She Couldn't Take It

She Couldn't Take It is a 1935 screwball comedy film made at Columbia Pictures, directed by Tay Garnett, written by C. Graham Baker, Gene Towne and Oliver H.P. Garrett, and starring George Raft and Joan Bennett. It was one of the few comedies Raft made in his career.[1]

She Couldn't Take It
Directed byTay Garnett
Produced byB. P. Schulberg
Written byOliver H.P. Garrett
Based onstory by C. Graham Baker
Gene Towne
StarringGeorge Raft
Joan Bennett
Walter Connolly
Billie Burke
Lloyd Nolan
Wallace Ford
Music byHoward Jackson
Louis Silvers
CinematographyLeon Shamroy
Edited byGene Havlick
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • October 8, 1935 (1935-10-08)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States


The film tells the story of the wealthy family Van Dyke: a frustrated patriarch Dan (Walter Connolly); his self-centered wife (Billie Burke); and his spoiled children Tony (James Blakeley) and Carol (Joan Bennett). They have constant run-ins for outrageous behavior.

Dan Van Dyke is sent to prison for tax evasion. His cellmate is bootlegger and fellow convicted tax evader Ricardi. The two men become friends and when Van Dyke dies from a poor heart, he puts Ricardi in charge of his interests.



The film is based on a story by writers C. Graham Baker and Gene Towne, with the screenplay by Oliver H.P. Garrett.[2]

Raft was loaned to Columbia by Paramount Pictures to make the film.[3] Writers Baker and Towne and actress Joan Bennett were under contract to Walter Wanger,[4] and Wanger had an agreement to distribute his films through Paramount.[5] Bennett was thus considered on loan-out as well.[6] Walter Byron was originally cast as Alec Hamlin, but was replaced by Alan Mowbray two weeks into filming.[7] Donald Meek and James Blakely were added to cast the third week of August.[8] Wallace Ford replaced Raymond Walburn a day later.[9]

The film was originally known as Rich Man's Daughter,[10] but was changed to She Couldn't Take It about August 22, 1935.[11] It was B.P. Schulberg's first film in a six-picture deal he had with Columbia Pictures.[12] Columbia Pictures, with little space at its Gower Street studios, leased California Studios, a single-soundstage motion picture production facility a block east of Gower Street[13] just a few days before shooting on She Couldn't Take It began on July 16, 1935. The film was the first Columbia feature shot at California Studios.[14] Columbia's chief costume and fashion designer, Robert Kalloch, designed Bennett's wardrobe. Previously known for her demure and conservative appearance, Kalloch's gowns permanently transformed the actress into the epitome of chic.[15]

George Raft, Joan Bennett, Billie Burke, and Walter Connolly did an abbreviated version of the film's plot on Dick Powell's "Hollywood Hotel" radio program in late August 1935 to promote the film.[16]


The New York Times said the film "has a clinical interest as an example of the confused resentment against the idle rich which Hollywood has been displaying lately" in which the opening scenes "offer considerable promise for a bright-faced comedy of society foibles" but which went downhill once Walter Connolly's character died.[17]

The Los Angeles Times called it "George Raft's best picture" with an "inventive scenario" and "unexpected twists".[18]

After making the film, Tay Garnett went on an around the world cruise.[19]


  1. Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 66
  2. "Columbia News". Tensas Gazette. September 13, 1935. p. 1.
  3. Parish & Whitney 1973, p. 101.
  4. Bernstein 1994, p. 111.
  5. Bernstein 1994, pp. 94–95.
  6. Parsons, Louella (July 5, 1935). "Snapshots From Hollywood". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. D2; Skolsky, Sidney (July 30, 1935). "Hollywood". New York Daily News. p. 32.
  7. Adams, Marjory (August 3, 1935). "Movie Facts and Fancies". The Boston Globe. p. 11.
  8. "Picture Parade". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 20, 1935. p. 6.
  9. "Picture Parade". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 21, 1935. p. 8.
  10. Scheuer, P.K. (August 21, 1935). "Roma Gabriel, European Songstress-Actress, Will Star in Herbert Operetta". Los Angeles Times. p. 9.
  11. "New Title". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 23, 1935. p. 6.
  12. "Columbia Pictures Plans 52 Features". The New York Times. July 2, 1935. p. 24.
  13. Stephens & Wanamaker 2014, p. 52.
  14. "Studio Adds to Its Space". The Los Angeles Times. July 16, 1935. p. B2.
  15. Day, Sara (pseudonym of Sally Richards; née Sara Lou Dague; 1904–2001) (October 13, 1935). "Joan Bennett Threatens the Laurels of Sister Connie With a New Flair for Elegance". The Fashion Parade. Screen & Radio Weekly. A nationally syndicated Sunday newspaper supplement published by the Free Press. p. 6 via; subscription required.
  16. "Introduces Movie Stars Over Radio". Minneapolis Star. August 23, 1935. p. 8.
  17. Sennwalk, Andrew (November 7, 1935). "'She Couldn't Take It,' a Comedy of the Idle Rich, at the Center -- 'The Melody Lingers On.'". New York Times.
  18. Scheuer, P. K. (1935, Nov 08). Raft star of clever tale at paramount. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  19. A film director of sea tales goes after his own firsthand. (1935, Nov 03). The Washington Post (1923-1954) Retrieved from


  • Bernstein, Matthew (1994). Walter Wanger, Hollywood Independent. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520081277.
  • Parish, James Robert; Whitney, Steven (1973). The George Raft File: The Unauthorized Biography. New York: Drake Publishers. ISBN 9780877495208.
  • Stephens, E.J.; Wanamaker, Marc (2014). Early Poverty Row Studios. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781467132589.
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