Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Happy Holidays from Not This Time, Nayland Smith. I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, and is having a nice New Year's celebration, whether in's at a big party, with friends, or just on your own with a fun movie or snug pillow. Here's to another year, and may it be a good one...

March of the Wooden Soldiers/Babes in Toyland (1934)

In 1903, an opera called Babes in Toyland was released, to great acclaim. Just over 30 years later, Hollywood came a'knocking with an adaption, starring the comedy legends Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

In the magical place known as Toyland, trouble is brewing. Sinister old man Silas Barnaby is intent on marrying innocent Bo Peep, and will stop at nothing to get her, first trying to use her mother's mortgage over the family's shoe house as leverage. His plans are continuously thwarted however by the resourceful (if dopey and incredibly clumsy) Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee, who are intent on stopping the dastardly villain, and see that Bo Peep and her great love Tom Tom Piper are happily wed...

Babes in Toyland (also known as March of the Wooden Soldier) is a fantastic holiday treat, with lots of fairy tale entertainment. Despite ts relatively short length, the film manages to pack in plenty of material, from colourful characters from iconic stories, to sweet and thoroughly enjoyable scenarios, one after the other. The movie is always fresh, and never boring.

This film not only succeeds in its own right, but as a vehicle for its two comedy stars/its comedy duo. They never overshadow the fairy tale things, or vice versa. There's a great balance here.

The humour works very well together with the story, and all this comes to a grand culmination in the rip-roaring finale, which is truly crazy! Everything but the kitchen sink is thrown here, and it's spectacular!

The only weak link I found in the story was the ending-Or rather, the lack of one. The climax happens, then the movie just stops! We never see the happy couple again, Santa never reappears, We never see if the grumpy Toymaker gave Stan and Ollie their jobs back, etc. It's like the director just ran out of film stock and decided "Eh, you know what, the villain's dead, do we really need any more story than that?". Yes, yes you [bloody well] do!

The characters here are all a fun bunch. All are likeable and sweet, and all have a purpose. I like how not a single character feels wasted. This is best exemplified in the chase from the boogeyman-One might think it'd be pointless for Stan and Ollie to get involved, since we know Bo Peep and Tom Tom are gonna make it back to Toyland safely for the climax, but they end up aiding in such a way that they were truly necessary

Babes in Toyland looks absolutely [wonderful]! The set design is fantastic, with many fairy tale locations perfectly realised, with the greatest being the shoe where the Peep family live. No expense has been spared with the design of this film, and it always shows. It looks a little like The Cabinet of Dr. Caliari if it was a cheery Christmas musical!

The more fantastical characters range from adorable to a bit weird, such as the three little pigs, and the musical cat.

Next up are the costumes. To say they look cheap is perhaps a disservice. They look intentionally over the top, the kind of obvious costumes people wouldn't necessarily wear in real life, but look fantastic in fairy tales. While they may look at home in a stage play, they still look great, and like great fun to wear!

This isn't to say that nothing in the film looks cheap though. Some things do, and while I'm sure the filmmakers were aware of this, and playing into it for that stage play aesthetic, some parts are still amusing, such as the = Boogeymen.

The acting here is great. Stan and Ollie are hilarious leads, while Charlotte Henry and Felix Knight are sweet romantic partners, bringing some extra heart to the proceedings. As much love as they bring, Henry Brandon beings a devious amount of =. He's wonderfully evil as old Silas Barnaby. From his menacing tone of voice, to the way he moves, he always dominates whatever scene he's in, and towers over everyone else despite his hunched gait. Most impressively, Brandon (still credited here by his birth name of Kleinbach) was only 22 when this film was made! You'd never know it to look at him. That just makes his skill all the more phenomenal!

He   impressive the way he resembles the Bogeymen in action during the last act

The score to Babes in Toyland is very nice, with every scene having an appropriate and = track. I found the songs themselves to be a little disappointing though. None were bad, though the singing was either not clear enough for me in places, or overly operatic. One of them/The Castle in Spain number felt pretty superfluous too.

To finish, Babes in Toyland is a fantastic 1930s comedy outing, and a brilliant festive time to bed had. Whether you want a fun movie to watch for Christmas, or any time of the year, this is a perfect choice...

The 12 Days of Carole Lombard: Conclusion

One on the most famous actresses to have ever graced the silver screen, Carole Lombard started of =, and made her way up through the film industry at a steady pace. First she = as a dancer, then onto silent films, where she began to hone her comedy skills. Most of these were minor parts, but there were some starring roles here and here. By the end of the 1920s, she was beginning to be cast in early talkies, as a supporting lead to players like Robert Armstrong and William Boyd.

Lombard quickly rose to prominence with her gifted acting and = comedic skills, and soon nabbed the lead parts in many films. Soon she was the top-billed name at the front, towering over everyone else, either to the friendly congratulations or [pissed-off =] of her fellow cast members. She worked with just about everyone, from Bing Crosby, to Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, George Raft, and of course William Powell, her first husband and co-star of some of her most famous movies.

She was known for her fiery personality, and working well with her fellow actors. If she wasn't enjoying a film shoot so much, she'd play jokes, and if she didn't share much chemistry with her romantic lead, she'd pester them until they did.

Carole was on top of the world with her new = status, and while she occasionally dipped her toes into other genres, like straight drama or horror (to mixed success, with some lauding such efforts, while others being labelled the absolute worst of her career, by contemporary critics). This culminated in 1942s To Be or Not to Be  It was the last picture she made before her tragic death in a plane crash, in 1942. She was survived by her second husband Clark Gable, and left behind = . Her life was cut far too short, and one wonders/can't help but wonder what else she would've done had she not passed away at such an age. If she managed to do so much in such a short amount of time, we can freely imagine she'd have conquered the world!

Carole Lombard's legacy as a performer are her dozens of hilarious and romantic films. Some are better or worse than others, of course, but all are worth watching when she's in the driver's seat...

The 12 Days of Carole Lombard: The Silent Era

While the majority of her career was in the talkies, and certainly they're what she's most known for, Carole Lombard had quite the career in silent pictures. Mostly shorts, with a few full length ones to boot. Some are lost, but many remain, and for the last day of this = I'll be looking at a few...

The Campus Vamp

The Campus Vamp is a pretty funny college flick. It's not the most complex of things, with a plot simply concerning a boyfriend with a wandering eye for the seductive maneating blonde. The story is honestly not that well paced or written, feeling more like a backdrop for gags. It's far too thin, nothing really happens, and there are no consequences for anything. Just because it's only a 10 minute film, doesn't mean you don't need to try!

Where the film succeeds is in the dialogue. The humour here is often funny, and = enjoyable

There's a ton of characters here, but they're largely incidental

Most impressive about this for its time is the colour! There's a pretty (if occasionally overly yellow) stencil colouring, which gives a nice watercolour feel to the proceedings.

The Campus Vamp feels like it flies a little too close to the sun though. It gives us this wonderful colour, then it takes it away from us = minutes before the end! I naturally didn't mind the black and white before this, but to be given colour only to have it suddenly yanked away feels disorienting, and makes the ending, the most important part of the film, feel not as important as the cricket match.

This is hardly a perfect film, but the entertaining comedy helps it climb beyond being subpar.

Matchmaking Mamma

Matchmaking Mamma s a thoroughly enjoyable little picture. It's sweet, funny, and tells a simple but effective story, full of your typical romantic misunderstandings.

The plot concerns the McNitt family, with a domineering stepmother intent on marrying her daughter off to the handsome young Larry Lodge, and her husband Cornelius, whose sweet and innocent daughter Sally has just returned from a convent, and is looking for love. She quickly falls head over heels for Larry, and vice versa, and together the two weather through all sorts of misunderstandings, such as when he sees her reunion with her father and thinks it's a lover's reunion*, or when Sally's mother whispers cruel rumours into her ear.

*On one hand it's somewhat creepy that Larry mistakes a  father and daughter for a romantic couple, but Sally does not help this by kissing her dad on the mouth!

Running at a longer 20 minutes, and having a simple more streamlined plot than The Campus Vamp, Matchmaking Mamma is able to fully realise its plot, and is never short on anything happening. On the contrary, it's stuffed to the gills!

While the comedy here is for the most part quite innocent, though one scene is is jawdroppingly salacious! It's almost out-of-place, but I'm certainly not complaining! Anything to see a bit of 'that'/...*ahem*, that, from 1920s beauties!

The acting is all fine, from the romantic leads (Sally Eilers and Matty Kemp), while Daphne Pollard and Johnny Kemp are an amusing pair. Carole has a short but distinct role here, as the stepmother's daughter Phyllis. I actually wished the character appeared more, because the movie spends its whole first half talking about/mentioning her as if she's a main character, but we don't properly see her until nearly the end.

The film looks very nice. The country estate setting is great, and feels like a nice rural treat, giving the audience a fancy =. The colour sequences are good too. Thid handles colour transitions very well. We only get short bursts, and they don't feel out of place with the black and white sections.

The version I watched has a more recent score from the 80s, by copmoser Lee Erwin. It's a classical organ piece that feels right at home with the movie, and complements it perfectly.

Matchmaking Mamma is a funny and romantic short film. Cheesy even for the 1920s I'm sure, but when's that a bad thing?...

The Campus Carmen

The Campus Carmen tells of a girls dormitory's attempts at getting a new play up and running.

The characters are all a lively bunch, and just as impossible to tell apart, given the sheer amount of them. While they're = individually, they're still fun in numbers. It's fun seeing how the girls misbehave and fight like mortal enemies, yet all band together to make this stage play a reality, and a rip-roaring success

The Carmen stage play takes up the majority of the film, and it's amusing to watch when things go right, and when things go wrong. It's very much a roll-with-the-punches performance for these girls, who are playing to a public none the wiser that everything on stage is just about on its last legs, and think all the malfunctioning props, unwitting intruders, and uncooperative animals are all part of the show.

The ending however is incredibly abrupt, with no resolution for anything. We don't even get to see the end of the stage play! We just see the (quite frankly overlong) duel with the cow finally come to an end, then BAM, 'A Mack Sennett Comedy', get the hell out of the theatre.

The comedy here is quite good, from the pillow fight at the beginning, to how these =, hosting an all-girls rendition of Carmen, are so determined to stick by that that even the bull is a 'lady'!

Carole Lombard technically doesn't have a small role here n the sense that her part is just as big as everyone else's. There are a lot of actors here, with Daphne Pollard getting he lion's share of screentime, though Carole gets a fun swordfight!

The music here is very jaunty, and always makes you feel like humming along, and joining in on the fun.

Overall, The Campus Carmen has its issues, but it's a harmless enough film

Run Girl Run

Run Girl Run is a pretty amusing sports comedy, with a dash of romance sprinkled in. Thrown in is actually more apt, since it eats up quite a fair amount of screentime. The romance doesn't take itself the least bit seriously, but the ending is hilariously sweet, [with Carole winning the race to run into the arms of her beloved.]

The comedy here is pretty funny, although some of the gags left me a bit cold, since the plot was basically being interrupted dead in its tracks for them, and I was actually enjoying the plot! Thankfully it does eventually get back on track (figuratively and literally).

Both Lombard and costar Daphne Pollard get plenty of back-and-forth comedy setpieces, and these are all entertaining enough. It's not just them though, as supporting characters and even random ones all get their moments. Though some of the humour doesn't land as well, like a couple of jabs at the fat girl. I briefly thought she might get her own back at the end and win the race, but no.

Run Girl Run has quite a gaggle of girls! It's a very athletic movie, with pretty young women running, jumping, and vaulting all over the place. They're quite impressive, too! Clearly Mack Sennett wanted a reminder for his viewers that these girls weren't just pretty faces!

The film has a nice enough piano score, although it feels a bit ill-fitting during the track meet section. Pianos can do many things, but they cannot sound sporting.

Run Girl run could probably have done with some trimming in the editing room, or some expansion to give it more meat, but overall it's a fun movie. I think the plot could make for a nice full length movie too!

Monday, December 30, 2019

The 12 Days of Carole Lombard: Hands Across the Table (1935)

Regi Allen is a manicurist who's intent on finding herself a nice rich man to marry. After seeing what happened to her mother, she has no intention of falling in love, nor with scrounging for pennies until she dies. She confides these feelings with a new client and friend, disabled pilot Allen Macklyn, who sits back and wonders when she'll be proven wrong. Regi soon finds her 'target' in the form of Ted Drew III, a famous playboy from a prominent family. However, it's only after she's fallen in love that she realises he's just as broke as she is...

Hands Across the Table is a sweet romantic comedy with plenty of fun to it. The first of Carole Lombard's pairings with Fred MacMurray,

The story is an amusing enough one, with an interesting cast, lots of funny moments, and plenty of varied locations.

Regi is a likeable enough lead. Her plans aren't very nice, but even if you don't agree with them, hre motivation makes sense, and means she's not just a bitch. Ted meanwhile is a perfect mix. He's enough of a rogue to be charming, and always funny, but/and never overdoes it to the point of being obnoxious. His being a bit of a jokester/goofball is actually never a hindrance in the relationship, after that first game of apartment hopscotch

Something else I like is that the movie doesn't show Ted as a wizened man because of losing his money. Not that there's anything wrong with such a portrayal, as it's perfectly acceptable and worked wonders in pictures like My Man Godfrey, but it's always nice seeing something different, such as a poor rich man who' still just as [affluent] as he was before. There's plenty of comedy material there!

The two share lots of chemistry, and you really believe their feelings for each-other. My only complaint is that I wish there were more scenarios with this couple, as they spend the majority of their screentime in the film's midsection in Regi's apartment. All these scenes are good, but I was hoping for a bit more =.

There's a third act break-up in Hands Across the Table, as there always is, but it makes sense here since the couple were never really dating to being with. This whole part of the movie is as down as you'd expect, but never maudlin, and the lighting really effectively reflects the tone.

Regi's wheelchair-bound friend is a nice addition to the cast. For a while I thought the film might go in a love triangle direction, but it never really does. He's in love with Regi, but it's unreciprocated. On one hand, it's a shame that they don't get together, since they'd make a nice couple, and it'd be interesting seeing such a relationship in a 1930s picture. But on the other hand, it's a nice change seeing a man and woman in a 1930s film just being friends, as well as seeing a younger man mentoring a woman  It's nice showing that it isn't just/only older men who can be wise. Young men can too! They're not all interested in sex!...Most are, but not all!

Regi's other friends are ok, though don't make much of an impression, due to a pretty small amount of screentime. Lastly, there's Ted's fiancee Vivian Snowden. She too only has a small role, but is very cute! Thankfully the movie doesn't make her out to be a bitch just because the main character loves her groom-to-be. She comes across as nice and reasonable.

The acting in Hands Across the Table is all very good! Lombard and MacMurray are a great pair in their first outings, and while it reportedly took the two a while to get accustomed to each-other behind the scenes, something must've clicked before too long, otherwise we wouldn't have gotten four movies out of them!

Ralph Bellamy does well as the film's heart. Ruth Donnelly and Marie Prevost do alright in their roles, as does dopey funnyman Edward Gargan.

The most interesting thing about this movie to me is the idea of men getting manicures! Ha! Not that it's a bad idea, certainly. Men should take care of themselves more often, but do they? Never!

Hands Across the Table is another of the best Carole Lombard pictures. A real classic that I thoroughly recommend!

The 12 Days of Carole Lombard: We're Not Dressing (1934)

Heiress Doris Worthington is throwing a party on her private boat, trying to choose between two princes over which she'll marry, while secretly pining for a musical sailor. Due to a mishap, the boat ends up crash landing on a tropical island in the middle of nowhere, and the group have to make do with roughing it for a change. Doris is particularly bitter, and pissed off at the sailor, Stephen, for treating her like a brat, but the tides of love gradually come rolling in...

We're Not Dressing is a movie that pissed me off fairly quickly! It starts off ok enough, but it then devolves into a constant uninterrupted stream of crooning, and comedy gags with a pet bear. I found it to be pretty insufferable and exhausting! There's no sense of pacing as we go from song to song with no consideration of [tone]. 25 minutes in the plot finally gets started, as we land on the tropical island that makes up the rest of the film's location.

What follows is more of the same. A very thing plot. Little romance, and painful comic relief, punctuated by nonstop singing. Then as if I didn't already have enough to complain about, on come George and Gracie Burns onto the scene! Not that I dislike that comedy pair, nor did I feel they were necessarily bad here (though some scenes were certainly worse than others), but they =

The romance is where this really falls on its face! Some of the = are better than others, but one of the better ones is marred by Stephen being a sexist dick, too uncomfortable with marrying Doris because he can't tolerate being married to a woman who makes more money than he does (it at least made sense in True Confession!), while the = is just jawdropping! I stress that anyone who tries what Bing Crosby does in this movie is going to get 10 to 25 years in a maximum security prison!

The characters are overall an unlikeable bunch. Doris is a spoiled diva, with some good moments, and other annoying ones. She's also a bit too stubborn for her own good. The sailor Stephen is a bit inconsistent with how he's sometimes a lovestruck young sailor, and other times a frustrated 'domineering leader' figure.

Doris's friend Ethel is lots of fun, even if she doesn't get much to do. She makes every scene count, and is the most enjoyable part of the film!

The two princes don't do nearly as much as they  could have, and could easily have been excluded. Neither their princely statuses or attempts at courtship with Doris mean anything once the group is on the island, and it feels like their only purpose is to give Ray Milland and Jay Henry a decent paycheck.

The worst character by far is Uncle Hubert. From sticking rollerskates on poor bears to crashing the ship (presumably killing everyone on board, until we hear confirmation otherwise), he's absolutely loathsome, and I wanted to punch his smarmy mugging face every chance I got.

And lastly, the comedy husband and wife team are sometimes a hoot, other times just as annoying as everyone else, but I didn't mind their presence. While it is frustrating that they take away precious screentime from the main characters, I frankly hated the main characters, so more of that, please!

The songs here are an alright bunch, albeit eclectic, like this is a random revue show on the waves. What hinders the tunes is the bad pacing, with tiny gaps between each number, and no consideration for which song follows on after which. Bing Crosby is as fine a crooner as you'd expect, and everyone else does decently. Despite the presence of Ethel Merman, it takes almost halfway through the film before she's given the chance to sing! She's predictably great, though I wish she got more time.

A babyfaced Bing Crosby is intermittently charming, and sometimes obnoxious as Stephen the sailor. Carole Lombard meanwhile is alright. Ethel Merman is a load of fun, and Leon Errol is a pain in the neck. Ray Milland and Jay Henry do ok with what little they're given, and George and Gracie Burns are a mix of stern and adorable.

The movie looks quite good, and while some of the island scenes are clearly a set, they're a brilliantly romantic set! I wanna spend a vacation there!

Enticing title aside, We're Not Dressing was a rather painful viewing experience for me. It's certainly got its pluses, but none that'd make me recommend you watch the whole movie! Steer clear of this one...

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The 12 Days of Carole Lombard: The Princess Comes Across (1936)

Swedish princess Olga has embarked on a voyage across the sea to America, ready to begin a Hollywood film contract. Also onboard is musician King Mantell, who soon realises Olga is a fake-Really Wanda Nash, she's a small-town girl who's gone along with a con to realise her dreams.  Her secret might become the next front page news, however, as a murderer is on the boat, and only three people are under suspicion of the crime-Mantell, a wanted third party, and 'Princess Olga' herself...

The Princess Comes Across is an entertaining sea voyage picture, with enough romance, deception, and crime to keep you [entertained]. The mystery is neat, and the two leads likeable enough.

One of the problems I did have though was the amount of characters. There's Wanda and her 'adviser', Mantell and his friend, and then you've got the five detectives! This isn't even getting into the murderer! The fact that there's such a big cast makes the mystery rather redundant. Either you have a character list as long as my arm, or the killer is the only one they can be. That's not to say that everything ends up that obvious, but it was touch and go for a while.

Despite the overload of characters, the detectives are pretty fun, with the Russian and Japanese ones getting the most to chew on. The sleuths are a good addition to the plot, and make for an interesting =, though it is incredibly frustrating how they never make an effort to find/locate their main suspect Petrov, nor even notice that he's constantly spying on them. Pretty overtly too!

Naturally I thought the suspicious man lurking about everywhere couldn't be the killer, so I suspected either the Russian detective (by virtue of getting the most screentime out of all of them), and the Japanese one (since things were starting to get pretty dicey at this point). Thankfully the movie does put work into the reveal. You don't realise until it actually happens, but they have, trust me.

The Princess Comes Across has a pretty good climax, with a shocking reveal, a tense struggle, and a complete and total lack of Carole Lombard! I was a little disappointed that she plays no part at all in the final fight, but thankfully the movie doesn't end there. We get another 5 minutes of film, and a resolution with Wanda's royal deception, getting a good   (though the way she does it wasn't what I'd guessed).

The film gets plenty of opportunities for humour as well as intrigue, and is quite funny, with = dialogue like "I don't mind people stepping on my feet, but I do object to them lodging there".

Carole Lombard is great in The Princess Comes Across, chanelling Greta Garbo as she waltzes across the screen like an icy Swedish queen. She does a really good job alternating between her two roles, and her fake accent isn't even that bad (not that it needs to be realistic, since she's meant to be a fake).

Meanwhile, Fred MacMurray is a fun straight man. Also, I don't know if he could actually play the concertina or if this was just the magic of movies, but if he can, he does quite a good job! The lyrics to his important song near the end are a bit clumsy though.

The rest of the actors do well, with the standouts being Mischa Aur and Tetsu Komai as Inspectors Morevitch and Kawati.

Lastly, sea voyage movies live and die on whether their locations feel real or not. Luckily this always looks fine. While it was probably all filmed on a set, and the majority of scenes are conveniently indoors, we get enough outdoors scenes to be worth it.

The Princess Comes Across is a fun time all round, and makes one wish they could afford a sea voyage. Oh well, a man can dream. Or impersonate royalty. That works too...

The 12 Days of Carole Lombard: True Confession (1937)

Loving housewife Helen Bartlett is down in the dumps, as her lawyer husband Ken isn't finding much work, and money's becoming tight. Despite Ken's insistence that she not get a job (worried it'd reflect badly on them if people think he can't even support his wife properly), Helen attempts searching, finding an easy position with the lecherous Otto Krayler. His intentions quickly become clear, and Helen flees, returning to the house later to retrieve her fallen purse. However, lying dead on the floor from a gunshot wound is Krayler, and the police arrest Helen on suspicion of murder. No-one believes she's innocent, and she soon realises her only chance is to convince the jury she's guilty, but acted self defense. Now the unsuspecting Ken must take on the case of his life, and see justice done...

True Confession is a very funny film, and one of my favourites in the Carole Lombard canon! It was the height of her comedy career, and is still a hilarious watch all these years later.

The story here is a pretty crazy one, with the unlucky lead stuck in a seemingly unwinnable situation. You'd feel bad for her if she wasn't such a compulsive liar. She gets quite unlikeable at times, but never so much so that you wanna see her hang or anything. Ken meanwhile is nice enough, though spends most of the movie not in the know. His impassioned please in Helen's defense are = though.

Helen's best friend Daisy is spunky and cute, making a lively addition to the cast, as well as a good neutral party. Her = interactions with Charley are funny too.

The most distinctive character in True Confession is crazed/demented criminologist Charley Jasper. Introduced halfway in, he observes everything that's going on in an omniscient way, and you just know he's going to cause 'trouble' for the leads by proving Helen's innocence. While he barely interacts with the two main characters at all until the last act, this works fine, and he has other characters to bounce off of, such as the sarcastic bartender.

The only thing I wasn't sure about was the twist with his character in the last act. I suppose it makes sense, and god knows there weren't any other candidates, but I guess I hoped for something else. But then there's another twist, and that ends up being rendered totally pointless, [along with the film's whole central mystery].

A big problem I have with the story of True Confession is the complete lack of a murderer! The film spends so much time on the mock] trial that you could be forgiven for totally forgetting that someone killed =!

However, it seems as if the film paints itself into a corner, and can only do so much. The ending left me pretty cold towards Helen, and Ken doesn't exactly have much reason to stay, though of course you know he will. It just felt a bit unearned, like = had happened.

The humour in True Confession is consistently entertaining, with many great scenes, from Helen thinking of motives with the grumpy police inspector, to the courtroom re-enactment, and all of Charley's bar scenes. The film's conclusion is quite weird, ends on what I can only assume is a BDSM joke/innuendo!

The acting here is a high point. Lombard is  and is the only reason you don't hate the film's protagonist. Fred MacMurray is very straightlaced and serious, but nice enough, and you feel pretty bad for him. Una Merkel is a sweet presence, and John Barrymore is crazy as Charley Jasper. He's like no-one else in the cast, and is totally unpredictable. And lastly, Edgar Kennedy gets a decent role. He vanishes by  the last third, but he gets some great stuff in the earlier scenes.

True Confession is a classic of the screwball comedy genre, and if you're curious about Carole Lombard and want a good introduction, this is the way to go...