Jimmie Powers (William Powell) was once a reporter with a budding career, but after a scandal he found himself unable to find work in the United States. Now living in Paris, Jimmie goes by “Michael Trevor” and runs a sleazy newspaper, writing about the wealthy American men who come to Paris.
The latest in Michael’s string of tabloid story victims is Harold Taylor (Guy Kibbee), a very wealthy coal baron. In order to get the scoop, Michael poses as a novelist and befriends Harold.
Meanwhile, Harold’s neice Mary (Carole Lombard) is also in Paris with suitor Frank Thompson (Lawrence Gray), who she is not in love with but still plans on marrying. Things get complicated for everyone when Michael and Mary begin to fall for each other.
Richard Wallace directs 1931’s Man of the World, which appears in the Carole Lombard Glamour Collection DVD set. The film was written by Herman J. Mankiewicz.
I love both Carole Lombard and William Powell, so I went into this film with unfairly high expectations and as a result was disappointed by it. It’s hard to explain exactly why — it just didn’t grab me as much as I hoped it would. It’s decent, but definitely the weakest film in the Glamour Collection set.
The performances are believable, as would be expected from such a lovely cast, but the script is somewhat lackluster. I didn’t feel like it gave me anything to care about. The dialogue contains so much pointless and dull “small talk” (quips about the differences between France and America, etc.) that I found it hard to focus on much of anything.
Man of the World isn’t a terrible film by any means. It’s simply less exciting than the rest of the set, and since I watched the whole set within a span of a couple of days, it stood out in a bad way. It’s more dramatic than the rest of the set, but not so dramatic that it achieves the type of impact that it should with the audience. I was in a flu stupor when I watched it, so I’ll give it another, more coherent watch in the interest of fairness… but at this point I can’t recommend it very highly. The score: 2/5