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Film / Fools for Scandal

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Fools for Scandal is a 1938 Screwball Comedy film produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Carole Lombard and Fernand Gravet, and featuring Ralph Bellamy and Isabel Jeans, among others.

After meeting her in Paris, a penniless marquis relentlessly pursues a famous actress. Rene is broke and Kay Winters (Lombard) is a film star visiting Paris, where she meets Rene (Fernand Gravet). She doesn't know that Rene is a French marquis, and almost all of Paris doesn't know that Rene lost all his money and is penniless. He is smitten by her, but she leaves for London and he follows, and at her house, a misunderstanding allows him to get close to her.

This was Lombard's last screwball comedy of the '30s; afterwards she took more dramatic roles, before returning to comedy for her two last movies, Alfred Hitchcock's Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) and To Be or Not to Be (1942).

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This film features examples of:

  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: When Rene has a mishap with his clothes, he obtains two carpets to wrap them around himself. Unfortunately for him, two women who believe that he is selling the carpets demand to buy them, and in an argument between the women and Kay, the carpets are pulled from Rene and he runs away in his underwear.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rene's friend Dewey has some amusing comebacks, such as when Rene laments to him that Kay is going to marry Phillip:
    Rene: When I think of a girl like Kay getting married in Fort Wayne, I could cry.
    Dewey: When I think of anybody getting married in Fort Wayne, I could could cry.
    Rene: If you were a girl, Dewey, wouldn't you rather marry me than Mr. Philip Chester?
    Dewey: If I were a girl, I'd rather marry me.
  • Gay Paree: The film begins with Kay traveling through Paris with the typical landscapes.
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  • Gossipy Hens: Lady Malverton seems to take spreading gossip as her hobby.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Rene is a French marquis who has lost all his money, something Paris society does not know.
  • I Was Just Joking: When Rene covers for a chef at a party hosted by Kay. After tasting the food that Rene prepares, Kay, as a joke, offers him a job as her cook. Rene, delighted, accepts without Kay knowing, and before she realizes it, the gossip about her having a manservant living under the same roof as her spreads, and the tabloids run reports that Rene is Kay's "love chef".
  • Mistaken for Servant: More like Mistaken for Salesman, but when Rene has a mishap with his clothes and has to obtain two carpets from a salesman to wrap them around himself, two women who believe that he is selling the carpets demand to buy them. In an argument between the women and Kay, the carpets are pulled from Rene and he runs away in his underwear.
  • Romantic False Lead: Ralph Bellamy has to play "guy who gets dumped by the female lead", a role in which he was typecasted in the '30s, in his role as Phillip Chester here.

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