The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

The Great Ziegfeld is a film that you may or may not want to watch. Working against it is its length: it weighs in at just over three hours. I’m of the opinion that any film over ninety minutes has to justify its length, especially as it approaches two hours. Does this film justify its length? I don’t think so. There’s a five-minute overture at the beginning, several long musical numbers (including a forty-five minute one that includes an intermission) and another four minutes of music at the end. Cutting all of this out you might be left with around two hours of narrative. Any reasons to watch it? William Powell, of course. Continue reading

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Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

Manhattan Melodrama is a love story. It’s the first Powell and Loy film but this time the focus is on the fraternal love of two men who grew up as brothers, before following different paths as adults. It’s melodramatic and contrived but all its cards are on the table – just look at the title. The contrivances serve to give two great actors, William Powell and Clark Gable, a stage on which to knock our socks off.  I think they succeed. Continue reading

Evelyn Prentice (1934)

This one isn’t funny… but then it isn’t supposed to be. Of the first four Powell-Loy films, three of them were not comedies.Evelyn Prentice is a melodrama. About what? It takes its sweet time to reveal its hand. In fact, almost the entire first half of the film seems to plod about aimlessly enough. It is worth hanging around for things to get going, though Continue reading

Double Wedding (1937)

I wonder what could happen in a film called “Double Wedding”? Well, here’s a clue: William Powell is a free spirit living in a caravan. He’s charming and a self-professed painter, writer and director. Myrna Loy is a severe, controlling businesswoman who plots out every step of her sister’s life… right down to her wedding. She doesn’t like “adolescent bohemianism” and she doesn’t like Powell… Continue reading

Another Thin Man (1939)

Well, it had to happen eventually. Looking at other reviews, the Thin Man series followed a gradual downward slope from the excellent original. I was pleased to find the second adventure as enjoyable as the first. Another Thin Man is the third film outing for Nick and Nora Charles – the retired detective and his wealthy wife who solve puzzling crimes when the whim takes them. Unfortunately this time around fatigue has started to set in. There’s less drinking and the pregnancy announced at the end of the second film has resulted in a rather large baby, so quite a bit of time has passed. It’s a charming enough film but only perhaps for fans of the series. Even then, they may be disappointed that there’s far less emphasis on comedy. Continue reading

I Love You Again (1940)

Love Crazy was such a great film that the temptation to binge and go straight back to Powell and Loy was too great. I pride myself on my self-control, but… it’s far more effective when I actually want to exercise it. This contrives us right into the first few minutes of I Love You Again. In it, Powell is Larry Wilson, a man with far too much self-control for anyone’s good… his wife included. He’s an upstanding community member of some small nowheresville town – a complete caricature who doesn’t have any vices whatsoever or have fun beyond endless meetings of pretty much every local community group. Continue reading

Love Crazy (1941)

Where have you been all my life? I love this film! William Powell is a genius. His many faces. They’re geniuses, too. Myrna Loy – she’s a genius. On-screen she has the beauty, poise and intelligence to drive any man love crazy. Completely realistically, any woman with such skills would also have a finely-honed ability to lay down the law. Continue reading