Cain and Mabel (1936)

In Lloyd Bacon “Cain and Mabel,” Clark Gable, then at the prime of his popularity, co-stars with Marion Davies for the second time in a semi-successful screwball comedy.  Their first teaming, in “Polly at the Circus” was even less successful

The story goes this way: For publicity purposes (really a stunt), musical comedy star Mabel O’Dare (Davies) is talked into having a wild romance with prizefighter Larry Cain (Gable), which will be headlined in all the papers.  Initially, both the fighter and the singer are against, but, hoping that the publicity will aid their careers, they agree.

Unfortunately, Mabel’s show does not catch on, and Cain, though a champion, does not cash in either.  Up until now, the goal in teaming up has been financial; in fact, they begin by hating each other.

Their constantly being pushed together by the papers and their agents leads to a series of escapades that bring them into a more intimate contact.  Finally, and predictably, they fall in love and plan secret elopement. But, ironically, they have to be separated, temporarily, for more publicity.

Bobby Connolly was nominated for the Dance Direction Oscar for choreographing the production number, “1000 Love Song.”

Oscar Nominations: 1

Dance Direction: Bobby Connolly

Oscar Context:

The winner was Seymour Felix for choreographing the number “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody,”

from the musical “The Great Ziegfeld,” which won Best Picture.


Running time: 89 Minutes.

Directed by Lloyd Bacon

Released: September 26, 1936.


Marion Davies

Clark Gable

Allen Jenkins

Roscoe Karns

Walter Catlett

David Carlyle

Hobart Cavanaugh

Ruth Donnelly

Pert Kelton

William Collier, Sr.

Sammy White

E.E. Clive

Allen Pomeroy

Robert Middlemass

Joseph Crehan

Eily Malyon


Warner Brothers.

A Cosmopolitan Production supervised by Sam Bischoff.

Directed by Lloyd Bacon.

Screenplay by Laird Doyle, based on a short story b y H.C. Witwer.

Photography by George Barnes.

Edited by William Holmes.

Release date: October 19, 1936.

Running time: 90 minutes.

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