Nothing Sacred is the keenest of all the screwball comedies to shine a light on society’s ills. What is “screwy” in this film isn’t just a woman but America as a whole; it is a land of opportunists – not to mention liars, cheats and scoundrels – with opportunity.
Hecht's witty script speaks for itself, but Wellman, pace his reputation as something of a journeyman hack, contributes a beguiling (if somewhat mystifying) formal playfulness, repeatedly placing obstacles between his actors and the camera. Are we being chided for voyeurism, in keeping with the film's patent disgust at the public craning its collective neck to see Hazel bravely dying?
A "screwball satire" (Pauline Kael) and a biting comedy about journalism, Nothing Sacred is one of Wellman's most celebrated films and one of the least related to his own canon. Comedy was not his terrain – this film rips right through the delicate fabric of the Thirties' genre variations (sophisticated, screwball, romantic).