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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Libeled Lady (1936)

When an heiress (Myrna Loy) sues a newspaper for libel, the paper's editor (Spencer Tracy) hires an ex-reporter (William Powell) to romance the heiress and compromise her position so she will be forced to drop the lawsuit. To this end, Tracy cons his fiancee (Jean Harlow) to marry Powell and act as the wronged wife. Directed by the veteran Jack Conway (A TALE OF TWO CITIES), the screenplay is a flimsy concoction on which to hang a cornucopia of one liners and zingers. Fortunately, they come regularly and fast and more to the point, hit their target. Powell even takes some time off from the wisecracks to do a nice bit of physical comedy while attempting to fish for trout. It is, in fact, the expert quartet of farceurs that (with Conway's help) that keep this screwball comedy afloat. The film has that glossy B&W look that defined MGM's style in the 30s and 40s reinforced here by Cedric Gibbons art direction the cinematography of Norbert Brodine (KISS OF DEATH). With Walter Connolly as Loy's father, Cora Witherspoon and Charley Grapewin. Only ten years later, MGM would remake the film under the title EASY TO WED.

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