Cast & Crew
New York secretary Linda Lawrence is determined to become a success in the advertising business. She pitches an idea to her boss, Harvey C. Bates, so convincingly that he invites her to dinner at his house to talk further. Linda's fellow worker, Jimmy Hall, who is in love with her, pretends to be a messenger so he can see exactly what is going on at Bates' house. Bates plays matchmaker and sends the two of them to a nightclub as his guests, and by the end of the evening they are in love with each other. Jimmy wants to get married immediately, but Linda, who is now a copywriter, is interested in pursuing her career. Because she is attractive, men in powerful positions are eager to listen to her ideas. The only other woman copywriter, Beatrice Harris, is initially jealous of Linda, but eventually the women become friends. Bea holds a weekend party, where Linda meets Harry Galleon, a radio executive. She flirts with him, hoping to get her ad on the radio, and Jimmy sulks. When Harry's ex-fiancée, Wanda Townsend, pays too much attention to Jimmy, however, Linda is upset. By the end of the weekend, Linda and Jimmy have decided to get married immediately. Linda keeps her job, but when she works late one night, Jimmy insists that she quit. They quarrel, but finally, she agrees to quit and be the "woman behind the man." At first she is happy in her new role, but when Jimmy turns down a better job because he believes it is too risky, Linda is angry at his lack of ambition and walks out of the marriage to return to work. Stung by her accusations, Jimmy takes the new job and rises rapidly. Although they still love each other, they plan to get divorced. When Jimmy learns that Linda is leaving for Paris with Galleon, he chases after her, stopping her just before she leaves. They make up, and when Galleon arrives on board the ship, he finds Wanda waiting in his stateroom.
Max Hoffman Jr.
Leo F. Forbstein
F. Hugh Herbert
Norman Reilly Raine
Jack L. Warner
Men Are Such Fools
He's billed third, under Wayne Morris and Priscilla Lane, two young actors whom Warner Bros. was trying to build up as a team: they had just appeared together in Love, Honor and Behave (1938) and would be paired again in Brother Rat (1938) and its sequel Brother Rat and a Baby (1940). Here, Lane plays an advertising executive caught between the demands of work and marriage, personified by boss (Bogart) and husband (Morris).
Critics were unimpressed, with Variety calling it "routine" and complaining that Morris and Lane seemed too young for their parts. The New York Times declared it to be "about an hour too long" -- a sarcastic swipe since the film runs barely over an hour.
According to Bogart biographers A.M. Sperber and Eric Lax (Bogart), Warner Bros. had just signed Bogart to a new contract that would pay $1100 per week for forty weeks with an option for two more years at $2000 per week. Why they put him in an unremarkable romantic comedy like Men Are Such Fools is puzzling. The film was "so weak that at one point [Hal] Wallis was ready to scrap the whole thing. He probably would have done so if the story about hanky-panky in an ad agency had not already been purchased for Busby Berkeley...who yearned for new challenges."
Indeed, director Berkeley was looking to demonstrate that he was more than just a genius at making innovative musicals. "I wanted to prove," he later said, "that I could handle a straight dramatic assignment..., and that is why I did films like Comet Over Broadway , They Made Me a Criminal , Fast and Furious , and Men are Such Fools. I had done dramatic work during my period of working on the stage back east and knew that I could do a good job with dramatic or comedy films." (Bob Pike and Dave Martin, The Genius of Busby Berkeley)
Berkeley was impressed with Bogart's professionalism in such a trivial role. It would have been very easy for the actor to ham it up or not take it seriously as a way of protesting the assignment. "Bogie was never any trouble to me at all," recalled Berkeley. "He felt, and I agreed with him, that he should be working in better films, but whatever discontent he felt, he took out on the bosses, not on the people he was working with. As far as I know, he never refused to play a part. His credo was to keep working, and I agreed with him on that point, too." (Tony Thomas, The Busby Berkeley Book)
Apparently Bogart's good work ethic extended even to a scene that he resisted doing to the last minute - finally he gave in, and dived into a swimming pool in a shoulders-to-thigh bathing suit.
Look for Carole Landis in an uncredited bit part, playing a girl named June.
Director: Busby Berkeley
Screenplay: Norman Reilly Raine, Horace Jackson; Faith Baldwin (novel "Men Are Such Fools"); Stanley Logan (uncredited)
Cinematography: Sid Hickox
Art Direction: Max Parker
Music: Heinz Roemheld (uncredited)
Film Editing: Jack Killifer
Cast: Wayne Morris (James 'Jimmy' Hall), Priscilla Lane (Linda Lawrence Hall), Humphrey Bogart (Harry Galleon), Hugh Herbert (Harvey C. Bates), Johnnie Davis (Tad Turkel), Penny Singleton (Nancy Crowel Turkel), Mona Barrie (Miss Beatrice 'Bea' Harris), Marcia Ralston (Wanda Townsend), Gene Lockhart (Bill Dalton), Kathleen Lockhart (Mrs. Dalton), Donald Briggs (George Onslow), Nedda Harrigan (Mrs. Gertrude Nelson)
BW-69m. Closed Captioning.
by Jeremy Arnold
Men Are Such Fools
The novel first appeared in serial form in The Saturday Evening Post (21 March-25 April 1936). Although the Call Bureau Cast Service lists Ken Niles in the role of the radio announcer, Warner Bros. studio records credit Wendell Niles with the role.
Released in United States 1938
Released in United States 1938