William A. Wellman’s risqué 1937 romantic comedy Nothing Sacred stars Fredric March as Wally Cook, a newspaper reporter for a New York City tabloid. “I’ll tell you briefly what I think of that kind of newspaper man. The hand of God, reaching down into the mire, couldn’t elevate one of them to the depths of degradation!” As the movie begins, Wally needs an exclusive on a top-notch human interest story to restore his reputation as a journalist. He was recently duped and reported on a story that turned out to be a hoax. When he learns that Hazel Flagg of Warsaw VT, played by Carole Lombard, is dying of radium poisoning from a workplace accident, he believes he found the cure to his ailing career. Walter Connolly is great as Wally’s boss, Oliver Stone – No, not that Oliver Stone! Noted character actor, Charles WInninger is excellent as Hazel’s Dr. Downer also. And Margaret Hamilton, The Wicked Witch of the West, makes a cameo as the Drugstore Lady. Katinka – The Girl Who Saved Holland (Jinx Falkenburg), flips the 4th wall the bird; very racy for 1937. There are several surprisingly bawdy scenes in the movie. They’re very good. I should know: [slowly & deeply for effect] I watched every one of them 10 times!
Although Nothing Sacred wasn’t nominated for any Academy Awards, Wellman won an Oscar, March won 2, Lombard was nominated for one, and adapted screenplay writer Ben Hecht won 2; plus, Magnificent Max Steiner and his 3 Oscars & 21 additional nominations contributes some uncredited music to the picture.
Nothing Sacred was filmed in Technicolor. Although Carole Lombard made 8 more movies before she died tragically in an airplane crash 5 years later at just 33 years of age, this was her only color motion picture. It pre-dates 1939’sThe Wizard of Oz (often mistaken as the first color live action feature) and Gone With the Wind, released later that year, by 2 years. Color was actually introduced to moving pictures much earlier. In 1894, some guy named Thomas Edison hand-tinted his short Annabelle’s Butterfly Dance. And in 1922, the very first two-color (red & green) feature film, The Toll of the Sea, was released. With the invention of the three-color camera in 1932 came true color by Technicolor & the onset of a new era in movie making. The company is still very involved in both processing & distribution end of movies & DVD’s. Walt Disney’s animated Silly Symphony, Flowers and Trees, was the first. And then 2 years later, [sing] La Cucaracha became the first full color live-action short. The following year, 1935, Rouben Mamoulian’s Becky Sharp became the first Technicolor live-action feature. Technicolor expanded to musicals & the outdoor filming in 1936 with Dancing Pirate and Henry Hathaway’s The Trail of the Lonesome Pine respectively. By 1937, big stars & directors like Fredric March, Carole Lombard & William A. Wellman (pictured alongside Winninger, March & Lombard) had made the transition to Technicolor.
I’ve linked William A. Wellman’s pioneering comedy, Nothing Sacred, below for your three-color pleasure. Please pardon the ad in the beginning but YouTubes embed nicely into WordPress & this was the best YouTube version I could find. 3 Stars.