Eddie Hall (Clark Gable) is on the run from the police. Taking shelter in an apartment building, he runs into the apartment of Ruby Adams (Jean Harlow), a stranger.
Luckily for Eddie, Ruby is more than willing to help him out. She hides him in her bathroom and covers for him when the cops come knocking at her door. She tells the police that the man in the bathroom (now covered in bubbles and unrecognizable as Eddie) is her husband.
Eddie sneaks out of the apartment as Ruby sends the police away, but she’s able to track him down again by going to a nightclub he had mentioned in conversation. So begins a romance complicated by Eddie’s criminal dealings.
Sam Wood directs 1933’s Hold Your Man.
Gable and Harlow, together again! This is the third of six films to star the pair. Gable makes a very charming con man, and Harlow is a fantastically hard-edged, been-’round-the-block dame. The chance to watch them together certainly accounts for much of the film’s appeal.
They have wonderful chemistry, and wonderful banter! In one favorite scene, Ruby pays a visit to Eddie in jail. Eddie asks Ruby, “You think you’re a smart Jane, don’t you?” Her response: “Well, I’m out here and you’re in there.”
There’s a tone shift in the second half of the film, as Ruby gets into trouble and Eddie sort of fades from the picture for a little while. This isn’t as fun to watch as the Harlow and Gable show, but the scenes of Ruby’s time in “reform school” are plenty interesting.
Ruby builds close relationships with her fellow inmates. The sense of sisterhood is wonderful to watch, with all of the women eventually banding together to help Ruby (in what way, I won’t spoil).
Hold Your Man isn’t the strongest of Gable and Harlow’s collaborations, but it’s an interesting little film that manages a successful tone shift and had no trouble keeping my attention throughout.