Saturday, August 4, 2018
Myrna Watch: Double Wedding (1937)
Format: TCM on DVR
Well, it's not often that even the most telegraphed of movies puts the twist finale in the title of the movie, but with Double Wedding (1937), we have the equivalent of "He Was a Ghost the Whole Time: The Movie".
In honor of Loy's birthday and as part of TCM's Summer of Stars, all day on Thursday the 2nd was Myrna Loy day on TCM. I am afraid I only recorded this one movie to watch.
The comment about the title spoiling the movie isn't really a complaint - it's just a sort of bit of interesting of how movies used to be taken in. I mean, I can see this playing at the local Bijou, and it's 1937, so we're not done with the Depression which has raged on for a while, and there's no TV, it's just Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy on the radio again, so you just go to the pictures. Something light and wacky. Hell, I'd kill for light and wacky at the movies these days it didn't also come with a dollop of "bland" and "not fun".
In the movies William Powell and Myrna Loy whimsically met and fell in love in half a dozen movies. And, of course, they were the idealized couple in The Thin Man over the course of six more. Throw in a melodrama or two, and they co-starred a lot. Oddly, somehow, Powell and Loy aren't all that well remembered in the larger cultural zeitgeist. Among anyone with anything like a cursory interest in film, yes. But outside of that..? I find it very odd.
Because in 1937, this was what you did instead of watching a sitcom. You knew you were paying a quarter or whatever to get in and see hijinks, wise-cracks and a happy ending. And a reality so squeaky clean, it's like a message beamed in from someone who has never met an actual human.
Our plot: Myrna Loy is the elder sister of Florence Rice. Her parents gone, the extremely Type-A Loy has devoted her energy two places - ensuring she was financially stable (well off, in fact), and making sure her sister was on the right path. 24 hours per day. She's even selected a fiancee for her, and is setting a date after a few years of courtship.
What Loy doesn't know is that her sister romanticized being a "bohemian", and is hanging about with William Powell (with her fiancee as well, there are no shenanigans). Powell plays a freespirit, surprisingly un-chiseling rogue of sorts who happens to live in an "auto-trailer" next to a dive bar.
With marriage suddenly staring her in the face, Loy's sister decides she's in love with Powell (who is not interested), and Loy leaps into action to put a stop to all that.
This should illustrate the tone of the film nicely.
This thing is lighter than cotton candy. It's just a goofy bit of fun with society people mixing with common people, and gives Powell a chance to be particularly wacky and charming and Loy a chance to be the girl who secretly adores his madcap, whimsical ways, which every guy wishes every girl like Myrna Loy would appreciate about themselves.
The entire cast of this one is hilarious, especially John Beal, the sad sack fiancee, Waldo Beaver. But of course Loy and Powell steal the spotlight whether they intend to or not. Just funny stuff.
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