Before Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were a legendary couple, they made No Man of Her Own — their only screen teaming. At the time, Lombard was a Paramount contract player and Gable was on loan from MGM, and the picture they made was definitely not intended as anything special. At bottom, No Man of Her Own is a slickly made lower-end “A” picture — an enjoyable pre-code confection made up of comedy, romance and just a little bit of soap. It has that shimmering look of all Paramount productions of the era, a perfect supporting cast and stylish direction by Wesley Ruggles (brother of popular Paramount comedian Charlie Ruggles). Gable plays Babe Stewart, head of a group of card sharks who specialize in cheating wealthy men during “friendly” games in hotel rooms. When things get too hot, Babe beats it to a small town where he meets sexy, bored librarian Connie Randall (Lombard). Not surprisingly, he sets his sights on her, but can’t get past first base (even though she’s clearly interested). On a whim, though, he agrees to a little wager involving a coin toss — if she wins, he marries her. No prizes for guessing how this bet works out. The problems that arise from their union are mostly grounded in her being kept in the dark about how Babe makes his living. But there’s also the situation raised by vice squad detective “Dickie” Collins (J. Farrell MacDonald), who’s long been out to arrest Babe. It’s all fun — supporting players Grant Mitchell and Elizabeth Patterson add much to the film — with the kind of finale that you only see in Paramount films of this era.
The Asheville Film Society will screen No Man of Her Own Tuesday, June 25, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.