Cain and Mabel

Cain and Mabel is a 1936 romantic comedy film designed as a vehicle for Marion Davies in which she co-stars with Clark Gable. The story had been filmed before, in 1924, by William Randolph Hearst's production company, Cosmopolitan, as a silent called The Great White Way, starring Anita Stewart and Oscar Shaw. In this version, Robert Paige introduced the song "I'll Sing You a Thousand Love Songs", with music by Harry Warren and words by Al Dubin, who also wrote "Coney Island", "Here Comes Chiquita", and other songs.

Cain and Mabel
sheet music for
"I'll Sing You a Thousand Love Songs"
Directed byLloyd Bacon
Produced byHal B. Wallis
Jack L. Warner
Written byH.C. Witwer (story)
Screenplay byLaird Doyle
StarringMarion Davies
Clark Gable
Allen Jenkins
Robert Paige
Music bySongs:
Harry Warren (music)
Al Dubin (lyrics)
Bernhard Kaun
Heinz Roemheld
(both uncredited)[1]
CinematographyGeorge Barnes
Edited byWilliam Holmes
Release date
  • September 26, 1936 (1936-09-26)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States


Waitress-turned-Broadway star Mabel O'Dare (Marion Davies) and garage-mechanic-turned-prize fighter Larry Cain (Clark Gable) dislike each other intensely, but press agent Aloysius K. Reilly (Roscoe Karns) cooks up a phony romance between them for publicity. Inevitably, the two fall in love for real, and plan on getting married, with Mabel quitting show business to be a housewife and Cain quitting the fight racket to run garages in New Jersey.

When their entourages get wind of their plan, they plant the story in the newspapers, and each thinks the other one betrayed their secret - until Mabel's aunt (Ruth Donnelly) tells Mabel the truth. Mabel abandons her show and rushes to Philadelphia where Cain is fighting. Having been told by his manager that Mabel is going to marry crooner Ronny Caudwell (Robert Paige), an enraged Cain is waging an all-out fight against his opponent, until he hears Mabel's voice and is knocked down. Reilly confesses to Cain that he was the one who leaked the story, and Cain's second, DoDo (Allen Jenkins) accidentally throws a towel into the ring, making Cain the loser by a technical knockout. But since Mabel has bet on the other boxer, the newly reunited couple will have a tidy nest egg to start their new life together.


Production and reception

Shooting on Cain and Mabel was delayed because the part of the leading man, which eventually went to Clark Gable, had not yet been cast.[2] Publisher William Randolph Hearst, Marion Davies' lover, convinced Warner Bros. studio head Jack L. Warner, an old friend, to get Gable from MGM as Davies' co-star.[1] Hearst wielded considerably influence on the production: he also rejected Dick Powell for the part which went to Robert Paige billed here as "David Carlyle" apparently because he was jealous, as he perceived that Davies found Powell attractive.[1]

The film was a box-office flop, with critics finding that Gable was miscast as a fighter.[1]

Awards and honors

Cain and Mabel was nominated for a 1937 Academy Award for "Best Dance Direction" by Bobby Connolly.[3][4][5]


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