In a Nutshell: Made for Each Other (1939)

Directed by: John Cromwell

With: Carole Lombard, James Stewart, Charles Coburn, Lucile Watson


Made for Each Other was one of the films Carole Lombard did for Selznick International Pictures, and one of her few dramas. After the box office failure of her last screwball comedy Fools for Scandals (1938), she desired to do more serious pictures hoping to win an Academy Award. She wanted Cary Grant as her co-star, but Grant was busy at the time and so she got Stewart. Although not a success, both Lombard and Stewart were praised by critics. Made for Each Other premiered on February 10, 1939.


John Mason (Stewart) is a young and timid attorney from New York City, who could improve his position marrying his employer Judge Doolittle (Coburn)’s daughter. Instead, in Boston he meets and marries the same day a girl called Jane (Lombard), and when he introduces her wife to his mother, he has to face her disappointment. In the meanwhile, John’s colleague Carter becomes the new partner of the law firm. Their lack of money, put together with bad luck and John’s weak personality, force the couple to live in a small apartment with John’s mother. When Jane delivers a baby, their happiness doesn’t last long: John’s salary isn’t enough to pay all the bills and they’re soon penniless. Although the support of Jane, John is discouraged because he can’t make progress as a professional, and when he’s going to ask Doolittle a raise, the Judge tells him he has to cut his employees’ pay cause of the Depression.

During New Year’s Eve, the baby is rushed to the hospital with pneumonia. Without a serum from Salt Lake City, he will die soon. John asks the Judge money to pay the flight, and in spite of a storm a pilot accept to fly. The plane crashes in the mountains and the pilot’s injuried, but a farmer finds the serum and telephones the hospital, so the baby is saved. A few years later, John becomes partner of the law firm.


My opinion

I liked Made for Each Other. This shows Carole Lombard was a swell dramatic actress too; her acting and suave voice are perfect for the role. Jimmy Stewart’s insecurity and constant mumbling contribute to create a very sympathetic character, and the plot, so modest and – in a way – “proletarian”, is the proof old movies weren’t all peaches and cream. The beginning and the central part of the movie are somewhat touching and believable, while the end is a bit unrealistic and melodramatic. Luckily Cromwell stopped the last twenty minutes of pure melodrama with a happy end.

Rating: 8+

Worth watching: Yes



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