Friday, 17 September 2010

"She may be his wife - but she is engaged to me!"

Another picture which is based on a play came up to the silver screen in 1936: LIBELED LADY - directed by Jack Conway.

In a nutshell:

Society girl Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy) is falsly accused of stealing another woman's husband. She sues "The Star" - a newspaper, which headlined the wrong story - to pay $ 5 millions damages.

Journalist Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) comes up with an idea to save the newspaper: He engages his ex co-worker and oldtime rival Bill Chandler (William Powell), who suggests that he seduces Connie so Haggerty's fiancée Gladys Benton (Jean Harlow) - acting as Chandler's wife - can catch them red-handed. That way Haggerty would be able to proof that "The Star" didn't tell a lie.

Chandler who learns that Connie's father (Walter Connolly) is fond of trout fishing pretends to be a writer and passionate angler to get near to Connie. Problems appear when Chandler falls for Connie and Gladys decides that she is attracted to Chandler..

Watch out for:

  • Hattie McDaniel as the maid in the Grand Plaza Hotel hall.


  • Charley Grapewin, who plays Mr. Bane is known (amongst many others) as Uncle Henry in THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), Gramp Maple in THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1936) and as Grandpa in THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940)

  • The German titel is LUSTIGE SÜNDER which can be translated "Cheerful sinners".
  • The four leads became good friends. Allegedly Spencer Tracy used to state jestingly that Myrna Loy broke his heart by marrying producer Arthur Hornblow, jr.. It is said that Tracy reserved a table in the canteen for men who felt that Loy walked out on them - the "I hate Hornblow"-table.
  • LIBELED LADY was nominated for "Best picture" at the acadamy awards but lost to another movie starring Myrna Loy and William Powell: THE GREAT ZIEGFELD.
  • Jean Harlow and William Powell were a couple whilst this film was produced so Harlow intended to get the part of Connie so she and Powell could end up together - the studio objected because they felt the audience wanted Powell and Loy to be paired at the end. Harlow gave in and was in the end pleased with her part.

  • Walter Connolly (Myrna Loy's father in this picture) played the father of Claudette Colbert in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934).

  • There is a remake called EASY TO WED with Esther Williams as Connie Allenbury, Van Johnson as Bill Chandler, Keenan Wynn as Warren Haggerty and Lucille Ball as Gladys.

  • Rosalind Russell was first choice for the Connie Allenbury part.

  • It was the fith film pairing Myrna Loy and William Powell.

  • Billy Benedict - one of the original Bowery Boys has an supporting role at the news paper.

  • Lionel Barrymore was supposed to play Connie Allenbury's father.

Celebrate the celluloid:

Eat pancakes/flapjacks or fish (trout!).

My favourite feature:

I like that raft in the lake. Gosh, won't you love to sit there and watch old movies on a big screen with some friends and splash around with your feet? (just an idea..)

Scenes to see:

William Powell angling and the lovely good-bye -scene with Powell, Harlow and Tracy - please look out for George Chandler's (the bell boy) mimic.

Window shopping:

Gee, I'd like to get that light suit Jean Harlow is wearing.

Quotes corner:

"This is love, not liquor." or "I am just a mug, Gladdie, but I love you." or maybe best known: "Marry your newspaper and become the father of many newslines."

I love the witty lines in this picture especially William Powell suggesting to Jean Harlow how to pass her time: "Maybe you could learn to read." and one I often use myself: "I am awful appealing in blue." This is an awesome screwball comedy and a marvellous cast!
I don't know anything about American eating habits, but I think it is funny to put the flag of the United States into a fish. I don't want to offend anyone but it seems strange to me. I mean: this film doesn't take place on 4th of July - as far as I know. But: Please correct me - I am eager to learn!

Goodbye! I'll go and watch another movie - or this one again? And:

"I like music with my moonlight."


  1. You have me laughing, Irene! "Cheerful sinners", is this just the German kind of imagination? I always thought Germans were quite strict in moral issues.

    I know Jean Harlow just from Dinner at Eight, but find her absolutely impossible there. Well, she isn't kind at all, I couldn't trust her if I met her in person.

    I see films always that way - I like an actress if I feel I could trust her in real life. But if she always plays naughty characters, I can't like her at all. So all I need is films with a really nice Jean Harlow.

  2. Gee, Clarissa - I really don't know if you would like Jean Harlow in this film:
    She is nicer than in DINNER AT EIGHT but she is stil kind of feisty - well, who wouldn't?
    If my fiancé was allways ditching me and every one else did the same to me, I think, I would be snappish, too. I don't know, if I would knock out William Powell, but well.. maybe..
    I'll keep my eyes peeled for Jean Harlow in a quite charming role and I'll let you know!

  3. I don't want a nun, Irene. In ARIZONA Jean is acting very brutally partly -- her character had no other choice under those circumstances.

    I admire Joan Crawford's character Jane in DANCING LADY: After being baled out of jail by a Park Avenue guy and eating what he had ordered, she refuses his advance to touch her hand - by using the fork to get his hand away.

    Jean Harlow's character in DINNER AT EIGHT is so nasty that I consider her ugly. But maybe she was different from that...

  4. Clarissa, I think - if you are a little bit like me (and it seems so..) - Jean Harlow will have a tough time to make good for you both had a bad start: Maybe HOLD YOUR MAN (1933) will do good. There she is rough but sweet. ;")

  5. Frl. Irene WHY haven't I been following this blog sooner??? I LOVE how you set up your entries, especially schmooze and quotes corner! It's so great to see another avid classic movie fan. Keep up the great entries!
    I adore Harlow in Libeled Lady, it falls third after Bombshell and Dinner at Eight as my favorite of her performances.


I really appreciate your comments - I'll read them all and if I can think of an answer I'll post it. :")