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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Evelyn Prentice (1934)

The wife (Myrna Loy) of a prominent attorney (William Powell) feels neglected when her husband devotes too much time to his law practice. After she receives evidence that her spouse may have had an affair with a client (Rosalind Russell in her film debut), she becomes vulnerable to a flattering gigolo (Harvey Stephens) and blackmail and murder follow. Based on a novel by W.E. Woodward, this is different from the usual Powell & Loy pairings in that it's a hoary courtroom melodrama rather than a zippy screwball comedy. As such, it's a rather stolid effort with the two stars not at their best. There is some humor in the film but it's provided by Una Merkel as Loy's quipping confidante. The inert direction by William K. Howard is of no help. Still, there's a nice little performance by Isabel Jewell who has a strong scene on the witness stand. With Jessie Ralph and Edward Brophy.

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