Once again the teaming of Myrna Loy and William Powell comes up aces. These two pros play off each other so well that it’s no wonder MGM teamed them for films outside of their famous Thin Man series. This time we get the added bonus of Jack Carson. Scene stealer extraordinaire.
It’s another screwball comedy. A genre I have always leaned to when looking for a laugh. While one can argue the film loses it’s way, the first thirty minutes alone make it worth watching.
The set up is we have our married couple Powell and Loy trying to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary. In walks Powell’s mother-in-law to ruin the evening which is compounded by Powell bumping into old flame Gail Patrick who has just moved into the same apartment building. She’s now married herself but she isn’t going to let that stop her from making a play for the man who got away.
The fun goes into overdrive when Loy figures on teaching Powell and Gail a lesson with Gail’s hubby Donald MacBride. Problem is she mistakes Jack Carson for MacBride and he’s more than willing to play along with Loy who seems to be coming on strong. He has no idea it’s all for the benefit of teaching Powell a lesson.
One thing will invariably lead to another and with screwball comedies there is no telling where one may wind up. Take our leading man for example, before he knows it he’s institutionalized as a lunatic. What starts out as a way of getting Loy’s divorce proceedings delayed backfires and now he finds himself on the wrong side of the fence watching Carson making his move on his beloved Myrna.
There are a few familiar faces popping up here of some great character actors. As the hotel elevator boy we have Elisha Cook Jr. who shares a very funny escapade with Powell and Gail on the ups and downs in an elevator shaft.
Sig Ruman as the head man in the asylum who fences with Powell about his sanity and Vladimir Sokoloff who is convinced Powell is nutty enough to have him put away in the first place.
It’ll all come down to a wild frantic pace as Powell tries to win back Loy and find a way to get Carson out of the picture. Jack Carson plays a perfectly named character here, Ward Willoughby. He repeats it constantly upon meeting new characters and it suits his comedic style just fine. Carson is usually associated with Warner Brothers films so I would imagine he was on loan for this MGM production from director Jack Conway.
Conway worked with both Powell and Loy separately and also directed Libeled Lady in 1936 with our screen couple. Once again I have to state that Powell and Loy had wonderful timing and they were so natural when paired together. If you haven’t seen their pairings you should do so at your earliest convenience.