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|Index||22 reviews in total|
A very funny, romantic movie. I enjoyed all the little creative pieces of
"business" and lines such as "...you rang my gong." I enjoyed the treat of
Sidney Toler as Keough.
I enjoyed the beautiful, wonderful cars of the 1930s, and the background scenes of beautiful, wonderful downtown Los Angeles of the '30s and into the 1950s. I was born there in 1934 and remember it well when it was a beautiful place to live. Ah, nostalgia!! This is what it really did look like then.
"Double Wedding" is an enjoyable, albeit dizzying comedy starring
William Powell and Myrna Loy. It's really a tribute to the cast that
they were able to carry on in such a wacky movie despite being shut
down for a time due to Jean Harlow's untimely death. Both Powell, who
was involved with Harlow, and Loy, who was a friend of hers, took her
death very hard.
Powell and Loy play polar opposites in this film. She is a complete control freak who has her life, her sister's life, and the life of her sister's fiancé, planned down to the millisecond. Along comes Powell, who lives in a trailer and hocks items when he needs money. Once he's in their lives, all bets are off, and chaos reigns supreme.
The cast is great but the whole thing kind of veers off focus from time to time. The writing isn't as strong as in some of the other screwball comedies of the era. But Powell is a treasure and teamed with Loy, even more so.
Watching this movie was like looking through a beautiful, whimsical kaleidoscope. So many facets are perfect: Loy at her peak of gorgeous, wry sophistication; the Deco sets; Powell's gentle irony; the relationships of various characters and the consistency of dialog; even the physical pranks were great--and I don't like slapstick all that much! This film reminded me of Shop Around the Corner. It wasn't as good, that's a tall order, but there was something bigger going on in this movie than just the usual romantic farce. I have to admire the writer's and director's ability to pull off a romantic comedy between two such diametrically opposed people. The heroine is the quintessential control freak; the hero, as laid back and tolerant as a hippie of the sixties. No one apologizes for their quirks, which is refreshing, and neither of them had to change all that much to make the ending work. And as far as acting goes, Loy and Powell don't hold back any punches (literally!) whenever the two characters collide. It is amazing to watch them knowing how they were reacting to Harlow's death during shooting. I love finding old movies, and this one is buried treasure.
I have always found this movie more than a little strained and Powell and Loy not up to their usual shine. In fact, Myrna Loy's character seems downright unpleasant!! Much of this may have to do with the death of Powell's fiancee Jean Harlow during production. Myrna Loy, in her autobiography, states that she cannot bear to watch this movie because of the pain they all felt while making it. While the two do their professional best (and the uninformed would never guess that real tragedy was plaguing them) you are much better off watching Powell and Loy in one of their better works...ie The Thin Man Series, Libeled Lady,I Love You Again, etc. FYI: Powell developed colon cancer in the year following Harlow's tragic death and nearly died himself. He recovered and returned to active film work with 1939's Another Thin Man and proceeded to beat the odds and live another 40 years!!!
A screwball romantic comedy...but somebody forgot to tighten the screws. Confusion reigns after a ne'er-do-well man becomes involved with both a would-be actress and her domineering, humorless sister. Funny cast (including the "Thin Man" couple, Myrna Loy and William Powell) have a high time with their eccentric characters and fast, witty dialogue, but the plot is extremely thin, taking everyone around in circles. Too bad this didn't have firmer handling, the potential was here for a comedy classic. Loy's continuous bad temper gets the biggest laughs, however the wild slapstick climax boasts some very amusing sight-gags. **1/2 from ****
Considering that this film stars William Powell and Myrna Loy, it's
definitely worth seeing--as are all of their films together. Even their
lesser films together are wonderful and worth seeing--so it's a natural
that I watched "Double Wedding".
In this film, Powell plays the ultimate bohemian and Loy plays a lady who is incredibly controlling and anti-fun. The idea of these two getting together is pretty far-fetched! But, because this is a Hollywood film, you know that eventually the two will find love. However, how they get there and how much fun the film becomes is exactly why you should see the film.
It all begins with Powell teaching a young couple to act and they are discussing his latest screenplay. The three are fast friends and have fun planning on making a film together. HOWEVER, when the very controlling sister (Loy) finds out about this, she assumes the worst and demands Powell stop seeing her sister and her fiancé. Mostly this is because Powell isn't in her plan for the two--as Loy has decided the two will marry, where they will go on their honeymoon, etc.--and the two idiots allow this! Little does this compulsive planner and controller know that Powell has plans for her! Overall, this is yet another fun pairing of Powell and Loy. While the film is silly and contrived, it's also very entertaining and clever. The ending was insanely chaotic--like a Marx Brothers film--and a lot of fun.
Double Wedding is a wonderful comedy loaded with great dialogue and wit. This was just one of the 14 movies Powell and Loy teamed up for. It was during the filming of this movie that Powell's fiancee Jean Harlow died. Filming was halted for six weeks and Powell returned to finish the movie. He then went to Europe for a year before teaming with Loy again in 37 for another Thin Man movie.
Powell is an artist, a free spirit who disrupts the well-made plans of Loy, who controls the lives of her kid sister (Rice) and the latter's fiancé with an iron fist. Like the dozen other teamings of Powell and Loy, it is fun to watch the two pros match wits. Beal is funny as Rice's milquetoast fiancé, whom Powell tries to make a man out of. Powell is an aspiring writer/director who coaches Beal and Rice in acting out a love story; unable to arouse passion out of Beal, Powell demonstrates by passionately kissing the lovely Rice, who falls in love with him. Of course, Powell falls in love with Rice's sister, Loy, setting the stage for comic situations.
Clearly, this movie is screwball comedy. It has all the elements of the
standard definition. The domineering female who challenges the man's
virility. The fast and witty dialog with rejoinders and clever
ripostes. The farcical scenes and antics. "Double Wedding" veers off in
places, and seems to chop off scenes with poor segue. But, these few
instances that might be a distraction or fault in any other film, fit
perfectly with the zaniness of this movie. It's not the best of the
screwball films, but it still rates 10 stars for laughter.
The cast are all outstanding in their roles. The sets, filming and other technical aspects are very good. The IMDb Web site gives the plot and other reviewers discuss it and the script. I'll just give some of the funniest lines. Myrna Loy's role is one of her biggest dialogs in her pairings with William Powell. She seems to have more lines as Margit Agnew than does Powell's Charles Lodge.
Margit gives this gibberish genealogy to Mrs. Bly, about the young man she has chosen to marry her sister, Irene. Margit, "Waldo's a sort of distant relative of ours. Mother, you know, was a Leslie. The son of her brother, Edward Leslie, married one of the Boyer girls, Anne Boyer. Anne's sister Hermione married Steve Carroll, divorced Steve and married Elmer Beaver who had three brothers, Andrew, Paul and Alexander. Andrew was married twice. His first wife was a Brewster. His second wife was the widow of Morton Thomas, nee Caroline Cook. Andrew and Caroline were the parents of Waldo. Get it?" Mrs. Bly, "Nope!" Obviously, a viewer wouldn't be able to get it either to write it down like this, without DVD technology. This must be the longest silly genealogy recitation in filmdom.
Margit has some of the funniest lines in the film. She delivers persiflage at will toward Powell's Lodge. She calls Lodge's living style, "adolescent Bohemianism." The ending is one of the funniest, zaniest scenes of mayhem and pratfalls I can think of from any film. Here are some more very funny lines.
Irene Agnew (played superbly by Florence Rice) to Charles, "You just don't understand her. She's different form you and me. She's a businesswoman. We're Bohemians." Waldo (played very well by John Beal), "Why do Bohemians have to stay up all night?"
Mrs. Kensington-Bly (played excellently by Jessie Ralph), "It's beginning to look more and more like a hot house." Margit, "Or a nut house."
Charles, "I was a professional guide in Paris at the time. I used to show people through the sewers." Margit, "I can think of no one better qualified."
Judge Blynn (played wonderfully by Donald Meek), "Would the bride and gloom please join hands." (sic)
Waldo, "To know Charles is to love him. He's got yumpf." Irene, "He's got a monopoly on it."
Margit, "You were the best (police detective) on the force, Keough?" Keough, "Yes, Miss Agnew." Margit, "My, my! How we all missed being killed in our sleep."
Charles, "Did you want to talk about something?" Margit, "Yes. Do you take dope?"
Mrs. Bly, "I 'angeled' this joint for only one reason to put one over on the income tax, to lose money. You make profits. Do you want to ruin me? I know! I'll double your salary."
Here's another dialog sequence that's hilarious prattle between Margit and her gardener, Angelo (done very well by Henry Taylor). Margit, "Angelo?" Angelo, "Yes, Miss Agnew?" Margit, "The paper says cloudy, probably rain. You won't have to water the garden today. How's your bambino?" Angelo, "Don't water the lawn. The bambino? Oh, he's fine." Margit, "So you can use that time to get rid of all these weeds. Be sure he gets his cod liver oil." Angelo, "Yes, Ma'am. Pull the weeds and oil the bambino. Yes, Ma'am."
Some reviewers have noted the delay in completing this film, and the strain particularly on William Powell and Myrna Loy over the death of Jean Harlow. She and Powell were planning to be married, and Loy was a close friend. Harlow was just 26 years old when she died June 7, 1937, from kidney failure. She had been ill on and off for the past year, but her illnesses had variously been diagnosed as influenza and an inflamed gallbladder. Only toward the end was she diagnosed with kidney failure, for which there was no treatment at the time. Her kidney problems may have stemmed from the Scarlet Fever she had as a child. For her short career, Harlow was well liked by people all across the movie industry. MGM closed its studio the day of her funeral. At the time of her death, she was starring with Clark Gable in "Saratoga." The film was finished using three doubles for distance shots and some revisions. It was a box office hit when it came out in July. And, Harlow's close friends in the cast of "Double Wedding" completed it under emotional duress for its release in October of that year.
Margit Agnew (Myrna Loy) owns a dress shop that she runs with the
precision of a Swiss watch. In fact, she micromanages every aspect of
her life and the lives of her sister Irene (Florence Rice) and Irene's
fiancé, Waldo Beaver (John Beal). In fact, she put the happy couple
together in the first place. Except that the couple is not so happy,
because Margit's forte is managing, not feelings.
Irene is disappointed in her intended, because he is, basically, a dim-witted, though likable, dolt. And he never takes charge like she thinks a real man should. Not to worry, though, because this is a comedy and their dissatisfaction is merely the setup for fun.
Irene and Waldo are rehearsing for a movie written by the bohemian artist Charles Lodge (William Powell, who is teaming with Myra Loy for their seventh film together). When Charlie shows Waldo how to conduct himself in a love scene, Irene convinces herself that she now loves Charlie. She tells Margit who, needing to put her plan back on track, marches over to Charlie's trailer--parked at the curb on a city street. But she is no match for the eccentric whimsy of the easy-going Charlie.
This film has much to recommend it, but it is the writing that drives this film and makes it so much fun. The plot is fairly routine, but the dialogue is full of comedic gems. Some are understated, some are wacky. They deliver some great zingers and classic pratfalls.
Also notable are the fashions. Loy, in particular, is dressed well--fitting for the owner of a dress shop. The background music is superb, often utilizing a recorder to achieve the needed whimsical quality.
The cast is wonderful. Waldo's personality is sometimes trying, but that is how he is written. Sidney Toler portrays Keough, a butler who is a former policeman and who behaves like a detective with his powers of observation and deduction. In 1938, Toler will take over the Charlie Chan franchise. It seems like he is preparing here. I do not think this was an easy script to pull off. Between the director's attention to timing and the actors' commitment to their characters, "Double Wedding" works very well.
Despite the slapstick and some scenes that devolve into a general ruckus, the script is clever. Loy's determined dryness and the scattered non sequiturs are highlights. How smart they were to toy with the chemistry of the successful Powell-Loy team and put them in this different film that still plays to the strengths of each.
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