Cain and Mabel (1936): Lloyd Bacon’s Oscar-Nominated Screwball Comedy, Starring Clark Gable and Marion Davies

In Lloyd Bacon’s Cain and Mabel, Clark Gable, then at the prime of his popularity, co-stars with Marion Davies in a semi-successful screwball comedy.

Cain and Mabel
Caneandmabel.jpg

Our grade B- (** out of *****)

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 the idea, but, hoping that the publicity will aid their respective 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 a 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.”
The film was a commercial flop.  Gable, who was borrowed from MGM, got worse reviews than Davies, with some critics claiming he was simply miscast.
 
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.
 
Cast
Marion Davies as Mabel O’Dare
Clark Gable as Larry Cain
Allen Jenkins as Dodo
Roscoe Karns as Aloysius K. Reilly
Walter Catlett as Jake Sherman
Robert Paige as Ronny Cauldwell (credited as David Carlyle)
Hobart Cavanaugh as Milo, the Stage Manager
Ruth Donnelly as Aunt Mimi
Pert Kelton as Toddy Williams
William Collier, Sr. as Pat “Pop” Walters
Sammy White as singer in “Coney Island”
E.E. Clive as Charles “Chuck” Fendwick
Allen Pomeroy as Tom Reed, a Boxer
Robert Middlemass as Mr. George, Cafe Proprietor
Joseph Crehan as Reed’s Manager
Charles Teske as a Dancer 
Credits
 
Warner Brothers.
A Cosmopolitan Production supervised by Sam Bischoff.
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Directed by Lloyd Bacon.
Screenplay by Laird Doyle, based on a short story by H.C. Witwer.
Photography by George Barnes.
Music by Songs: Harry Warren (music); Al Dubin (lyrics)
Score: Bernhard Kaun, Heinz Roemheld
Edited by William Holmes.
Release date: October 19, 1936.
Running time: 90 minutes.