18 user 3 critic

Hard to Get (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 5 November 1938 (USA)
When spoiled young heiress Maggie Richards tries to charge some gasoline at an auto camp run by Bill Davis, he makes her work out her bill by making beds. Resolving to get even, she ... See full summary »


Ray Enright


Jerry Wald (screen play), Maurice Leo (screen play) | 4 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Dick Powell ... Bill Davis
Olivia de Havilland ... Margaret 'Maggie' Richards (as Olivia De Havilland)
Charles Winninger ... Ben Richards
Allen Jenkins ... Roscoe
Bonita Granville ... Connie
Melville Cooper ... Case
Isabel Jeans ... Mrs. Richards
Grady Sutton ... Stanley Potter
Thurston Hall ... Atwater
John Ridgely ... Burke
Penny Singleton ... Hattie
Granville Bates ... Judge Harkness
Jack Mower ... Schaff


When spoiled young heiress Maggie Richards tries to charge some gasoline at an auto camp run by Bill Davis, he makes her work out her bill by making beds. Resolving to get even, she pretends to have forgiven him, and sends him to her father to get financing for a plan Bill has. What happens next was not part of her original revenge plan. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

5 November 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

For Lovers Only See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The car Margaret borrows and drives out of gas is a 1937 Ford DeLuxe Cabriolet (model 78). Less than 19,000 were made. See more »


When Bill is forcibly carrying Margaret from her car after she can't pay for the gas, just after they pass the pumps the shadow of the boom microphone can be seen following them on the ground. See more »


Margaret Richards: May I have your hat sir?
Bill Davis: Yeah. Say, take it easy, its the only one I got.
Margaret Richards: I'll put it in the safe.
See more »


References The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) See more »


Love Is Where You Find It
(1938) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played at the banquet when Bill tells Maggie of his plans
See more »

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User Reviews

Delightful Screwball Escapade
21 December 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A spoiled rich girl wants revenge on the gas station attendant who humiliated her - he wants to sell his idea for auto courts across America; both are about to learn that some things in life are very HARD TO GET.

This is a wonderful, hilarious screwball comedy, boasting good performances, genuine laughs & fine production values. Witty & winning, it is a shame it is so obscure today.

Dick Powell appears to be having a terrific time as the young go-getter with the big ideas. As eager to please as a puppy dog, he enthusiastically hurls himself into the zany plot permutations. Whether impersonating Jolson singing ‘Sonny Boy,' or introducing the song hit ‘You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby,' Powell is never less than entertaining.

Lovely Olivia de Havilland is a pure pleasure to watch as she slowly bends to Powell's winning ways. Considered more of a dramatic actress, her considerable comedic talents are on full display here. The scene where she attempts to serve a fancy dinner while impersonating her maid is a quiet riot.

An unusually large cast of supporting players help move the fun right along: cuddly Charles Winninger as Olivia's physical fitness mad dad; Isabel Jeans & Bonita Granville as his insufferably snooty wife & youngest daughter; Melville Cooper as Winninger's long-suffering valet; Allen Jenkins as Powell's dimwitted buddy; Thurston Hall as a banker with a dangerous love of practical joking; Grady Sutton as Olivia's flaccid suitor; and Penny Singleton as a wonderfully unsophisticated servant.

Movie mavens will recognize Arthur Housman as a polite inebriate, and Arthur Hoyt, Vera Lewis & Jimmy Conlin as attendees at a flower lovers' banquet, all uncredited.

Rear projection screening was the bane of the cinema for years, as its patently fake visuals tended to distract from the action. HARD TO GET, therefore, deserves some credit for its splendidly vertiginous high-rise construction segment, which really does grab hold of the viewer's spine.

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