Libeled Lady, 1936

Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow team up with William Powell and Spencer Tracy for this romp to the altar and back again. Jean Harlow, as Gladys, has marriage on her mind. Spencer Tracy, as Haggerty, is thinking of everything else. He is the conniving Managing Editor of the New York Evening Star, the paper that printed a scoop that never was. The Allenburys will sue the newspaper for their mistake unless Haggerty can find a way to make them change their minds. Myrna Loy, as Connie Allenbury, is quite bored with men until she meets William Powell, as Bill Chandler. Of course, she won’t give him the time of day until she gets to know him. And he makes sure she gets to know him. A beautiful performance by all four actors.

When Connie Allenbury sues Haggerty’s paper for five million dollars because they printed a false accusation that she was a marriage-wrecker, his goal is to get a good picture of her with a married man so the false accusation will become true and the suit cancelled.

The four big names in this romantic comedy deliver the entanglements and conflicts audiences love. I usually try to figure out what’s going to happen next, but the twists kept me pleasantly surprised.

William Powell is indispensable as Bill Chandler, the ladies man who can talk anyone into anything. He had already started working with Myrna Loy in their Thin Man movies. The Loy/Powell pairing produced many fine films.

Jean Harlow, the platinum blonde to whom all other bombshells had to measure up, died at age 26 less than a year after this movie’s release. She was buried in the gown she wore in this film.

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