Written by: Carroll Jenkins on January 1st, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1933
Director: Sam Wood
Writers: Anita Loos, Howard Emmett Rogers
Cast: Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Stuart Erwin
DVD Released: October 16th, 2012
Approximate running time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33.1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Warner Archive
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $18.95
Synopsis: A sassy blond falls for a slick flim-flam man, whose exploits land him in jail. Once he’s out the romance resumes, until she gets sentenced to a women’s reformatory.
This third pairing of Jean Harlow with Clark Gable is a hard-boiled pre-code joyride released just before enforcement of the Hays Code killed the party. The first hour is practically flawless with Harlow fleecing her dates for rent money and meanwhile Gable and his partner-in-crime Slim play off one sucker after another. Gable barges in on Harlow taking a bath while on the run from the flat foots, and from there the sparks fly in all directions.
The smart and spirited script by Anita Loos (Red Headed Woman) is bolstered by an incredible supporting cast. Gary Owen has perfect comic timing and even gets to do a few moments of solo shtick. His performance is both nuanced and subtle as compared to, say, Allen Jenkins in similar roles.
Dorothy Burgess is a firecracker when she discovers Harlow with her man, but all she gets for her trouble is a sock in the kisser. Once we get to the women’s reformatory there are so many great supporting actresses that it would be difficult to credit [and identify] them all separately. Unfortunately the film grinds to a halt at about the 3/4 mark as melodrama and redemption steal the show, but it’s a blast up till then.
A Warner Archives MOD DVD-R, this is a newly remastered transfer which looks and sounds quite excellent. No subtitles, but the Spanish trailer is included in rough condition but interesting nonetheless.
Hold Your Man gets short shrift nestled as it is between Red Dust and Dinner At Eight in Harlow’s filmography. It’s actually the apex of her ‘underworld’ character cycle, just a skip up in the social strata from her early gangster moll portrayals in The Secret Six, The Public Enemy, The Beast of the City, and Scarface.