Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Libeled Lady (1936)

Jean Harlow is my new favorite actress. She is the original blonde bombshell. I suppose that Marilyn Munroe did have more vulnerability, but I like Harlow for being the tough broad that she is, always a step ahead of the man, ready to head him off at the pass.

In real life she and William Powell were lovers and went to the Academy Awards together along with Clark Gable and Carole Lombard who was Powell's ex. It all sounds very free and 30s Hollywood.
I love Powell and Myrna Loy, so it's fun to find out who he personally was drawn to and see him play opposite her and Myrna in the same movie. In this movie he's the charming ex-newspaper man who is hired to seduce the heiress who is suing a newspaper for a false story.

In order to make his affair with ML a scandal, he has to be married to JH. It's quite entertaining, and I still don't know how it ends, which is good, but I'm really getting aggravated with Powell.


Okay, I finished watching - it was one of those comedies that keep you aggravated till the last second when of course it all works out. I know some people find those the best, but I felt aggravated on behalf of Spencer Tracy's character and Jean Harlow's character even AFTER they were all living happily ever after.

Well worth watching, some very fun, funny moments, but can't give it more than two stars and I WON'T watch it again.

It's also interesting to note that William Powell plays the same calm, wry, somewhat smug character out-witting everyone to his own advantage in these movies that he does in the Thin Man, but it's so much less sympathetic when he's outwitting people who you actually can care about like ST and JH's characters here.


Cheryl said...

I was just thinking how you should have a classic movie marathon party: screen your favorites all day (possibly with a theme like "1930s" or "Blonde Bombshells") as people stop by with food and drink. (Don't you love how I'm full of ideas for parties other people should throw?)

Ms. Q said...

I do love that, actually. The idea, and the fact that you had it for me. :)

anna said...

I am loving your blog. I have even added a few of your suggestions to my netflix queue. Many of these I've seen because I love the classic hollywood era. Thanks for reminding me of the ones I've seen and reminding me that there are still quite a few I need to see.

VP81955 said...

Sorry you didn't like "Libeled Lady" more. I at least hope you enjoyed the fishing scene where Powell tries to pass himself off as an expert angler (to get in good with Loy and her father, the always reliable Walter Connolly). You don't ordinarily think of Powell as a physical comic actor, but here he holds his own with the best of them. (Nearly three decades later, Howard Hawks "borrowed" this scene iwith Rock Hudson in "Man's Favorite Sport?"; Hudson was a capable actor, but he was no William Powell.

You have a wonderful blog, and I cordially invite you to visit my classic Hollywood site, "Carole & Co." (named for Lombard, my all-time favorite actress):