Cain and Mabel


1h 30m 1936
Cain and Mabel

Brief Synopsis

The publicity romance between a prizefighter and a showgirl turns into the real thing.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Sep 26, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

When unemployed reporter Aloysius K. Reilly causes waitress Mabel O'Dare to lose her job, he decides to find her another one. Learning that Mabel can dance a little, he claims to know producer Jake Sherman, convinced that he can talk Jake into giving her a job in the chorus of his new production. Jake doesn't know Reilly and is just about to throw him and Mabel out of the rehearsal when Toddy Williams, the star, walks out of the show. For revenge, Jake casts Mabel in the lead even though she isn't a very good dancer. The night before her opening, she is still practicing her routine, and the noise she makes keeps her downstairs neighbor, boxer Larry Cain, awake. Because he has a big boxing match the next day, Larry asks Mabel to quit, but she refuses, and they quarrel. Larry wins the championship, but his lack of charisma in the ring keeps the crowds away. Mabel's show is doing poorly, until Reilly has the bright idea of concocting a romance between Mabel and Larry. Although they really hate each other, the publicity about their phony affair has the desired result. They continue to battle until Larry discovers that Mabel used to be a waitress. He confesses that his dream is to retire to New Jersey and run a garage. They decide to marry and fulfill Larry's dream. Overhearing their plans, Reilly plots to prevent the elopement. He leaks the story to the papers, and Mabel and Larry each think the other has betrayed the secret. When Mabel finally learns the truth, she flies to Philadelphia where Larry is fighting. Larry loses the match, but Mabel's bet on the other fighter provides a nest egg for their future.

Cast

Marion Davies

Mabel O'Dare

Clark Gable

Larry Cain

Allen Jenkins

Dodo

Roscoe Karns

[Aloysius K.] Reilly

Walter Catlett

Jake Sherman

David Carlyle

Ronny Cauldwell

Hobart Cavanaugh

Milo

Ruth Donnelly

Aunt Mimi

Pert Kelton

Toddy [Williams]

William Collier Sr.

Pop Walters

Sammy White

Specialty, Coney Island number

E. E. Clive

Charles Fenwick

Allen Pomeroy

Tom Reed

Robert Middlemass

Cafe proprietor

Joseph Crehan

Reed's manager

Charles Teske

Dance specialty

Eily Malyon

The old maid

Dick Dennis

Singer

Marie Prevost

Receptionist

Mary Treen

Cashier

Leona Mcgenty

Fat waitress

Jean Sennett

Secretary

Victor Bridis

Archie

John Marsden

Manager

Don Downen

Bellboy

Jerry Fletcher

Bellboy

Al Williams

Call boy

Bert Morehouse

Desk clerk

George Andre Beranger

Headwaiter

George Ovey

Stage door man

Earl Tree

Cameraman

Dick French

Cameraman

William R. Arnold

Cameraman

George Riley

Cameraman

Pat West

Trainer

Milton Kibbee

Cab driver

Bill Archer

Page boy

Harry Harvey

Gus, Assistant stage manager

Curtis Benton

Radio announcer

Ted Thompson

Hotel clerk

Emmett Vogan

Athletic club clerk

Harry C. Bradley

Man in library

Lillian Lawrence

Woman in library

Bob Perry

Ring referee

Lee Phelps

Announcer

Billy Coe

Time keeper

Charles Sullivan

Knock down time keeper

Rosalind Marquis

Cinderella

Hal Neiman

Napoleon

Rose Terrell

Delilah

Earl Askam

Samson

Robert Eberhardt

Popeye

J. Delos Jewkes

Smith brother

Jack Bergman

Smith brother

George Bruggerman

Caesar

Arthur Thalasso

Nero

General Savitsky

Peace conference delegate

Alexander Ikonikoff General

Peace conference delegate

Stuart Holmes

Peace conference delegate

Peter Seal

Peace conference delegate

Perc Teeple

Peace conference delegate

Paul Panzer

Peace conference delegate

Leo White

Man at Deauville

Georgie Billings

Ten-year-old boy

Ted O'shea

Sailor

John Lince

Old man

Josephine Allen

Old lady

Marie Wells

Ralph Dunn

Tex Brodus

Victoria Vinton

Herbert Ashley

John T. Murray

Joseph Cunningham

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Sep 26, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Dance Direction

1937

Articles

Cain and Mabel


Despite the presence of MGM superstar Clark Gable, Cain and Mabel was an undisputed box office disaster in 1936. Co-star Marion Davies, a long-time audience favorite and lover of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, was quickly approaching, if she wasn't already there, the end of her film acting career. But instead of reading the proverbial writing on the wall, Hearst convinced the head of Warner Bros. Studios, his old friend Jack Warner, to hire Clark Gable away from MGM in order to co-star in a picture custom-made for Marion Davies entitled Cain and Mabel. Marion had previously been at MGM herself for many years, with her own production company, Cosmopolitan Pictures, set up on the Culver City lot. But a move from MGM to Warner Bros. was triggered by Hearst's grudge against MGM after Marion Davies was considered but ultimately rejected for the lead in their production of The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934). The lead role in MGM's opulent picture would have been quite a coup for Davies and might have rejuvenated the actress's sagging career. As it turned out though, producer Irving Thalberg's wife, Norma Shearer, was cast in The Barretts of Wimpole Street, much to William Randolph Hearst's dismay. To add insult to injury, Davies also lost the title role in Marie Antoinette in 1938 to Shearer.

Over at Warner Bros., Hearst did exert his considerable influence during the casting phase of Cain and Mabel, the story of a musical star's romance with a heavyweight boxer. Jealous of Warner Bros. contract star Dick Powell whom Marion Davies found attractive, Hearst vetoed the popular young crooner from being cast as the film's second male lead. The part went to Allen Jenkins instead. Hearst's insistence on casting Clark Gable as a prizefighter turned out to be a very ironic move. When Davies was preparing to cast Five and Ten (1931), Irving Thalberg suggested a young Clark Gable for the society man part. Davies insisted on Leslie Howard. To placate Thalberg, Davies agreed to view Gable's screen test. After the test ended, Davies flatly rejected Gable on the grounds that the virile young actor "looks like Jack Dempsey," and that it was impossible to put him in a role like that of a sophisticated man-about-town. Thalberg told Davies that she would be sorry since Gable would some day be a sensation. Only when the lights came up in the screening room did Davies and Thalberg notice a silent Gable sitting quietly behind them. Thalberg insisted he wasn't aware of Gable's presence but he did reiterate that Gable wanted the part and that he would be good in it. Davies stuck to her guns and reassured Thalberg that her refusal was not personal. She just didn't think Gable fit the part, an opinion that stuck with Gable. Days later, he ran into Davies on the MGM lot and reintroduced himself with, "I'm the pug, remember me? I'm Jack Dempsey."

After all that, Davies changed gears the next year for another MGM production called Polly of the Circus (1932). She now insisted that Gable be cast as a minister, a part that Irving Thalberg thought was all wrong for Gable. Davies' won out in the end, even though Gable still harbored resentment towards her for the former slight of a year earlier. On the set of their second film together, Gable asked Davies, "Do I still look like a prizefighter?" Davies tried to convince him that her earlier rejection of him was just business and that it turned out to be the wrong decision. Ironically, once it came time to finally cast Gable as a Jack Dempsey-type prizefighter in Cain and Mabel, the critics almost universally agreed it was as a classic case of miscasting. Newsweek reported that, "Clark Gable and Marion Davies fit in this picture like a fat hand squeezed into a small glove. Too much talent for such a skimpy, thinly woven plot that unravels in a trite series of moments rather than a well constructed tale."

While Cain and Mabel is admittedly no masterpiece, the film still has a great deal of charm, the musical numbers are lavish, and Davies' flair for comedy is in full flower here. If you look closely in one scene, you can also see a hilarious technical gaffe. While hundreds of extras are moving around Davies in the sequence with the huge white pipe organ, you can spot a studio workman walking across the stage at the height of the number. The error was noticed later in the editing room when it was too late to do retakes of the scene.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Producer: Hal B. Wallis, Jack L. Warner
Screenplay: Laird Doyle, H.C. Witwer
Cinematography: George Barnes
Music: Al Dubin, Harry Warren, Bernhard Kaun (uncredited), Heinz Roemheld (uncredited)
Art Direction: Robert M. Haas
Cast: Marion Davies (Mabel O'Dare), Clark Gable (Larry Cain), Allen Jenkins (Dodo), Roscoe Karns (Aloysius K. Reilly), Walter Catlett (Jacob "Jake" Sherman), Robert Paige (Ronny Cauldwell).
BW-90m. Closed captioning.

by Scott McGee
Cain And Mabel

Cain and Mabel

Despite the presence of MGM superstar Clark Gable, Cain and Mabel was an undisputed box office disaster in 1936. Co-star Marion Davies, a long-time audience favorite and lover of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, was quickly approaching, if she wasn't already there, the end of her film acting career. But instead of reading the proverbial writing on the wall, Hearst convinced the head of Warner Bros. Studios, his old friend Jack Warner, to hire Clark Gable away from MGM in order to co-star in a picture custom-made for Marion Davies entitled Cain and Mabel. Marion had previously been at MGM herself for many years, with her own production company, Cosmopolitan Pictures, set up on the Culver City lot. But a move from MGM to Warner Bros. was triggered by Hearst's grudge against MGM after Marion Davies was considered but ultimately rejected for the lead in their production of The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934). The lead role in MGM's opulent picture would have been quite a coup for Davies and might have rejuvenated the actress's sagging career. As it turned out though, producer Irving Thalberg's wife, Norma Shearer, was cast in The Barretts of Wimpole Street, much to William Randolph Hearst's dismay. To add insult to injury, Davies also lost the title role in Marie Antoinette in 1938 to Shearer. Over at Warner Bros., Hearst did exert his considerable influence during the casting phase of Cain and Mabel, the story of a musical star's romance with a heavyweight boxer. Jealous of Warner Bros. contract star Dick Powell whom Marion Davies found attractive, Hearst vetoed the popular young crooner from being cast as the film's second male lead. The part went to Allen Jenkins instead. Hearst's insistence on casting Clark Gable as a prizefighter turned out to be a very ironic move. When Davies was preparing to cast Five and Ten (1931), Irving Thalberg suggested a young Clark Gable for the society man part. Davies insisted on Leslie Howard. To placate Thalberg, Davies agreed to view Gable's screen test. After the test ended, Davies flatly rejected Gable on the grounds that the virile young actor "looks like Jack Dempsey," and that it was impossible to put him in a role like that of a sophisticated man-about-town. Thalberg told Davies that she would be sorry since Gable would some day be a sensation. Only when the lights came up in the screening room did Davies and Thalberg notice a silent Gable sitting quietly behind them. Thalberg insisted he wasn't aware of Gable's presence but he did reiterate that Gable wanted the part and that he would be good in it. Davies stuck to her guns and reassured Thalberg that her refusal was not personal. She just didn't think Gable fit the part, an opinion that stuck with Gable. Days later, he ran into Davies on the MGM lot and reintroduced himself with, "I'm the pug, remember me? I'm Jack Dempsey." After all that, Davies changed gears the next year for another MGM production called Polly of the Circus (1932). She now insisted that Gable be cast as a minister, a part that Irving Thalberg thought was all wrong for Gable. Davies' won out in the end, even though Gable still harbored resentment towards her for the former slight of a year earlier. On the set of their second film together, Gable asked Davies, "Do I still look like a prizefighter?" Davies tried to convince him that her earlier rejection of him was just business and that it turned out to be the wrong decision. Ironically, once it came time to finally cast Gable as a Jack Dempsey-type prizefighter in Cain and Mabel, the critics almost universally agreed it was as a classic case of miscasting. Newsweek reported that, "Clark Gable and Marion Davies fit in this picture like a fat hand squeezed into a small glove. Too much talent for such a skimpy, thinly woven plot that unravels in a trite series of moments rather than a well constructed tale." While Cain and Mabel is admittedly no masterpiece, the film still has a great deal of charm, the musical numbers are lavish, and Davies' flair for comedy is in full flower here. If you look closely in one scene, you can also see a hilarious technical gaffe. While hundreds of extras are moving around Davies in the sequence with the huge white pipe organ, you can spot a studio workman walking across the stage at the height of the number. The error was noticed later in the editing room when it was too late to do retakes of the scene. Director: Lloyd Bacon Producer: Hal B. Wallis, Jack L. Warner Screenplay: Laird Doyle, H.C. Witwer Cinematography: George Barnes Music: Al Dubin, Harry Warren, Bernhard Kaun (uncredited), Heinz Roemheld (uncredited) Art Direction: Robert M. Haas Cast: Marion Davies (Mabel O'Dare), Clark Gable (Larry Cain), Allen Jenkins (Dodo), Roscoe Karns (Aloysius K. Reilly), Walter Catlett (Jacob "Jake" Sherman), Robert Paige (Ronny Cauldwell). BW-90m. Closed captioning. by Scott McGee

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A news item in April 18, 1936 Daily Variety states that the scheduled start date was pushed back because a suitable leading man had not been found.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1936

Released in United States 1936