Movie Mirrors Index

Cain and Mabel

(1936 b 90')

En: 5 Ed: 5

A publicity agent fabricates a romance between a waitress he turned into a Broadway star and a boxer; but eventually they fall in love.

Waitress Mabel O'Dare (Marion Davies) gives suicidal Reilly (Roscoe Karns) a free breakfast and gets fired. Reilly takes her to a theatrical producer but mistakes an actor for Jacob Sherman (Walter Catlett). At a rehearsal Mabel asks Sherman for a job. When his star quits, he has her dance and gives her the leading role. Mabel practices in a hotel room, and boxer Larry Cain (Clark Gable) in the room below can't sleep. Cain complains, but Mabel slams the door on his face. The sleepy Cain loses the fight. He trains and wins his next fights, becoming champion. Neither Cain nor Mabel have the color to draw people; so Reilly suggests a romance between Mabel and Cain. He brings her flowers with a card from Cain. In the show Mabel dances in a big production number "Coney Island" with famous figures. When Cain sees Mabel, he leaves. At a nightclub Cain meets Mabel and takes a swing at actor Ronny Couldwell (Robert Paige). Mabel slaps Cain, and he dumps water on her. Newspapers publicize it as a romance.

Cain gets offers and bumps into Mabel, who throws water on him. Sherman, Reilly, and Aunt Mimi (Ruth Donnelly) try to persuade Mabel to see Cain, while Reilly, Dodo (Allen Jenkins), and manager Pop Walters (William Collier Sr.) encourage Cain. Mabel's show fills the house with large-scale production numbers. Cain attends, and Mabel throws him a kiss. Ronny tells Mabel he is crazy about her, but Cain reluctantly takes her out every night; they kiss for photos. Mabel goes to change but stays cooking. Tired of waiting, Cain walks in and stays to eat, learning she was a waitress. They both apologize, and Cain kisses her. He says he is retiring to buy a service station after his next fight. They plan to marry secretly, but Reilly hears. Pop and Dodo are worried Cain will lose. Sherman, Aunt Mimi, and Reilly complain too. Reilly suggests breaking them up with publicity. Sherman, Aunt Mimi, and Ronny show Mabel the elopement story. She calls Cain, but Pop says he went to Philadelphia. He and Dodo show Cain the papers, and he does go to Philadelphia. News exposes the romance as a publicity stunt, and Pop shows Cain an article that Mabel is engaged to Ronny. Aunt Mimi finally tells Mabel that Cain did not tell the papers. She is forced to go on stage but runs off to Philadelphia.

Cain fights hard and is winning. Mabel arrives and tells him Reilly framed the story. Dodo throws in the towel, and Cain loses; but Mabel bet against him. Cain says he can't take her money; but she says they are partners. They kiss, and Reilly shoots a publicity photo. Then Mabel throws a sponge at Reilly.

This romantic comedy satirizes how publicity designed to manipulate the public can also distort the private lives of the celebrities.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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