Libeled Lady Movie Review

How big of a star was Jean Harlow? In 1936 she got top billing here, despite -- by far -- having less screen time than her three big-name co-stars.

As a matter of fact, Harlow is the least interesting part of Libeled Lady (she's neither the libeler nor the lady in question), but that doesn't make it a fun little movie. The story is a little tricky, so try to keep up: Socialite Connie Allenbury (Myrna Low) is the subject of Warren's (Spencer Tracy) gossipmongering in newsprint. He says she's a homewrecker, but she disagrees and sues. Warren's busted for making stuff up, but he devises a way out: He'll have friend Bill (William Powell) impersonate The Perfect Guy and get in good with her father, eventually proving that Connie is a homewrecker after all. Oh, but Bill's not married. Warren solves that by having his own girlfriend Gladys (Harlow) marry Bill for the sake of convenience.

Lots follows, as Bill impersonates a fly fisherman (great in chit-chat, bad when he has to get in the water) and Connie indeed starts to fall for Bill's charms. Witty banter and screwball situations ensue -- though they're hardly the caliber of, say, The Philadelphia Story. (Of note, this is one of Powell and Loy's early collaborations together, two years after The Thin Man.)

Fun stuff, but more screwball than witty rom-com, and hopelessly left without an ending. Ah, well.

Comments

Libeled Lady Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: NR, 1936

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