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Film / Hard to Get

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Hard to Get is a 1938 American romantic comedy film directed by Ray Enright and starring Dick Powell and Olivia de Havilland.

Margaret (de Havilland) is a spoiled young heiress who tries to charge some gasoline at an auto court and is forced by the attendant (Powell) to work out her bill by making beds and cleaning rooms. Resolving to get even, she pretends to have forgiven him, and then sends him to her father to get financing for a business plan he has, knowing he will only be wasting his time. Of course, she doesn't count on hilarity and complications ensuing.


This film features examples of:

  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: While she seems to be actually in her twenties, this trope otherwise fits Margaret like a glove, acting spoiled for much of the film.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Margaret's dad Ben overall takes pretty understandable decisions through the film. When she asks her father to have Bill fired —as he is on the board of the oil company that owns the station Bill works on— he agrees with the way Bill handled the issue and tells her she'll have to find her own way of getting her revenge, and thinks that Bill's idea of a national chain of auto courts has great potential and plans to finance the project.
  • Uptown Girl: He's a gas station attendant, she's the daughter of an oil tycoon.
  • Work Off the Debt: When Margaret doesn't have the $3.50 for the gasoline she charged to her car, Bill offers to let her work off her debt by making the beds and cleaning the rooms at the auto court motel, and Margaret has no choice but to comply.