Love Crazy (1941)

DVD cover for Myrna Loy and William Powell Collection.Directed by Jack Conway

While not the best Loy-Powell film of the many they made (though others disagree with that assessment), even a slightly lesser effort like Love Crazy is entertaining because the seemingly magical couple have their onscreen relationship down pat and it’s a delight to watch.

In Love Crazy, Myrna Loy and William Powell play a couple, Steve and Susan Ireland, who are about to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary.

They appear to be the happiest of married couples, as they often do in their films, but, as also often happens, their bliss is disrupted by the occasionally well-meaning and, the more frequently, not-so-well-meaning interventions of others. Indeed, Loy-Powell films appear to be proofs for Sarte’s assertion that, “Hell is other people.”

In this case, the troubles are primarily due to Powell’s mother-in-law (Florence Bates), who is not a big fan of her daughter’s choice in husbands, and by one of Powell’s old flames, played by a mischievous and perhaps a bit trampish Gail Patrick.

Wife and husband Susan and Steve Ireland (Myrna Loy and William Powell).

The result is a certain amount of interference, followed my numerous misconstructions and confusions. This produces a pouty and cross wife, Myrna Loy, and an apologetic and puzzled husband, William Powell. It eventually leads to Loy getting a lawyer and insisting on a divorce.

The movie’s “hook” (for lack of a better word), the “crazy” half of the title Love Crazy, doesn’t actually kick in until roughly the third act. This is when Powell learns that, should a spouse be insane, a divorce cannot go through for quite a while.

This is key for him because he is certain he can attain forgiveness from his wife once he can explain and put things right – but he needs bit of time. Thus, to buy the time he needs, he pretends to be crazy.

The progress of the film is thus one that begins almost as a sophisticated comedy, with the occasional pratfall (the rug), but gets progressively antic as complications develop and Powell makes his decision to play a man who has lost his mind. In fact, we even get William Powell in drag as, in order to avoid arrest, he disguises himself as his own sister.

The movie is ultimately a bit awkward in its construction and a bit forced in its unfolding. But the humour is surprisingly well sustained, thanks largely to the skills of Loy and Powell as well as a great cast of supporting players.

Susan is concerned over Steve’s bump on the head.

I can’t say I enjoyed this movie as much as I have others, particularly The Thin Man series, but on the other hand I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. I liked it quite a bit.

It’s a great deal of fun and silliness and thus, despite its faults, is largely entertaining. In fact, some feel this is Myrna Loy and William Powell at their peak as an onscreen couple.

This is probably true. Unfortunately, the film’s script isn’t at the same level and thus, though undoubtedly entertaining, the movie falls a bit short. However, its charms outweigh its flaws and it’s well worth seeing.

Other Loy and Powell movies:

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