Jeff Williams (Clark Gable), Dill Todd (Robert Montgomery), and Mary Clay (Joan Crawford, and not to be confused with the Lana Turner character from They Won’t Forget) have been friends since childhood. For the past twenty years, Mary has been in love with Dill and Jeff has been in love with Mary. Years later, Jeff goes off to Spain on a long trip and Dill and Mary decide to get married. When Jeff returns, not knowing Mary and Dill are engaged, he comes home determined to finally tell Mary how he feels about her. But when he arrives, he realizes he’s just in time for their wedding. He’s a little deflated, but keeps his chin up, offers to give the bride away, and starts enjoying the pre-wedding festivities.
The night before the wedding is Dill’s bachelor party, and everybody has a swell time. When Dill gets back to his room at the end of the night, he’s surprised to get a visit from Connie (Frances Drake), a past girlfriend. She’s heard that he’s getting married and has shown up to make one last attempt to win him back. Even though he resists at first, he ends up sending Mary a telegram the next day announcing that he’s run off and married Connie instead. Humiliated, Mary goes to spend some time in the country with her Aunt Paula. After a while, Jeff comes to visit and to see how she’s doing. He also comes bearing some of her mail, which includes an invitation to a party Connie and Dill are having. Jeff tries to talk her out of going, but she insists on going anyway. When she and Jeff arrive at the party, Dill was surprised to see them because he had no idea Connie had invited them. But once he sees Mary, he remembers just how much he loved her.
After the party, Dill keeps trying to see Mary. Even though Jeff tells her to stay away from him, she won’t listen. One day, they get together and take a trip out into the country. But then they have a minor car accident and get caught in the rain. But luckily for them, they aren’t too far from Aunt Paula’s country home so they crash there for the night. Dill calls his valet to come pick him up, but secretly tells him not to come until the next day. Nothing too scandalous happens that night, but Dill does get burned badly while trying to build a fire in the fireplace. The next morning, Aunt Paula finds out that the two of them are there and calls Jeff to go with her to get them out. Little do they know that Connie is also on her way over since Dill’s valet tipped her off. Paula and Jeff get there first and when Jeff finds a burned up Dill, who now has a cold from walking in the rain, sleeping on the couch, he realizes nothing happened and has a good laugh at his friend’s unfortunate night. But then Connie arrives and wants a divorce. After all that they’ve been through, Dill and Mary once again decide to get married. And once again, Jeff shows up before their wedding determined to tell Mary how he feels. But this time he goes through with it. After he leaves to catch a boat to Spain, Mary realizes that she loves him, too, and runs after him. This time it’s Dill who gets left at the altar.
I think Forsaking All Others is something of an underrated 1930s Joan Crawford movie. It’s not Oscar material, but it is a pretty fun little comedy. Joan and Clark Gable always made a fantastic team and they are in top form here. Robert Montgomery was pretty fun, too. Billie Burke doesn’t have a big part and she basically just plays the same type of character she did in Dinner at Eight. Even though I liked Frances Drake as the conniving Connie, I might have been interested in seeing Rosalind Russell in that part. This was only Rosalind Russell’s third movie and she doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but I think she might have done well as Connie. The writing is pretty fast paced and sharp, which Roz later proved she was a pro at working with, so I think she could have done well in a bigger part. If you’re a fan of either Joan, Clark Gable, or Robert Montgomery, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.