Idiot's Delight

Watch Idiot's Delight

"The Biggest Thrill They Ever Gave You! Norma and Clark together in the romance of a "ham" song-and-dance man and a "red-headed liar from Omaha.""
  • Approved
  • 1939
  • 1 hr 47 min
  • 6.5  (1,646)

Idiot's Delight, released in 1939, stars the legendary Hollywood actors Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, and Edward Arnold. This brilliant adaptation of Robert E. Sherwood's Broadway play takes place in a luxury hotel nestled in the Italian Alps, where a diverse group of people are stranded due to the outbreak of World War II. The movie presents contrasting personalities, political convictions, and motivations while exploring the human condition during such challenging times. Clark Gable portrays Harry Van, a flamboyant American song-and-dance man, who keeps the stranded passengers entertained with his humor and energetic acts. Harry finds himself reunited with his former flame, Norma Shearer's character, Irene, a glamorous and sophisticated singer. Together, they reignite their old love and realize that they still have feelings for each other.

The movie takes an unexpected turn when an Italian officer arrives at the hotel and informs the guests that a war has broken out, and they must remain there until further notice. As the reality of the war begins to sink in, tensions and anxieties start to grow among the guests, who come from the United States, Germany, Britain, France, and Russia, and have diverse cultural backgrounds, ideologies, and beliefs.

One of that guest is the wealthy American arms dealer, Achille Weber, played by Edward Arnold, who is traveling with his trophy wife, Beulah, portrayed by Laura Hope Crews. Weber's character is cunning, opportunistic, and shrewd. His business during the war will make him rich, but it also puts him in danger. Arnold's portrayal of Weber is magnificent, and he steals every scene he is in.

Another guest is the aristocratic Austrian, Dr. Waldersee, played by Charles Coburn. Waldersee's character is a vivacious and charming man, but he also carries a dark secret. Coburn's performance is elegant and shows the range of his character. He brings a lot of depth to this film.

The political issues become the topic of discussion among the stranded passengers, thereby increasing the escalating tensions among them. The American pacifist, Quillary (played by Burgess Meredith), disagrees with the German Major (Curt Bois) on the benefits of war. Quillary represents the voice of reason and logic despite being ridiculed and vilified by the fellow passengers. Similarly, the French Communist (Joseph Schildkraut) and the Russian aristocrat (Peter Godfrey) have conflicting thoughts on the war, and it creates hostile scenes.

The movie's highlight is the performance of all-star cast doing "Puttin' on the Ritz" (From Irving Berlin's original 1927 musical, "Puttin' on the Ritz"), performed by Clark Gable and other cast members. The scene is very exhilarating, and it's one of the most memorable moments of the movie.

Idiot's Delight is a poignant, thought-provoking, and witty war drama that delves into the human psyche and explores human emotions during a global conflict. The film's screenplay is engaging, and the story is compelling, complete with surprising twists and turns that keep the audience invested throughout the film. The film is directed by Clarence Brown, who has worked with Shearer and Gable and understands their strength and weaknesses.

The movie's strength lies in the chemistry between Shearer and Gable, who were both known for their successful pairing in the MGM movies. Shearer's character, Irene, is sophisticated and elegant, and her chemistry with Gable's Harry is intense and passionate. They deliver a magnetic performance that underscores why they were Hollywood's golden couple.

In conclusion, Idiot's Delight is a masterfully crafted and emotionally charged movie that deserves high praise for its fantastic acting, engaging plotline, excellent direction, and memorable music. The movie is a timeless classic that has aged well and continues to be a favorite of film buffs all over the world. It's a must-see for fans of Shearer, Gable, and Arnold and a testament to Hollywood's golden era.

Idiot's Delight is a 1939 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.

Idiot's Delight
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 47 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (1,646)