25 February 2008 | Michael_Elliott
Gable and Harlow
Hold Your Man (1933)
*** (out of 4)
MGM tearjerker has a couple con artists (Jean Harlow, Clark Gable) falling in love but after an accidental murder they're separated. Gable takes off and Harlow ends up in a reform school where she learns she's pregnant but fears that she'll never see her man again. I really wasn't sure where this thing was going as it blends a strange mix of comedy with drama but in the end I found it quite touching. The first half plays as a comedy and gets a lot of laughs including a hilarious scene where Gable tries hiding from the police by getting in a tub and putting soap all over himself. There are plenty of pre-code moments mixed in with most of them coming from Harlow showing off various limbs. Gable is as good as always but it's Harlow who really steals the show. This is the first time I've seen her take on a dramatic role and she nails it perfectly. She's given several emotional scenes and she comes off very well. The ending is very dramatic and contains a beautiful message that comes across very well. It's also worth noting that there's a black preacher in the film and I think this is the nicest role I've seen a black actor play in this era of Hollywood. The stereotypes we normally see in this type of film are thrown out the window and this must have been one of the earliest films to show a black man in such a nice form.