Hands Across the Table | Chicago Reader

Hands Across the Table

Mitchell Leisen could mount a romantic comedy with the best of them (Easy Living, Midnight), though he seemed to prefer projects with weirdly mixed tones, often forcing screwball comedy on a melodramatic situation, as he did in Arise My Love, Remember the Night, and this 1935 feature. Carole Lombard stars as a gold-digging manicurist; she has her sights set on crippled millionaire Ralph Bellamy, but an impoverished Fred MacMurray enters the picture and complicates her plan. The film seems to be toying with dangerous mutations of emotions, as calculation turns to pity and aggression to love, yet Leisen doesn't seem completely in control of his themes, and the film leaves a queasy sense of incompletion. A compelling oddity. With Marie Prevost and William Demarest.


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