Forsaking All Others (1934)
Release Date: December 23, 1934
Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke
Available on DVD through The Warner Brothers Archive Collection
Clark is Jeffrey Williams, who still harbors a childhood crush on Mary Clay (Crawford). Upon returning from a two year jaunt in Spain, he has plans to finally propose to her until he learns that she is set to marry his best friend, Dillon “Dill” Todd (Montgomery), the next day. He swallows his feelings and agrees to give the bride away. Dill gets an unexpected visit from an old flame, Connie Barnes (Francis Drake), and ends up running off to marry her, sending Mary a telegram explaining and apologizing. Heartbroken, Mary retreats to a cabin to nurse her wounds. She decides to come back to town with encouragement from Jeff and after receiving an invitation from Connie to attend her and Dill’s dinner party. At the party, Dill realizes he is still in love with Mary and soon after they begin seeing each other again, behind Connie’s back. Jeff is Mary’s voice of reason, trying to tell her that Dill will only break her heart again and she is leaving herself vulnerable, all the while hiding his feelings.
The script is witty and snappy thanks to Joseph Mankiewicz and the superb supporting cast lends the most comic relief: Billie Burke, Charles Butterworth and newcomer Rosalind Russell.
Hollywood magazine, February 1935:
**** This is the first time W.S. Van Dyke has ever directed Joan Crawford and what a personality his direction makes of her! Clark Gable also responds to the magic of Van Dyke’s direction with one of his finest films.
Joan Crawford is the girl and Clark Gable the boy who have know each other from childhood. Joan thinks she loves another boy (Robert Montgomery) but he leaves her flat and marries another girl. She then finds that it has really been Clark whom she loved. Charles Butterworth is great and Frances Drake and Billie Burke excellent. This film has everything, fine performance, grand comedy and dialogue.
Photoplay magazine, 1935:
That Van Dyke man is a wizard. He has directed a salubrious entertainment and made Joan Crawford into a human being, with Clark Gable, Robert Montgomery and Charles Butterworth at their best. The story is so simple you wonder how they had the nerve to make a picture of it–again–but it leaves you dizzy with laughter and braced like a champagne cocktail.
Surefire–Everyone will like it
From the somewhat lugubrious plot of girl jilted on her wedding day, and believing that her heart is broken, W.S. Van Dyke has extracted some of the purest comedy situations seen on the screen in many a day! To be sure, he is aided by the puckish, curiously antic dialogue and by the fact that the girl, the jilter, and the Other Man are played by Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Robert Montgomery, each of them giving a sure-fire performance.
With the slimmest of stories Van Dyke has kept the action at high pitch, interspersing drawing-room comedy with slapstick, and nonsense with reality so that the interest never sags. For all the fine work of the principals (including throbbing love scenes between both the boys and Joan). Billie Burke, as the heroine’s flustered, shocked chaperone, and Charles Butterworth steal many of the laughs. Anybody and everybody will like it.
Highlights: The quarrel between Crawford and Frances Drake who does the villainy of the picture so ornamentally. The author’s grand lines. The mixing of the heart throbs and hysteria.
Amusing. There’s a threesome in this sparkling comedy that few of us can resist–Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Bob Montgomery! How intrigued are you?
“Yeah, I’ve got some pretty good news for you too!” first line
“Your voice isn’t exactly a mother’s lullaby!”
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise!”
“I have something to confess…I’m a very fine cook. All I need is frying pan, a piece of string and some tin foil!’
“Well it’s none of my business when I see a dog being whipped, but I’ll stop it every time!”
“Just as soon as I can arrange my business, I’m going back to Spain and getting into a nice quiet revolution!”
“You’re an idiot. A spoiled, silly brat that needs a hairbrush every now and then.”
“Yeah, yeah. Go get me a wedding!” last line
Behind the Scenes:
The screenplay was based on a 1933 play of the same name that starred Tallulah Bankhead. The play had much more of a sexual undertone which was watered down for the film version.
Gable was heavily involved with English actress Elizabeth Allan during the production of the film and Joan was in love with Franchot Tone. The two stars were friendly onset but their affair was fizzling.