Flirting with Fate


1h 9m 1938

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 2, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
David L. Loew Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

American Dan Dixon and his troupe of entertainers go to Paraguay in the hopes of getting a fresh start in South America. Upon their arrival, they are accousted by a ramshackle band of outlaws who don't steal anything because their leader, Sancho Ramirez, is impressed with Carlita, a dancer and erstwhile singer. Soon after, they have a minor collision with a chauffeur-driven car, infuriating the owner, whose white suit is ruined when the bumbling Dan "tries to help." At an audition, the troupe is elated when Dan's act goes over well with the owner of a theater chain, but their hoped-for good fortune doesn't materialize when Dan removes his comic makeup and their prospective boss turns out to be Don Luis Garcia, the man from the accident. Dan attempts to assuage Garcia, but further mishaps leave him and his friends jobless. When their landlady, Señora Lopez, threatens to throw them out and have Dan jailed for non-payment, they are desperate. Dan then receives a telegram from a big producer offering to have them all star in a Broadway play that starts rehearsing in one month. Unfortunately, they don't have enough money to get back to New York. Because Dan is the only one who knows that the producer wants the troupe, but not him, he decides to kill himself and let his girl friend, Patricia Lane, have his life insurance money to finance the trip. His attempts at suicide are no better than his attempts to find work, however. After drinking from a jug marked "ant poison" that turns out to be liquor stashed by Señora Lopez' husband Pedro, he goes to fight a man-eating lion in the zoo. When the lion takes a shine to Dan, thwarting another suicide attempt, Pedro and his friend Solado take Dan to a notorious cafe where they assure him he can be killed by picking a fight. The cafe turns out to be the very place in which Ramirez has gotten Carlita a job. Though Dan attempts to provoke Ramirez, the bandit refuses to kill Dan until he offers to give him his life insurance in exhange for killing him. Ramirez then invites Dan to his hacienda to be killed. Meanwhile, when Pat and the others find Dan's suicide note, they go to the police for help. At the hacienda, Fernando, Ramirez's second-in-command, becomes increasingly angry that Ramirez is spending too much time dallying with Carlita and befriending Dan. He mounts an insurrection against Ramirez, resulting in his imprisonment, along with Dan and Garcia, whom Ramirez invited to audition Carlita. While Dan and Garcia are locked up together, Garcia promises to give Dan and his friends a one year contract if they can escape, giving Dan a reason to live, but his elation is short-lived when they learn that they are all to be shot at dawn. Carlita sneaks into a hacienda's dungeon to free them, but Fernando's men interrupt the escape. A short time later, Garcia and Dan find a bottle marked "nitro glycerin," and put water in it to threaten Fernando's men. The ruse is discovered, but after several more attempts to free themselves, the police arrive with Pat and the others just as Fernando and Ramirez's men are having a gun battle. When everything seems to have worked out for the best, Dan throws the bottle away and discovers that it really did contain nitro glycerin. Though now in tatters, Dan and Pat happily embrace, knowing that everything is finally over.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 2, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
David L. Loew Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Press release information contained in the AMPAS library file on the film credited Fortunio Bonanova with the part of Del Rio, although the onscreen credits, reviews, and a visual identification on the viewing print, confirms that the role of Del Rio was played by George Humbert. Another press release noted that this was the sixth film that Joe E. Brown made for David L. Loew. A pre-release news item in Hollywood Reporter called it their eighth picture together and also noted that it was to be their last. Independent producer Loew was the son of Marcus Loew, the head of Loew's, Inc., parent company and distribution arm of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.