After nearly a decade of nominal "leading lady" roles, Carole Lombard landed her first genuine starring vehicle with Hands Across the Table. Reasoning that the way to a man's heart is through his cuticles, Regi Allen (Carole Lombard) takes a job as a manicurist at a fancy barbershop, unabashedly admitting that she hopes to use this position to snag a rich husband. Sure enough, Regi's charms prove irresistable to Allen Macklyn (Ralph Bellamy) a wealthy and charming invalid, who knows that the girl is a golddigger but doesn't care. The other man in Regi's life is Theodore "Ted" Drew III (Fred MacMurray), who though born into a wealthy family is stone broke, and on the verge of marrying a rich debutante (Astrid Allwyn) to replenish his lost fortune. Hoping to briefly escape this fate and his other financial problems, Theodore hides out in Regi's apartment. It is, of course, a platonic relationship: Having been burned in the past, Regi doesn't want to get romantically entangled with a pauper, while Ted is already promised to someone else. But, as is often the case in 1930s comedies, things don't quite turn out the way that either Regi or Ted expect. Full of delightful, unexpected touches, Hands Across the Table proved to be a major boost for Carole Lombard's career, and didn't exactly do any harm to up-and-coming Fred MacMurray either.
by Hal Erickson synopsis