Steve and Susan Ireland are about to celebrate their 4th wedding anniversary by re-enacting their first date. When Susan's meddling mother interrupts and injures herself. Steve is left to take care of her and when he meets an old flame in the elevator--Susan's mother takes the opportunity to break-up their marriage. She convinces Susan that Steve is cheating on her-Susan files for divorce. Steve has one solution to save his marriage...Pretend he is insane. Written by
Half way through the 'Thin Man' series, that brilliant pair William Powell and Myrna Loy took time off to make this romantic comedy, and capture a bit more of their magic for posterity. They may have been the most effective romantic comedy duo in cinema history, and to say they clicked is to understate the situation. The viewer is liable to hang on Powell's every witticism, and Loy's every wry glance. This film is excellently directed by old pro Jack Conway. Elisha Cook Jr., who only plays an elevator boy, was finally to become a fixture later the same year in 'The Maltese Falcon', so these were the last moments of his obscurity. Jack Carson, because he is kept under control by a strong director, manages to avoid being annoying in this film, and that is saying a lot, considering his manic over-acting when uncontrolled. In fact, he turns out to be just right for the part of a character who is himself annoying. He knew how to do that! This film starts out with Powell stepping out of a taxi and saying to the doorman at his Manhattan apartment house: 'There's nothing wrong with any person's life that can't be fixed by a good marriage.' Well, that's tempting fate! This really is a kisses-to-hisses story. In the first half, where everybody is lovey-dovey, we are treated to more of that exquisite marital repartee of Powell and Loy which makes the 'Thin Man' series so enjoyable. And there are many terrific witty lines in the script, so many one trips over them in fact. But then the film takes a turn from a romantic comedy into a black comedy, and the story becomes seriously grim, making the film come out at the end as a bizarre hybrid of no settled genre. Some of the extreme attitudes adopted by the character played by Loy are then so uninspiring that one prefers Gail Patrick, the femme fatale and temptress, who has an impeccable sense of fun, while Loy sinks into self-pity and humourlessness. The film is delightful because of Powell and Loy, but only just, and you have to force yourself to laugh at the comic episodes in a lunatic asylum, because such things are only funny if you have never known anyone with genuine mental illness and think such things are a lark. We are lucky to have any extra films showing the magic of Powell and Loy together, as there is no comparable sparkle anywhere else outside of a champagne glass. I knew Myrna Loy extremely superficially when she was getting on in age, and found her uncommunicative and self-contained, not outgoing at all. But that cannot have been the real her, although I suspect she was a reserved person by nature, which may explain the wonderful feeling we get in these films that her responses are always being teased out of her by Powell, who is the only person who knows how to do it. There is always a sense about her that, left to her own devices, she would keep her own counsel and say nothing, but when needled by Powell, wry witticisms suddenly arise from the depths, as if a sparkling fountain had been turned on in the bright sunshine. I believe this was the key to why they worked as a duo, because her natural reserve is being eternally assaulted by the mischievous Powell, and every amusing remark she makes emerges as a result of his conquest of her silence, so that their every moment on screen together is one long, sustained act of his seduction of her, and her countless humorous submissions are so witty and so genteel that we too are seduced by the pair of them every time.
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