on April 25, 2005
Another reason to enjoy DVDs, the remastering of old classics. This is is a thoroughly wonderful farce about social status, pretensions, and finding love. In some ways, it's a traditional costume piece from the Great Depression but really the film is timeless. The show is stolen by William Powell as the con-artist (who meets his match) and Myrna Loy (the socialite who sees through the con but still falls for him). With wonderful performances from Jean Harlow (as the - many times- jilted financee/bride) and Spencer Tracey (the cynical newspaper editor who sets up the con to block a libel suit). The dialogue is fast-paced, with marvellous puns and asides. But the best is good old-fashioned slapstick humour: Powell, who has portrayed himself as an expert angler, tries to catch a fish and you'll be rolling with laughter at the attempt. One of a series of classic films re-released recently and well worth your money. Enjoy.
on March 9, 2002
This film has a plot that is quite complicated to describe, although as the film progresses, it all makes sense. Essentially, Myrna Loy is an heiress suing a newspaper for libel (five million dollar lawsuit), and Spencer Tracy defends his newspaper by using fiancee Jean Harlow and writer William Powell to prove that the story his paper originally printed about Loy was actually true. Relationships then get very tangled as this comedy proceeds. The plot is fun, and some of the dialogue humourous, but the real strength is its star package. Jean Harlow gets some scenes where she cuts loose and shows the comedic range she possessed (might surprise you). Spencer Tracy plays the driven newspaperman with a lot of energy and edge. But it's really William Powell and Myrna Loy who own this film. What chemistry the two had on camera! Of course, they proved that in film after film, and this is a prime example. Witty, sophisticated, sexy are just some of the words for the two on screen. Powell in particular is in top form here, and as everyone notes about this film, his fishing scene is the highlight of the film. Star power is what this film is all about, with a complicated story and some good laughs thrown in for good measure.
on February 23, 2002
With a lesser cast, this might not have been the film it is. The script, while good, is not conducive to making a great film. In fact, if one stands back and thinks about the film as a whole, nothing really stands out in any way, except the cast.
This is a movie that is redeemed and made excellent by the actors themselves. William Powell in particular shines in this one, along with the always-delightful Myrna Loy. How many films did those two make together? They were so intensely identified with one another that when Powell made THE SENATOR WAS INDISCREET and they needed a cameo stand in for his wife, Loy made uncredited appearance. Spencer Tracy is his usual excellent self, and Jean Harlow, in one of the last films she made before her tragic death, is excellent as the much-misused fiancé/wife of Tracy and Powell. Ironically, although many assumed that Powell and Loy were married to each other, Powell and Harlow had an affair, and were engaged to be married when she died of untreated uremic poisoning. Walter Connolly, who adorned some of the finest film comedies of the 1930s, also excels as Myrna Loy's father.
All in all, not a great movie in itself, but a movie made great by several star performances.
on July 18, 2000
I must admit, I didn't know what to expect from this film. I bought it mostly because I am a loyal Powell/Loy fan. However, since no video stores in my area rented it, I took a chance and bought it, and I am so glad I did. This movie does not seem to have the popularity that screwball comedies such as "Bringing Up Baby," "The Awful Truth," and "My Man Godfrey" enjoy but, believe me, it should. All Harlow, Tracy, Loy, and especially Powell, are at their comedic best in this film. Anyone who is a Powell/Loy fan will enjoy the ever-present chemistry that those two could generate. Tracy gives a fine performance as the ambitious newspaper owner, who is secretly afraid of commitment. Loy is perfect as the spoiled yet vulnerable heiress. Harlow completely surprised me with her comedic range. She comes very close to stealing the show, however, in the end, I feel the credit for the success of this movie falls on Powell. As most of the reviewers have mentioned, the fishing trip is hysterical! Whether he is plotting, smooth-talking, or beginning to feel pangs of guilt for his deception and developing feelings for Loy, Powell is always the one to watch. Treat yourself and see this movie! You won't regret it!
on June 12, 2000
A libel suit, filed against a newspaper that knows it won't have a leg to stand on in court, triggers a chain of events that plays havoc with a number of relationships in "Libeled Lady," a classic romantic comedy directed by Jack Conway. On his wedding day, newspaper editor Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) is summoned back to work before he ever reaches the church; there's a crisis at hand, and he's responsible, albeit indirectly. In his absence, another editor allowed a libelous story to make the front page; a story alleging a dalliance between a certain Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy), one of the richest women in the country, and a married man. When, at the last minute, the paper discovers the story is false, the edition is recalled, but it's too late; fifty copies make it into circulation, and Connie Allenbury sues the paper to the tune of five million dollars. If they can't convince her to drop the suit, the paper is ruined. That's a tall order, however, for the Allenbury's have a long-running feud with the paper (twenty years), and Haggerty knows there's only one way to deal with it: They have to catch Connie Allenbury in a compromising position. It just so happens that a former employee of the paper, Bill Chandler (William Powell), is an expert at handling such matters. According to Haggerty's plan, Chandler will court Miss Allenbury, and when the time is right, his wife (along with a photographer) will catch them in the act. But first, the single Chandler needs a wife, and it has to be a legal marriage that will hold up in court. And Haggerty has just the woman for the part: Gladys (Jean Harlow), his own bride-to-be, still smarting from being left alone at the altar. He convinces her it will be in name only for one month, after which time she will enjoy a six week vacation in Reno (allowing for the divorce proceedings), and after that, everything's jake. When she agrees, knowing how much the paper means to Haggerty, it begins a comedic interlude with a new twist arriving at every turn. The legendary Harlow is an absolute delight here, as the spunky Gladys, the girl taken for granted for too long, and who enters the fray determined to get what she really wants: A loving husband. Tracy is right at home as the fast-talking newspaperman, married to the job and too thick-headed to realize what a treasure he has in Gladys. Loy is charming as the sophisticated Connie, the guarded aristocrat with the down-to-earth sense of who she really is, and Powell is marvelous, bringing a subtle, self-deprecating sense of humor to the ever-gentlemanly Bill Chandler. This is a funny movie, with some truly memorable scenes, especially one in which Chandler first learns how to fish, then must put his newly acquired "skills" to the test during a fishing trip with Connie and her father, Mr. Allenbury (Walter Connolly), who is an expert fisherman. Watching Chandler being put through the paces is a riot. The supporting cast includes Charley Grapewin (Mr. Bane), Cora Witherspoon (Mrs. Burns-Norvell), E.E. Clive (The fishing instructor), and Billy Benedict (Johnny). With outstanding performances all around, "Libeled Lady" is a joy to watch, from beginning to end. The story is clever, the dialogue witty, and it's all charmingly put together and delivered by Conway. And there's a kind of graceful ambience to this film that keeps the humor fresh no matter how many times you see it. This is timeless entertainment, a classic depiction of human nature that rings as true today as it did all those many years ago when it was created; a priceless connection to another era, of another time.
on January 13, 2000
Newspaper editor Tracy leaves his prospective bride, Harlow, at the church to determine why his paper printed a juicy scandal about millionairess Loy.........This is a smashing comedy with four great stars, given a crackling script, and smooth direction. The laughs come rolling off the screen in just about every sequence and this ranks as one of the best screwball comedies of the thirties. Tracy is the managing editor of a newspaper and he erroneously prints a story which states the wealthy Loy is busy nabbing another woman's husband, a British peer............You almost need a scorecard to keep track of the twists in the story, so don't try to make any sense of of it, just enjoy the merry meanderings of a sterling cast doing their comedic best! The four leads are letter perfect in their playing while Walter Connolly can register parental distraction with the best of them! The highly zestful script has a generous spicing of witty lines and a good healthy dose of comic situations. Jack Conway's direction is agile and spontaneous. A sardonic comedy, with slapstick smudges and a liberal bedaubing of farce, it takes several freedoms with the press, liberties with the statutes, and jousts at justice - all in the merriest of moods; there are a dozen reasons why the viewer should find this a thoroughly engaging and agreeable comedy classic. If one takes a good look at Harlow in this, you can see that her complexion looks anything but fresh & she looks rather bloated. Apparently she was already suffering from the kidney disease that would take her life in June of 1937: Harlow was only 25 here.
Here is a screwball comedy , with enough stars for two movies. From the same time period as The Thin Man series we have
William Powell , Myrna Loy , Spencer Tracy , and Jean Harlow , with Walter Connolly thrown in for good measure. Tracy , in a
role that predicts todays' media , is a headline hunting newspaperman , that is quite happy to generate a story to sell papers.
In a case of mistaken identity his paper mistakenly prints a story that portrays Loy as a drunk , which generates a libel suit for
$5 million , quite a figure for 1936! A screwy plot is hatched to try to counter the suit by discrediting Loy , which involves
Powell and Harlow. When Powell falls for Loy the solution has to go in a different direction , but eventually everything works out.
Lots of laughs and screwy twists as the bevy of stars go through their paces. My VHS copy is MGM/UA via Turner and thank you
Mr Turner for leaving it in Glorious Black & White!
on April 27, 2002
This is a great movie and a 1930's classic! While the plot may be a bit complex to describe, it's easy to get into and understand once the film starts. To make a long story short, a newspaper accidentally prints a false story involving an heiress (Myrna Loy) who then slaps the paper with a five million-dollar lawsuit. The editor of the paper (Spencer Tracy) concocts an elaborate scheme involving his fiancée (Jean Harlow) and former colleague (William Powell) in hopes of having the lawsuit dropped. Everything seems to go according to plan, but romantic entanglements soon abound and everything spins hilariously out of control. This is a great film that's held neatly together with witty dialogue and fueled by the first rate performances of its lead stars Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, William Powell and Jean Harlow. Highly recommended!
on May 24, 1999
Just looking at the names of the cast members will tell you this is a FANTASTIC movie--Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, and William Powell. This is really comedy at it's finest, and all four stars are in great form. Myrna's brunette beauty is perfect up against Jean's brassy blonde, and William Powell nearly steals the show. You've got to see this one!
on July 27, 1999
This has to be (along with "The Awful Truth" and "Bringing up Baby") one of the best of the classic comedies. With such a wonderful ensemble cast, and crisp dialogue, this movie can be enjoyed again and again.