Cast & Crew
When his girl friend Mary, a gold-digging chorus girl, demands that he marry her or lose her, New York bootlegger "Shoots" Magiz overcomes his fear of matrimony and proposes. On his way to the country wedding, however, Office Boy, Shoots's bodyguard and best man, is ambushed by rival racketeers, and the ceremony is delayed. Office Boy, whose real name is Jimmie Burnham, outsmarts his employer's competitors and rushes to the church to warn Shoots of their plot to kill him. Concerned for Mary's safety, Shoots cancels the wedding and instructs Office Boy to escort her back to New York, while he faces the bullets of his rivals. In spite of Office Boy's critical attitude toward her marriage plans, Mary arranges for a justice of the peace to marry her that night and manipulates the still nervous Shoots out of hiding. Before the marriage is consumated, Mary also arranges for her lawyer to draw up Shoots's will, stipulating that all of Shoots's assets will be left to her. Although Office Boy warns Shoots that, because of the new prohibition repeal law, his earnings have been slipping, Shoots refuses to cancel his European honeymoon and allows Mary to spend lavishly overseas. During Shoots's absence, two of his henchmen, Daniel J. Dingle and Mickey the Greek, plot to take over his bootlegging territory, but Shoots deduces their scheming and slips back to the city without telling them. Mary, meanwhile, starts to accumulate her own savings by selling a painting that Shoots purchased in Greece for a profit in New York and depositing the money in her private safe deposit box. Mary's savings plan is curtailed, however, when Shoots is finally exterminated by Dingle and the conditions of his will force Mary to assume his debts. Still the determined gold digger, Mary turns her charms on the lecherous Dingle, but stipulates that no marriage is possible without a paid-in-advance trust fund. To secure the trust fund, Dingle extorts money out of crooked politician Jim Smiley, but then is killed by Mickey, who also desires Mary. After Mary agrees to marry the now rich Mickey, however, she discovers that she and Office Boy have fallen in love and agrees to become his wife. In preparation for their marriage, Office Boy quits his bodyguard job and buys a garage in New Jersey. When Mary shows up with Mickey's stolen trust fund, however, he denounces her as a hopeless gold digger and breaks with her. To prove herself worthy, Mary, who is now wanted by both the police and Mickey, donates her trust fund to an eager bread line. Aware of Mickey's threats, Office Boy then rushes to find Mary in the city and, after being chased by police, faces Mickey in a gun battle and finally makes Mary his homemaker wife.
Edward Le Saint
William Von Brincken
Gordon De Main
John W. Considine Jr.
Edwin B. Willis
The Gay Bride
Lombard had been in films since she was a teenager. When a car accident at 17 left her face scarred, her leading lady roles stopped and she spent some time working for comedy legend Mack Sennett as one of his bathing beauties and as an extra in his late 1920s campus comedies. She later claimed this was where she developed her flair for comedy. When her scars healed, Lombard went back to playing leading ladies in mostly mediocre dramas until she costarred with John Barrymore in Twentieth Century (1934). In that film, Lombard was finally able to express her own real-life screwball persona, which although well-known in Hollywood, had not been given a chance to shine on the screen. As a follow-up, MGM borrowed Lombard from her home studio Paramount for a comedy called The Gay Bride which was a professional disappointment for her and a difficult role to complete.
The film, originally titled Repeal (to capitalize on the repeal of Prohibition the year before) revolved around professional gold digger Mary (Lombard) who marries and is made a rich widow by three gangsters until her first husband's bodyguard Office Boy (played by Chester Morris) sets her straight. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lombard and Morris were not MGM's first choice. Jean Harlow was considered for Lombard's role and Clark Gable in Morris'. Lyle Talbot, Ricardo Cortez, Russell Hardie and Richard Arlen were all considered for Office Boy until it was finally given to Morris. Isabelle Jewell and Una Merkel were both mentioned for the role of Lombard's best friend, but it was ZaSu Pitts who appeared in the film.
Lombard had taken on The Gay Bride because of her trust in MGM's reputation for making top-notch pictures. As Larry Swindell wrote in his biography of Lombard, Screwball, "Being somewhat in awe of the studio's well-oiled production regimentation, she did not immediately sense [the film's] banality. But her costar Chester Morris did. He spoke grudgingly about going through the motions of another turkey and Carole said, "Well, you never can tell." [...] Morris said it was easy to tell how an MGM picture was doing while it was being shot. The telltale indication was if the primary concern was getting the work started on time each day and staying on schedule all week. Otherwise no attention was being paid. The executive producer wasn't a [Irving] Thalberg or a David Selznick but was Harry Rapf, an affable fellow but not a spectacularly discerning one. Jack Conway's proficiency lay in his attentions to paraphernalia not actors; and the awfulness of the script seemed only to bother Chester Morris until Carole also realized his assessment was correct."
Unhappy with The Gay Bride, Lombard finished principal shooting in only seven weeks. She was looking forward to a return to her home studio, Paramount, and had taken a short trip with her mother to Lake Arrowhead over the Labor Day weekend when she received word that her boyfriend Russ Columbo had been accidentally shot in the face while examining a pistol. By the time Lombard could drive back down to Los Angeles, Columbo was dead. Devastated but always a trouper, Lombard managed to return to MGM to complete retakes of The Gay Bride, a film she was already considering her worst.
The critics didn't argue with her; the film was universally panned, with Variety noting "Gangster pictures are gone, and this one won't do anything to bring them back. It'll do more to consign them permanently to Davey Jones' locker down where [box office] grosses don't count. It deals with hoodlums in a post-prohibition era, but fails to freshen up the story and the conventional means taken to carry it out." Blame was not placed upon the actors but on the script, as Photoplay pointed out "A good story loaded with plot complications and blurry character drawings. Even ZaSu Pitts seems more bewildered than usual."
Producer: John W. Considine, Jr.
Director: Jack Conway
Screenplay: Bella Spewack, Samuel Spewack; Charles Francis Coe (story "Repeal")
Cinematography: Ray June
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: Jack Virgil; R.H. Bassett (uncredited)
Film Editing: Frank Sullivan
Cast: Carole Lombard (Mary Magiz), Chester Morris (Jimmie 'Office boy' Burnham), Zasu Pitts (Mirabelle), Leo Carrillo (Mickey 'The Greek' Mikapopoulis), Nat Pendleton (William T. 'Shoots' Magiz), Sam Hardy (Daniel J. Dingle), Walter Walker (MacPherson, the Lawyer).
by Lorraine LoBianco
Variety December 18, 1934
Photoplay Magazine January 1935
Screwball: The Life of Carole Lombard by Larry Swindell
The Gay Bride
The working title of this film was Repeal. According to a February 1934 Hollywood Reporter news item, Jean Harlow was first considered for the female lead in the film, while a pre-production Hollywood Reporter news items states that Clark Gable was first considered for the male lead. After Gable was considered, Lyle Talbot, Ricardo Cortez, Russell Hardie and Richard Arlen were tested for the part before Chester Morris finally was cast. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, Una Merkel was assigned to play "Mirabelle" in the film after beating out Isabel Jewell for the part. Neither Merkel nor Jewell appear in the final film, however.