4 April 2005 | Snow Leopard
Very Sharp-Edged, Sweeping Satirical Comedy
The writers, crew, and cast of "Nothing Sacred" really do treat everything in accordance with the movie's title. No aspect of human society is immune from the sweeping satire. The comedy is fast-paced and often very sharp-edged, and almost any viewer will find it hitting close to home at one time or another, so it is best not to take it too personally. Yet this is not a mean-spirited feature, in that it treats everyone the same way, and it shows sympathy even for the very characters whose faults it so ruthlessly exposes.
Frederic March, as a hardened newsman, and Carole Lombard, as an appealing woman who is nevertheless living a lie, make a good combination. They are both likable enough to make you care about them even when they are at their most opportunistic. The supporting cast, likewise, features several good performances, with the likes of Walter Connolly and Sig Rumann getting some fine moments of their own. William Wellman shows a good feel for the material, getting good mileage out of the story without pushing it too far.
This kind of feature is somewhat unusual even among movies of its genre. Most satires choose their targets, ridicule them, and put the opposing forces in a positive light. But "Nothing Sacred" takes no sides between the small town and the big city, between the powerful and the powerless, or between one character and another. It points out the human flaws to be found in almost all of us.
This is the kind of movie that can only be enjoyed if you don't take it personally or too seriously, because in that case the message will be misunderstood. Rather than targeting any one kind of person, it intends to make some more general points about human nature that, while sometimes rather pointed, are encased in enough humor to make them palatable.