Saturday, November 8, 2014
LIBELED LADY (1936)
Spencer Tracy is a stressed out newspaper man engaged to be married to hot-headed Jean Harlow. On the morning of their latest wedding day (the marriage keeps getting postponed due to newspaper crises), the newspaper prints a false story about the wealthy Myrna Loy having an affair with a married man. She threatens to sue the paper for $5m, so in an act of desperation the newspaper hires suave ladies man William Powell to secretly marry Jean Harlow and then seduce Myrna Loy so the newspaper can catch her in Powell's arms and have the case dropped. That all sounds good in theory, but Fate throws a monkey wrench in the works by having Powell fall in love with Loy while at the same time Harlow falls in love with Powell!
The idea for the movie is brilliant, but when you throw in not one, not two, not three but four of the greatest stars of silver screen plus the amazing Walter Connolly as Loy's protective father...then you have yourself a surefire screwball classic! Quick pace that never slows down, wonderful chemistry between the leads, funny lines, hilarious physical comedy, Loy and Harlow are both beautiful. I've revisited this film many times over the years and I still laugh each time. William Powell is especially great. His yodel when he walks into to Loy's mansion is hysterical.
Five years later, in 1941, Jack Conway directed another Loy/Powell classic LOVE CRAZY which is almost as funny as LIBELED LADY. Both are highly recommended.