Nothing Sacred review

“Nothing Sacred” – A Witty and Irreverent Satire on Celebrity Culture

Nothing Sacred review

In “Nothing Sacred,” director William A. Wellman delivers a sly and entertaining satire that takes aim at the absurdities of celebrity culture. This 1937 screwball comedy, with a screenplay by Ben Hecht, stars Carole Lombard and Fredric March in a whirlwind of wit, charm, and biting humor.

At its core, “Nothing Sacred” is a playful critique of media sensationalism and the cult of celebrity. Carole Lombard shines as Hazel Flagg, a small-town woman wrongly diagnosed with a fatal condition, who becomes an overnight sensation when the New York Morning Star sends her to the big city to cover her “dying days.” Lombard’s performance is an exquisite blend of sass and vulnerability, capturing the essence of Hazel’s whirlwind journey from an ordinary girl to the center of a media circus.

Fredric March, on the other hand, plays Wally Cook, the jaded and opportunistic journalist responsible for the overblown coverage of Hazel’s supposed tragic fate. March’s impeccable comedic timing and sharp banter with Lombard make for a dynamic onscreen pairing that elevates the film’s humor to new heights.

Hecht’s razor-sharp script spares no one in its satirical crossfire, targeting the media, the public’s insatiable appetite for scandal, and the celebrities themselves. The film’s commentary on the media’s tendency to exploit human suffering for profit remains as relevant today as it was back in the 1930s.

Visually, “Nothing Sacred” is a treat for the eyes. Wellman’s direction captures the fast-paced energy of New York City while making clever use of Technicolor to heighten the film’s satire. The vivid hues and bold colors add a touch of surrealism to the story, underscoring the absurdity of Hazel’s newfound celebrity status.

The film’s sharp wit is complemented by a delightful score composed by Oscar Levant, which enhances the comedic moments and lends a delightful rhythm to the narrative.

While “Nothing Sacred” is undoubtedly a comedic gem, it is not without its flaws. Some viewers may find the film’s approach to disability and illness dated and insensitive, reflecting the attitudes of its time. However, it is important to view “Nothing Sacred” through the lens of the era in which it was made and acknowledge the strides that have been made in portraying disability and illness in a more thoughtful and respectful manner in contemporary cinema.

“Nothing Sacred” is a deliciously irreverent satire that takes a sharp jab at the cult of celebrity and media sensationalism. Lombard and March’s brilliant performances, combined with Hecht’s witty script, make this screwball comedy a timeless classic worth revisiting. Although some aspects may feel dated to modern audiences, the film’s clever humor and biting commentary ensure its place as a significant piece of cinema history.

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