Copyright 17 December 1934 by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Corporation. New York opening at the Capitol: 20 December 1934. U.S. release: 25 September 1934. Australian release: 15 May 1935. 84 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: Jeff Williams (Clark Gable) returns from abroad just in time to act as Best Man at the wedding of his friends, Mary Clay (Joan Crawford) and Dill Todd (Robert Montgomery). To everyone's surprise, Dill leaves Mary at the altar. He marries his mistress, Connie (Frances Drake) instead. As it happens, Jeff has always loved Mary himself. Mary, however, has never taken Jeff seriously. Her heart has always been set on Dill. Even his marriage to Connie does not deter her. Dill asks Connie for a divorce and makes a fresh proposal to Mary. She accepts him. This development leaves Jeff out in the cold. He tries to convince Mary she is making a mistake.
NOTES: The stage play opened on Broadway at the Times Square on 1st March 1933, and ran 101 performances. This was insufficient to put the play into the black. Its star and principal backer, Tallulah Bankhead, ended up with a $40,000 loss. The play was directed by Thomas Mitchell (yes, our Thomas Mitchell). Supporting Miss Bankhead in the cast were Ilka Chase, Barbara O'Neil, Anderson Lawler, Cora Witherspoon, Harlan Briggs, Donald MacDonald, Roger Sterns, Nancy Ryan and Millicent Hanley.
The film went before the cameras on 25th September 1934, winding up on 22md October 1934.
COMMENT: The play didn't exactly pull in the crowds on Broadway, so it seems to have been a good idea to assign the screenplay to witty Joe Mankiewicz. Unfortunately, Mankiewicz is not equal to the task. True, he begins promisingly enough with our returning hero, Gable, loading Butterworth down with balloons and peanuts; but Mankiewicz's notion of humor degenerates later on into a lot of irritating gibberish from Butterworth and a frilly nightgown for Montgomery.
Director Van Dyke does his level best to keep the movie moving, but eventually Mankiewicz's tired and tiresome script defeats him.
Forsaking All Others actually ends up as little more than an Adrian fashion show led by exquisitely photographed Joan Crawford. Fortunately, Joan can do no wrong in my book, even in an inferior vehicle like Forsaking All Others.
OTHER VIEWS: Here's an old-fashioned new-fashioned play. Or is it the other way around? About fifty years ago, you could say with justification they don't make movies like this any more. But not to-day! Steamy, risqué Forsaking All Others is firmly back in fashion, a favorite on local TV. I'll take bets, however, that no-one is game to revive the original stage play by Frank Morgan Cavett and Edward Barry Roberts. For a starter, we have no-one in the Tallulah Bankhead class to play the main role. Or do we?