The series of Thin Man movies answers the question, “What does happily ever after look like?”
Reacquainted with Myrna Loy and William Powell
Last week I went on a run of watching and writing about some Myrna Loy and William Powell movies I have in my collection. I went through
four five of them, three four of which I’ve had here, unwatched, for about five years.
Reflection and My Man Godfrey
When one year ends and another gets underway, there are loads of posts from around the world that either look back, look ahead, or both. Given the nature of 2008, at least how it concluded, it’s not surprising that a goodly number are … shall we say, grim?
One of the bleaker ones came from Roger Ebert with his post Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. It’s worth a read, whether you agree or not. If nothing else, it should prompt some reflection on the state of the world. The post is about as gloomy as it gets.
As interesting as the post is, equally interesting are the comments (over 300 when last I looked). They appear to cover both ends of the half-full/half-empty spectrum and everything in between.
One of the things that popped into my head while reading it was a brief exchange in my favourite movie, My Man Godfrey. It goes like this:
Godfrey: Prosperity is just around the corner.
Flaherty: Yeah, it’s been there a long time. I wish I knew which corner.
Made in 1936, a movie for our own times?
Powell and Loy: ‘I Love You Again’
This summer has not been a summer for movies, for me. With having moved across the country, getting a new house, renovating and now welcoming a new dog, the skittish Molly Bloom, movies have taken a back seat.
But that’s okay. I’ve still been picking them up and have a fine backlog to make my way through once fall kicks in.
One of the items I picked up was the Myrna Loy and William Powell Collection I mentioned in a previous post. And I’ve managed to watch one of the five movies in the set, I Love You Again.
It’s a delight. Powell and Loy worked so well together, as they do here – just like in The Thin Man movies, only it’s not The Thin Man. It is, however, Powell and Loy jousting in their usual fashion.
Directed by “One Take Woody,” W.S. Van Dyke, he of Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) and the first four Thin Man movies, I Love You Again uses the old amnesia routine as its set up. As tired as this may sound, the script and performances work it quite well. It might not be accurate to say it’s cleverly done, but it is certainly wittily executed.
This is partly because we get an extreme contrast in William Powell who is playing the boring, prissy and abstemious Larry Wilson who, following a knock on the head, discovers he’s really George Carey, a fast living con man who has suffered amnesia for nine years.
Upon his discovery, George realizes he’s in luck. If he works things right, he can cash in on Larry’s bank accounts and bilk the townsfolk out of oodles. He’s also teamed up with another con man, ‘Doc’ Ryan (Frank McHugh), who’s life Larry/George has saved. Ryan is indebted to George, and also wants in on the score.
But there is the inevitable glitch in all this in the form of lovely Myrna Loy as Kay Wilson, the tiresome Larry’s wife. Powell as George is smitten and amazed at his good fortune until he understands Kay wants a divorce from the boring Larry, who was never the man she hoped he might be.
It all makes for myriad complications as Powell must try to win Loy over while also pretending he’s still Larry, though in fact he’s now George.
And yes, it sounds confusing but it actually plays very well. It’s a charming, light comedy that manages to employ the Powell and Loy magic while also managing to be something a little different than the Thin Man movies.
It’s simply a well-made, funny movie.
Powell and Loy: Something to look forward to
It’s unlikely you’ll recall this but, about a year ago, I was Happy with the Thin Man. Well, I anticipate being happy again.
Somewhere about August 7th, Warner will make me happy when they release the Myrna Loy and William Powell Collection. Between the previous set, The Complete Thin Man Collection which had six Thin Man movies, all with Powell and Loy, and this new set with its five movies, that will be eleven movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy … And yes, that does please me.
You’ve gotta love Loy and Powell. It’s so much fun seeing them together.
This new set, the Myrna Loy and William Powell Collection, contains the following films:
- Manhattan Melodrama
- Evelyn Prentice
- Double Wedding
- I Love You Again
- Love Crazy
Yes. I will be happy.