LIBELED LADY (1936) 

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William Powell
Jean Harlow
Myrna Loy
Spencer Tracy
Walter Connelly
Charley Grapewin
Cora Witherspoon
E.E. Clive
Bunny Beatty

Jack Conway



Time: 98 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

SYNOPSIS: Warren Haggerty is the chief editor of the New York Evening Star. He keeps on delaying his marriage with Gladys because of problems his newspapers must face. When it is filed a 5 million dollars claim by Connie Allenbury for having printed she is a marriage-breaker, he organizes the unconsummated marriage of Gladys and the don Juan Bill Chandler. The goal is to catch Connie alone with a married man.

BOTTOM LINE: When you get four classic comedy stars together like this, the pull is irresistible. I'm a big fan of Powell and Loy from their THIN MAN series, however, it was Jean Harlow that truly intrigued me. Though legendary, I have seen few of her pictures. After watching this, I will be seeking them out. Her premature death is tragic when one considers how much better she would have become. The plot of this flick is fairly unimportant and not unlike many of the other screwball comedies of the time. Tracy plays a reporter who's out to catch Loy's socialite in a compromising position with a married man in order to get her to drop her libel suit against his paper. He hires Powell to seduce her and entreats his fiancee Harlow to marry Powell in order to play the wronged wife.

Of course, the plot's main function is bringing the two couples – Powell & Loy, Tracy & Harlow – together in the most wacky, trouble-filled way. All the players are in top form. None of them branches out from the type of role that made them famous, which is probably why this works so well. The story is fairly routine, yet they make it come alive with romance, humor and gusto. Powell's smooth as silk; Loy, coolly sophisticated; Tracy, brashly handsome; and Harlow, vibrantly funny. All are unafraid of being as silly as they need to be, to get the laugh. Rarely do four stars work so selflessly together. This is certainly not the greatest film any of them ever made, but it's a class act that gives each of them a chance to showoff their comic muscles. A definite must-see for any classic film buff. They rarely get better than this.

Bill Chandler: "I thought that was rather clever of me."
Connie Allenbury: "Yes, I thought you thought so."

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