Fight for Your Lady


1h 7m 1937
Fight for Your Lady

Brief Synopsis

A wrestling promoter helps an opera singer with his love life.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Musical
Release Date
Nov 5, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Hounded by London creditors, American wrestling manager Ham Hamilton convinces his charge, champion Mike Scanlon, to "throw" his next country club match. On the way to the ring, however, Mike overhears beautiful actress Marcia Trent betting on him with her fiancé, American tenor Robert Densmore, and wins the contest to please her. Still broke, Ham steals Robert's coat to sneak out of the club, but later shows up at Robert's hotel to return the coat and ingratiate himsef with the rich singer. After designating himself as Robert's physical trainer, Ham then exposes Marcia as a gold digger by telling her that Robert has lost all of his money. Marcia, who has been seeing Mike secretly, jilts Robert on their wedding day, and Robert begins to drink at a suicidal rate. Concerned, Ham talks his "meal ticket" into moving to Budapest, but soon after their arrival, they learn from reporter Jim Trask that Marcia has married Mike. Convinced now that he has to kill himself, a drunk Robert confers in a Budapest cafe with a drunk Jim on the best method of suicide. Finally, Jim decides that Robert should flirt with singer Marietta and incur the wrath of her jealous admirer, Spadissimo, an aristocratic swordsman who has already killed forty-four men in her name. While Spadissimo is out of town, Robert woos Marietta and genuinely wins her heart. As soon as Spadissimo returns, he challenges Robert to a duel, which Robert blithely accepts. To save Robert, Marietta tells Spadissimo, who has a serious "mother complex," about Robert's mother. Touched, Spadissimo agrees to only wound his foe, but when Jim and Ham tell Marietta about Robert's suicide plan just as Marcia shows up, Marietta angrily informs Spadissimo that Robert has no mother. Now desperate, Ham tricks Robert into signing a phony robbery confession, and on the morning of the duel the singer is arrested. Eventually, however, Spadissimo has Robert bailed out of jail, and the duel begins. Dressed in women's clothing, Ham throws himself at Spadissimo's feet, begging for mercy for her "boy." Overcome, Spadissimo spares Robert, who then speeds away with a forgiving Marietta.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Musical
Release Date
Nov 5, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Fight For Your Lady


A solid secondary comedy from RKO Pictures, Fight for Your Lady (1937) features a large cast and multiple overlapping storylines in its short running time. In London, wrestling manager 'Honest' Ham Hamilton (Jack Oakie) is trying in vain to duck bill collectors. To settle his tab and return to America he tries to convince wrestler Mike Scanlon (Gordon Jones) to throw a match. Sitting near the ring, however, is singer Robert Densmore (John Boles) with his upper crust fiancée Marcia Trent (Margot Grahame). Marcia has a bet on Mike and, having caught his eye as he enters the ring, Mike has no plans to take a dive. Ham has to dodge creditors out of the stadium and uses Densmore's coat for concealment. Upon returning the coat, Ham takes a financial interest in Densmore's singing career and Mike continues his infatuation with Marcia. Marcia leaves with Mike upon learning that Densmore is broke, and Ham takes the singer to Budapest. There, reporter Jimmy Trask (Paul Guilfoyle) tells Densmore of Marcia's marriage. The singer drinks and threatens suicide; a drunk Jimmy suggests that Densmore flirt with ventriloquist Marietta (Ida Lupino), so that her beau Anton Spadissimo (Erik Rhodes) – the greatest swordsman on the Continent - will kill him. Densmore cuts into a dance with Marietta, so Spadissimo challenges him to a duel. When Marcia reads of the European romance, she tells Mike to leave the house. The major characters converge in the countryside on the morning of the duel.

There are many more story points and characters than the truncated synopsis above indicates – all for a film that runs barely over an hour. Fight for Your Lady is one of those globetrotting comedies in which the makers have assumed that more characters, relationships, and situational mayhem squeezed into a dialogue-heavy screenplay will only result in more laughs. It doesn't, and the viewer is only left more confused than amused.

Critics blasted the picture. In The New York Times, Frank Nugent called it "a fumbling, unoriginal and infantile farce [which] comes unpleasantly close to being the composite year's worst picture....John Boles plays it rather badly and Ida Lupino is hobbled by a witless script. Jack Oakie, Margot Grahame and Erik Rhodes accept the silliness for what it is worth." In addition to funnymen Oakie and Rhodes, Fight for Your Lady features a late-act appearance by the always welcome comedic actor Billy Gilbert, but it is too little, too late to save the proceedings. The film did nothing for the career of Ida Lupino, but she is a versatile enough actress to not seem out-of-place in the goings-on. In fact, she is very convincing in her opening scene, in which she takes to the stage to work a ventriloquist dummy.

Director Ben Stoloff began in silent pictures in the 1920s, helming several Tom Mix westerns and two-reel comedies at Fox Film Corporation. In the sound era, he never rose above second-feature status, but in that capacity he was able to turn out a few interesting movies, such as The Mysterious Doctor (1943), a peculiar ghost story set in an English village during World War II.

Executive Producer: Samuel J. Briskin
Producer: Albert Lewis
Director: Ben Stoloff
Screenplay: Ernest Pagano, Harry Segall, Harold Kusell
Cinematography: Jack Mackenzie
Film Editing: George Crone
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase
Costume Design: Edward Stevenson
Cast: John Boles (Robert Densmore), Jack Oakie (Honest 'Ham' Hamilton), Ida Lupino (Marietta), Margot Grahame (Marcia Trent), Gordon Jones (Mike Scanlon), Erik Rhodes (Anton Spadissimo), Billy Gilbert (Boris).
BW-66m.

by John M. Miller
Fight For Your Lady

Fight For Your Lady

A solid secondary comedy from RKO Pictures, Fight for Your Lady (1937) features a large cast and multiple overlapping storylines in its short running time. In London, wrestling manager 'Honest' Ham Hamilton (Jack Oakie) is trying in vain to duck bill collectors. To settle his tab and return to America he tries to convince wrestler Mike Scanlon (Gordon Jones) to throw a match. Sitting near the ring, however, is singer Robert Densmore (John Boles) with his upper crust fiancée Marcia Trent (Margot Grahame). Marcia has a bet on Mike and, having caught his eye as he enters the ring, Mike has no plans to take a dive. Ham has to dodge creditors out of the stadium and uses Densmore's coat for concealment. Upon returning the coat, Ham takes a financial interest in Densmore's singing career and Mike continues his infatuation with Marcia. Marcia leaves with Mike upon learning that Densmore is broke, and Ham takes the singer to Budapest. There, reporter Jimmy Trask (Paul Guilfoyle) tells Densmore of Marcia's marriage. The singer drinks and threatens suicide; a drunk Jimmy suggests that Densmore flirt with ventriloquist Marietta (Ida Lupino), so that her beau Anton Spadissimo (Erik Rhodes) – the greatest swordsman on the Continent - will kill him. Densmore cuts into a dance with Marietta, so Spadissimo challenges him to a duel. When Marcia reads of the European romance, she tells Mike to leave the house. The major characters converge in the countryside on the morning of the duel. There are many more story points and characters than the truncated synopsis above indicates – all for a film that runs barely over an hour. Fight for Your Lady is one of those globetrotting comedies in which the makers have assumed that more characters, relationships, and situational mayhem squeezed into a dialogue-heavy screenplay will only result in more laughs. It doesn't, and the viewer is only left more confused than amused. Critics blasted the picture. In The New York Times, Frank Nugent called it "a fumbling, unoriginal and infantile farce [which] comes unpleasantly close to being the composite year's worst picture....John Boles plays it rather badly and Ida Lupino is hobbled by a witless script. Jack Oakie, Margot Grahame and Erik Rhodes accept the silliness for what it is worth." In addition to funnymen Oakie and Rhodes, Fight for Your Lady features a late-act appearance by the always welcome comedic actor Billy Gilbert, but it is too little, too late to save the proceedings. The film did nothing for the career of Ida Lupino, but she is a versatile enough actress to not seem out-of-place in the goings-on. In fact, she is very convincing in her opening scene, in which she takes to the stage to work a ventriloquist dummy. Director Ben Stoloff began in silent pictures in the 1920s, helming several Tom Mix westerns and two-reel comedies at Fox Film Corporation. In the sound era, he never rose above second-feature status, but in that capacity he was able to turn out a few interesting movies, such as The Mysterious Doctor (1943), a peculiar ghost story set in an English village during World War II. Executive Producer: Samuel J. Briskin Producer: Albert Lewis Director: Ben Stoloff Screenplay: Ernest Pagano, Harry Segall, Harold Kusell Cinematography: Jack Mackenzie Film Editing: George Crone Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase Costume Design: Edward Stevenson Cast: John Boles (Robert Densmore), Jack Oakie (Honest 'Ham' Hamilton), Ida Lupino (Marietta), Margot Grahame (Marcia Trent), Gordon Jones (Mike Scanlon), Erik Rhodes (Anton Spadissimo), Billy Gilbert (Boris). BW-66m. by John M. Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

RKO borrowed Ida Lupino from Paramount for this production. According to Hollywood Reporter, Herbert Marshall was first slated to star in the film. Hollywood Reporter production charts list Gertrude Purcell as a screenwriter with credited writers Ernest Pagano and Harry Segall, but her contribution to the final film has not been determined. A Hollywood Reporter news item adds Bill Begg, Hal Cooke, Otto Fries and Gil Perkins to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Actor Forrester Harvey's name is misspelled as "Forester" in the onscreen credits.