsolate Mabel asks "Why?" -- and no one can come up with a good answer! This is the film in which a studio stagehand allegedly pops up during one of the production numbers, but don't kill yourself looking for him. PS: The handsome actor billed as David Carlyle later enjoyed a substantial screen career as Robert Paige.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
A member of the studio crew was reportedly visible in the background of one of the gigantic musical numbers in this vanity production, which threatened to completely capsize the waning career of Marion Davies. The unfortunate crew member is not detectable in surviving prints but a gaffe like that would merely prove a minor distraction in a film that had more than its share of embarrassments, chief among them Miss Davies' obvious lack of terpsichorean skills. Marion played a waitress turned Broadway dancing star whose show is suffering from a lack of glamour. Enter fast-talking publicity maven Roscoe Karns, who conjures up a non-existent romance between Miss Davies and prize-fighter Clark Gable (sans trademark mustache). Neither relishes each other's company but both the show and Gable's pugilistic prowess benefit from the association. But when the two fall in love for real and begin discussing retirement, their handlers become worried lest they lose their meal-tickets. Suffice it to say, this less than taxing conundrum is solved to everyone's satisfaction, and at ringside at that. Marion Davies handled the comedy as the old pro she was but in the end, Cain and Mabel proved a major humiliation. Apparently, Davies' benefactor, newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, demanded once again to see his beloved in virginal white organdy and bouffant sleeves but by 1936, Davies was a bit long in the tooth to play the naive ingenue. She was also no Ruby Keeler, but Laird Doyle's screenplay nevertheless centered on a girl, who at the drop of a hat takes over from a temperamental star (Pert Kelton) and, like Keeler's Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street (1933), vows them with her verve and artistry. The result, amusingly inept as it may appear today, must have been devastating to Davies' self-esteem. Here she was, almost stationary in the midst of Bobby Connolly's over-produced musical numbers while such professionals as Sammy White and David Carlyle (later known as Robert Paige) try their level best to cover the lady's inadequacies. White is wonderfully nimble in a Coney Island number and Carlyle does justice to Harry Warren and Al Dubin's great songs, but they cannot hide the fact that Miss Davies' was completely out of her league. The distraction of a wayward scenery worker may in fact have been a blessing in disguise, if only he were visible! In the end, Cain and Mabel proved a notorious flop and Marion Davies wisely chose to retire when Hearst began experiencing financial difficulties in 1937.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2009
UPC:
0883316127056
Original Release:
1936
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Wide Screen]
Time:
1:29:00
Sales rank:
14,928

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Marion Davies Mabel O'Dare
Clark Gable Larry Cain
Allen Jenkins Dodo
Guy Kibbee Actor
Roscoe Karns Reilly
Walter Catlett Jake Sherman
Robert Paige Ronny Cauldwell
David Carlyle Ronny Cauldwell
Ruth Donnelly Aunt Mimi
Pert Kelton Toddy
William Collier Pop Walters
Sammy White Specialty
E.E. Clive Charles Fendwick
Allen Pomeroy Tom Reed
Robert Middlemass Cafe Proprietor
Joseph Crehan Reed's Manager
Eily Malyon The Old Maid
Hobart Cavanaugh Milo
Jane Wyman Bit Part

Technical Credits
Lloyd Bacon Director
George Barnes Cinematographer
Sam Bischoff Producer
Bobby Connolly Choreography
Laird Doyle Screenwriter
Alexis Dubin Score Composer,Songwriter
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert M. Haas Art Director
William Holmes Editor
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Harry Warren Score Composer,Songwriter

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