review for Reckless on AllMovie

Reckless (1935)
by Craig Butler review

Reckless sought to make a singing and dancing star out of a talented comedian that could neither sing nor dance -- not really the recipe for a successful musical film. But then again, the cooks who made Reckless couldn't decide what kind of film they wanted to make in the first place. Thus, they threw in a crowd of songwriters who contributed songs that were really just shoehorned into the mangled plot that the screenwriter devised. Director Victor Fleming, given the unenviable job of trying to make this stew into something palatable, concentrates on coaxing decent performances from the cast, with mixed results. William Powell does just fine, giving a relaxed performance that gains in strength by avoiding excess pushing, and May Robson and Rosalind Russell make the most of their supporting roles. But Franchot Tone doesn't know what to do with his role other than look handsome, and poor Jean Harlow, clearly uncomfortable with her musical chores, never really finds her character. Her singing is dubbed and much of her dancing is doubled, but her distress is still obvious. And while she has some individual comic and dramatic moments that score, they don't add up to a performance. Muddled and pointless, Reckless just never comes together.