Incandescent, glamorous, and hilarious, Carole Lombard's bright characterizations graced the screen for 17 years. She played a movie star, a theatrical diva, a dying small-town girl, a dizzy heiress, and a struggling, vulnerable newlywed, among many other roles. Here are a few of Carole Lombard's most famous films, for which she is justly still remembered.
Lombard is party-loving, madcap socialite Irene Bullock in this depression film. She picks up a derelict "forgotten man" (William Powell) as part of a scavenger hunt, and winds up hiring him as the family butler. Godfrey, however, has lots more depth to him than she originally realized. Irene starts to fall for him - and fights it. Gregory LaCava directs this film, which also stars Alice Brady, Mischa Auer, Gail Patrick, Alan Mowbray, and Eugene Pallette. This was the first film to ever receive four acting nominations at the Academy Awards (Powell, Lombard, Auer, and Brady), in the year that the supporting categories were first introduced.
Lily Garland (Lombard) and her mentor, Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) wind up on the same train, the Twentieth Century, to New York City. Lily has gone on to film stardom after Oscar made her a tremendous stage star. Desperate to lure her back to the theater to help his ailing career, he attempts to convince her to play Mary Magdalene in his theatrical production, "A Passion Play," which will have everything, including animals from Ringling Brothers. Howard Hawks directed this hilarious screwball comedy, a true classic that also became a popular Broadway show. Barrymore and Lombard are in peak form as the overly dramatic, sparring couple.
Glamorous, radiant Carole Lombard may seem out of place as a small-town Vermont girl, but she's totally believable in this screwball comedy. diected by William Wellman at breakneck speed. A New York tabloid reporter (Frederic March), looking to rehabilitate his career, becomes interested in the story of Hazel Flagg (Lombard), a young woman who thinks she's dying of radiation poisoning. By the time all of the publicity hits, Hazel knows darn well she's not dying but embraces the celebrity life in a wild trip to New York City. Ahead of its time, this hilarious comedy, often remade, was also a Broadway show, Hazel Flagg
Newlyweds John and Jane Mason (James Stewart
and Carole Lombard) meet and marry after only knowing one another for a day. Their first year isn't bliss: money problems, a failed promotion, a live-in mother-in-law from hell, and a very sick child. Yet somehow they manage to keep their love strong in this heartwarming film directed by John Cromwell.
RKO Radio Pictures
In a most atypical film for the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock
directs the story of David and Anna Smith, two temperamental people with an equally volatile marriage. They have one rule - they cannot leave their room after a quarrel until they've made up, no matter how long the stay. Once a day, one spouse can ask the other a question that must be answered honestly. When Mrs. Smith asks Mr. Smith if he would marry her if he had it to do over again, he says no. Wrong answer, especially when they learn their marriage is not valid.
Warner Home Video
Ernst Lubitsch directs this great satire. In occupied Poland during WWII, a troupe of hammy stage actors (led by Joseph Tura and his wife Maria) match wits with the Nazis when they try to intercept a spy en route to give information to the Germans. Jack Benny and Carole Lombard play the Turas. Lombard is gorgeous in beautiful gowns as she flirts with a very young Robert Stack and a Nazi commandant. Sadly, Lombard's last film, but a dazzling end to a great career.