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  • William Powell and Myrna Loy made fourteen films together; "Evelyn Prentice" was their third, released in 1934. Powell plays John Prentice, a busy attorney who isn't spending enough time with his wife Evelyn (Loy) and child; he drifts into an affair with a needy client (Rosalind Russell) whom he has successfully defended in a manslaughter case. Evelyn is being wooed by a so-called poet (Harvey Stephens) who in truth has blackmail in mind. When he presents Evelyn with incriminating letters (though she hasn't had an affair with him, the letters are suggestive), a struggle ensues, and he winds up dead. His girlfriend (Isabel Jewell) is accused.

    The acting helps what has now become a familiar story. Myrna Loy is absolutely gorgeous and sympathetic as a lonely wife resisting the attentions of another man; and you know that Powell, despite his philandering, cares for her deeply. Una Merkel is delightful as Evelyn's friend.

    Powell and Loy worked so easily together and by all accounts enjoyed their collaborations, keeping up their friendship even after Powell retired. They're always a joy to watch.
  • marcslope28 June 2005
    Lenore Coffee was a prolific screenwriter whose specialty was the "women's picture," and she writes a honey of one here. William Powell is a too-busy lawyer who's dallying with client Rosalind Russell and who neglects his family (and boy, can I identify with that), to the point where good wife Loy is momentarily distracted by a lounge-lizard poet with a busy black book. Disastrous complications ensue. William Howard's direction is workmanlike at best, but Coffee keeps the fireworks popping. She balances things expertly between smart, sassy dialog and courtroom melodramatics, and she can write persuasively for tart-tongued best friends (a soignee Una Merkel), wide-eyed daughters (a relatively unannoying Cora Sue Collins), wronged women (a heavy-lidded Isabel Jewell), and a supporting cast of New York sophisticates. The windup is a little fast and the idyllic fadeout not entirely convincing, but in these days of overheated trials and yellow Murdoch journalism, it's not entirely implausible, either. A very fast and smart comedy-drama, and I didn't mind the absence of the Nick and Nora personas, or Asta, one bit.
  • "Evelyn Prentice" starred William Powell & Myrna Loy, who were inbetween working on the first & second movies in "The Thin Man" series. There are similarities between their roles in this movie & their roles in that series. In both cases, they're debonair rich folks with fancy clothes & a beautiful home. In both cases, Powell plays a character who likes to drink (more so in "The Thin Man") & is involved with solving a murder mystery. But "The Thin Man" series is more light-hearted, with more flippant, snappier dialog, & is generally more enjoyable than "Evelyn Prentice." Astra the Dog is missed, & replaced by the couple's young daughter. But this is a good movie, & has a more surprising plot twist than any entry in "The Thin Man" series. The plot here has more typical pre-code elements than the later "Thin Man" entries, which I won't mention here because I don't want to give away the storyline. Una Merkel is good as Loy's wisecracking friend. Isabel Jewell is very convincing in her role (I didn't think so at first, but as I began to watch her more closely, I started to think that she's a really good actress). I rate it 8/10.
  • Evelyn Prentice (Myrna Loy) is the neglected wife of a prominent lawyer (William Powell) who briefly takes up with his beautiful client (Rosalind Russell). When Evelyn finds out, she does her own dallying with a conniving poet and playwright (Harvey Stephens) who has a jealous girlfriend (Isabel Jewell). Evelyn's ditsy friend and house guest (Una Merkel) acts as confidant when the dalliance turns disastrous and Evelyn finds herself involved in blackmail and murder. Now, her marriage and the future happiness of her little daughter (Cora Sue Collins) are in jeopardy.

    This courtroom mystery could have stood fewer melodramatic contrivances, especially toward the end, but the dialogue and characterizations are strong. Far stronger, however, are the remarkable performances from everyone involved. Myrna Loy's quiet desperation is utterly convincing. Powell, good throughout, is especially deft after discovering a stunning secret during the climactic courtroom trial: without a trace of ham, he genuinely looks as if he is about to keel over from shock, as he is forced to go on. Isabel Jewell, eschewing all phony theatrics, is remarkably good during her testimony at the end. Cora Sue is charming as the little girl. These performances distract us from the occasional creaks and groans in the plot and make the movie worth seeing.
  • This is a mystery film that, although not quite of the calabre of The Thin Man, builds suspense and intrigue thoroughly. Both William Powell and Myrna Loy are superb, playing characters completely different from those they play in The Thin Man series. They breathe a new life into a common plot. This film may seem slow, but it is certainly worth it.
  • This is an absorbing, intelligent picture, bolstered by sensitive performances and adept handling of an adult story. Its fundamentals may be overly familiar, and perhaps a bit too much plot gets in the way of believable, touching characterizations. But you will care about the main characters, whose weaknesses and oversights lead them to the brink of ruin - even if (in a questionable decision by the film makers) they are given the trappings of art deco luxuries, instead of being brought closer to a lifestyle familiar to the audience.

    Powell and Loy, alone and together, are fine, as always. Credit Isabel Jewell with a low-key, yet emotionally-charged performance. Jessie Ralph is excellent is one extended scene in which she babbles and equivocates as the tension builds to a quiet frenzy. Una Merkel softens her familiar screen mannerisms to play the character, rather than vice versa.

    Not a well-known film, "Evelyn Prentice" is most definitely worth your while.
  • In EVELYN PRENTICE, I saw the importance of family and the real meaning of "'til death do us part," from the standard marriage vows. Work comes between John and Evelyn Prentice (William Powell and Myrna Loy). A sweet-talker comes between John and Evelyn Prince. Their daughter Dorothy brings them together, as does love.

    As simple as this sounds, as possibly hokey, it mattered in 1935, and it made for a good movie. It matters in the 21st Century, as well, and the movie is still good.

    The villain in this film is portrayed as totally devoid of value, his killing beneficial to the human race. Vigilante justice is an uneasy concept, but it works. The sleazy sweet-talker is shot, and John Prentice is the best attorney around.

    If you like Powell and Loy beyond the Thin Man series, and there are several great ones, you'll enjoy this. Powell's character is a sophisticated as ever, Loy's as fantastically intelligent.

    My wife and I enjoyed this film.
  • pepe4u224 February 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    This movie had in it the elements that made the Thin Man a smash. The film crackles when Myrna and William Powell are on the screen. And it almost looks like a Thin Man movie with a lot of supporting actors from the series appearing in this movie. The movie is about a woman married to a successful and neglectful attorney and implies he may have had an affair with his client when he was out of town. During this time a barfly somehow is able to manipulate our heroine Myrna into spending sometime with him for teas, walks then try to blackmail her when she breaks it off. Someone else is blamed and for the rest of movie Myrna has a guilty conscious yet our heroine in the end does the right thing she thinks but in a pre M Night twist which i will not disclose all turns out. This movie was a bit slow and yes i had a hard time believing that a sophisticated lady would fall for such a douchebag but Myrna and Bill were awesome as usual. Not thin man quality but better than most.
  • This movie is one of the best examples of what resulted when the studio machine didn't quite know what to do with its talent pool.

    Powell and Loy, who had recently proven themselves a winning team in the original Thin Man, are again the urbane marrieds. Their individual talents and snappy chemistry aren't entirely swamped by this soapy melodrama, but they are given a slight patina of caricature. Thank god the studio figured it out and gave us five more Thin Man movies.

    The very freaky thing about this movie is the film debut of the divine Roz Russell. Granted, she was an extremely beautiful woman, but casting her in the Joan Crawford femme fatale role gives unintentional comedy and a textbook demonstration of "What do we do with this one" syndrome. Thank god the studio figured it out and gave us the rest of her career.

    As a movie, Evelyn Prentice is not bad lazy rainy Sunday viewing. It's much more interesting as a piece of oddball film history and an object lesson in how mediocre things can happen to great people.
  • Besides the obvious factors of a great cast of that era, a great writer of women's films and how the writers, director and actors were able to tell all without showing it all - leaving much to the imagination, one of the great surprises of this film is a short scene in a nightclub where two male dancers, one white and one black, do a lovely tap dance number. This is one of the first integrated dance sequences in a white nightclub I remember seeing on film.

    If anyone has more information about the dancers, and the history of this scene, i would be delighted to hear more about it! What a huge surprise.

    And you may know that Rosalind Russell is in the film, her film debut and she is great as ever, with the camera loving her. She would soon go on to greater film roles like her comedy with Cary Grant, that classic, My Girl Friday.

    The set designs are wonderful and reflect that period of Hollywood studio work. The cinematography too is wonderful. And the drama between William Powell and Myrna Loy is as wonderful as always. Una Merkel is a delight, filling in the gaps and the dialog of that period is also delightful.

    I enjoyed it. If you enjoy those great black and white 1930s classics, I think you will also enjoy this little gem.
  • Despite the presence of stars Myrna Loy and William Powell (not to mention Rosalind Russell in her brief film debut), supporting player Isabel Jewell's performance is easily the most memorable in this drama. Powell plays a prominent lawyer, and Jewell plays a potential client, one who can't afford his serves as much as the glamorous socialite played by Russell. The legendary Loy has some fine scenes, but she really isn't given much of a chance to change her somber demeanor throughout the picture. There isn't really much action in this film, just a few well-placed confrontations and plot devices to keep up a modest amount of suspense, plenty enough to hold ones interest in a short running time. Films of this era didn't have to rely on spectacle or sensation to be good, and this is one example.
  • This is a great 1934 film which had a great deal of mystery and entertainment right to the very end of the film. John Prentice, (William Powell), played the role as a very famous lawyer who was always busy with plenty of his clients and his wife was, Evelyn Prentice, (Myrna Loy). Evelyn Prentice had a small daughter and the family was very happy, but John was constantly busy all the time and Evelyn is approached by a man who seems to charm her and tempt her into some sort of a relationship with him. At the same time, John defended a very rich client and was able to free her from any judgments in a car accident and this client showered John with all kinds of affection and wanted to have an affair with him. There is a murder which occurs and turns this film completely around and takes the story in another direction. Please don't miss this film, it is just plain great to view and enjoy with great acting by Myrna Loy and William Powell.
  • mmallon420 October 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    Movies like Evelyn Prentice give me one of the greatest satisfactions I get from watching films; discovering an obscurity from an actor's filmography which I end up considering to be one of their finest films. Myrna Loy superbly carries Evelyn Prentice, dominating the majority of the screen time, with William Powell delivering one of his finest dramatic turns while seeing Rosalind Russell in her screen debut is just a mere bonus. Russell doesn't have a whole lot to do but she still comes off as a memorable screen presence despite this, although it is a little odd hearing her speak in an English accent and not at a machine gun rate. Loy and Una Merkel make for a fun duo, with Merkel having a very memorable comic sounding voice. Just the deco of Evelyn Prentice itself makes me love this film more, whether it's a smoke-filled nightclub, the lavish interior of Powell and Loy's home to even the clothes worn in the film (the costume department really knocks this one out of the park), sucking me into the world of the 1930's.

    Scenes such as the family exercising or the father and daughter playing the piano together help humanize them, making me more fearful that a character played by the sweetheart Myrna Loy could be going to prison, or maybe get the electric chair! The tension builds as the film progresses. The scene in which a witness arrives at the Prentice household while Evelyn is present to describe the women she witnessed leaving the murder scene, this woman, of course, being Evelyn buy nobody else knows that, feels like the type of moment you would get from a Hitchcock movie. In fact, the entire premise of the movie could be given the Hitchcock treatment.

    I often feel like Hollywood makes being a lawyer look like the coolest job ever. Even if John Prentice (William Powell) is missing time from his family, his turn during the film's courtroom climax makes the profession look like a constant flow of hair-raising excitement. The film's final twenty-minute courtroom sequence had my heart pounding, eating up every minute of its melodramatic glory while screaming in anticipation of how the characters are going to get themselves out of this situation. At the same time, however, I was tense that the movie would pull the characters out of their intense dilemma in a contrived manner, I'm pleased to say I was not disappointed. The outcome of the case is movie fantasy but it didn't feel like a cop-out. Throughout this sequence, Powell and Loy do some of the finest acting work of their careers. Myrna Loy is generally not highly regarded as a dramatic actress but I would defy anyone says otherwise as she lays on the tears and the passionate pleas. I must also give credit to Judith Wilson, whole also left an impression during these proceedings. As a fan of Powell & Loy partnership and courtroom dramas, their third film together satisfied more than I could ask for. Manhattan Melodrama, The Thin Man and Evelyn Prentice all in one year, ain't too stingy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Other than crackling film due to the fact that this was made in 1934, we have a great picture here. You can forget the inane Thin Man series as William Powell and Myrna Loy deliver dynamite performances in this drama.

    It's the old story of the neglected wife of a big-time lawyer finding herself in the arms of another man, only to have him blackmail her with his murder ensuing.

    Loy watches the trial as her husband defends Isabell Jewell who is perceived to be the killer. In an emotional outburst, Evelyn (Loy) proclaims her guilt with Powell coming to her defense with a surprise ending. Jewell is terrific and was always so when she was emotional. Who can ever forget her brief appearance as the condemned seamstress in "A Tale of Two Cities?" (1935). Note that Rosalind Russell had a small part in this film as a young widow with designs on Powell, especially after he got her off in an accidental death case. Jesse Ralph is reliable with that Irish brogue that she possessed. That would serve her well 2 years later in the memorable "San Francisco."

    "Evelyn Prentice" is a picture of the human heart with a woman doing the right thing that she felt she was supposed to do. A story of forgiveness and ultimate redemption on all concerned.
  • lugonian1 September 2018
    EVELYN PRENTISS (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1934), directed by William K. Howard, offers William Powell top-billing over Myrna Loy who assumes the title role. Not as well-known as other titled heroines during Hollywood's Golden Age, ranging from Katharine Hepburn as ALICE ADAMS (RKO, 1935), Joan Crawford as MILDRED PIERCE (Warners, 1945), or Ann Sheridan as NORA PRENTISS (Warners, 1947), among others, EVELYN PRENTISS, in fact, is a courtroom melodrama that happens to be the least known or discussed of the 13 screen collaborations of Powell and Loy during their 13-year span. Initially teamed in MANHATTAN MELODRAMA (1934), for which they supported Clark Gable, Powell and Loy reached their peak almost immediately for their second union in THE THIN MAN (1934), a mystery-comedy that spawned five additional sequels and many imitators. Unlike THE THIN MAN, EVELYN PRENTISS is straight- forward drama, having none of the mix-comic/mystery elements one might expect from them. This time Powell plays a lawyer rather than a detective, although as a lawyer, Powell shadows his Nick Charles/"Thin Man" character at times through his methods of reasoning and getting the fact, while Loy's Evelyn may be wife, but not as perfect as one would expect.

    Taken from the book by W.E. Woodward, the scripted story by Lenore Coffee opens not on the title character, but on John Prentiss (William Powell), an attorney on trial defending Nancy Harrison (Rosalind Russell) on a manslaughter charge. John is a happily married man with a beautiful wife, Evelyn (Myrna Loy), and daughter, Dorothy (Cora Sue Collins). Also living in the Prentiss home is Evelyn's best friend and loyal companion, Amy Drexel (Una Merkel). After Mrs. Harrison is acquitted through John's expert testimony, she shows how grateful she is by forcing her advances on him, first in his private chambers, then on the train bound for Boston where John is to spend a week away from his family on business. Because of John's extended stay away from home, Evelyn, Amy and Chester Wylie (Henry Wadsworth) have an evening for themselves at Barney's (Billy Gilbert) night club. While there, Evelyn attracts the attention of poet, Lawrence Kennard (Harvey Stephens). At first, Evelyn doesn't take the young man seriously, but after having some suspicions of John's rendezvous with Mrs. Harrison during his business trip does Evelyn begin to see Lawrence more frequently, much to the chagrin of Judith Wilson (Isabel Jewell), his jealous girlfriend. After Evelyn breaks off her relationship with Lawrence, he decides to blackmail her for $15,000 on her love letters he holds to expose to her husband. A gunshot is heard, with Judith found by Lawrence's body. Accused for his murder, as a favor to Evelyn, John acts as Judith's attorney, only to come to some unforeseen circumstances at the trial that could ruin his marriage. Others members of the cast include: Edward Brophy (Eddie Delaney); Jessie Ralph (Mrs. Blake); Jack Mulhall (Greg); Herman Bing (Mr. Klein); Samuel S. Hinds (Newton); Frank Conroy (District Attorney Farley) and Sam McDaniel (The Porter).

    Although the character and story may have been more plausible starring MGM's top actresses as Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, or even as an introduction to Rosalind Russell making her movie debut as opposed to her flirtatious widow-client, Myrna Loy shows her diversity and skill playing a typical wife who strays away during her husband's absence in business. Unlike other top actresses who might have overplayed the character somewhat, Loy keeps her performance in low-key level until a brief moment at the trial. Aside from Loy who played Oriental vamps during her early movie years in the 1920s and beyond, and being capable of dramatic roles, she's best loved in comedy, especially those opposite William Powell outside "The Thin Man" series as LIBELED LADY (1936), LOVE CRAZY (1941) and a few others. Una Merkel, usually the "comedy relief" in many MGM productions, resumes her part as the best friend as well, while Cora Sue Collins does her bit as the Prentiss daughter who goes to her parents for guidance, especially when involving a broken vase. Let's not overlook Isabel Jewell in a fine dramatic performance that might have paved the way for her brief yet serious role of the seamstress that made A TALE OF TWO CITIES (MGM, 1935) opposite Ronald Colman so memorable.

    Distributed on video cassette in the 1990s, and later available on DVD, EVELYN PRENTISS first aired on cable Turner Network Television (TNT) in 1989 before becoming a permanent fixture on Turner Classic Movies beginning since 1994. (***)
  • There's nothing particularly *awful* about the script or story of Evelyn Prentice, but there's nothing that sparks out that it's particularly deep or original either. It runs just shy of 80 minutes and it was surely one of those "programmers", a movie that was put through by the studio to get some select butts in seats - not too dissimilar, of course, from much of the history of Hollywood, just that it doesn't really distinguish itself in any artistic way outside the box. In other words, William K. Howard puts the camera where it goes, gets his mediums and close-ups, and moves along to the next set-up once he's got what he needs. Scenes even fade-out and fade-in at the point where, perhaps with a more confident or creative director, they might go on or start a little sooner, give a little more depth to the characters. Not all terrible filmmaking, but, perhaps still not so impressive, it's... standard.

    It's interesting to see that in 1934 William Powell and Myrna Loy got not one, not two, but THREE leading vehicles with one another, two of them melodramas, and both of those were with Powell as a lawyer. But where one of those other films was a smash of a comic mystery (The Thin Man, of course, which set them off to be super-stars), and the other a story that also featured Clarke Gable (Manhattan Melodrama, an underrated effort all things considered), this one shows them having to do a little extra leg-work with the script. It gives them moments, to be sure, especially in the first act with those little moments that creep into a marriage like with the Prentices - he a successful but usually-at-work lawyer, her the stay-at-home mom with too much time on her hands - where the actors show doubt and dismay very subtly. A moment where Loy discovers a note and necklace with some shocking conclusions to take from it, her restraint and her eyes say it all. Powell, too, gets those moments.

    It was them, and some decent supporting work from Isabell Jewel (as the woman on trial for killing her husband) and Una Merkel (best-friend comic relief, though not so much comic but more, um, less dramatic I guess), that kept me interested and engaged in the film. There is also, I should admit, a courtroom climax that even in its midst of... is there another word for melodramatic (?) surprises does make for entertaining viewing as far as how the script makes its quick turns. A movie like Evelyn Prentice, with its relatively cute scenes of father-mother-daughter interactions (those are actually some of the best, showing the warmth that Powell could have acting with children, Loy too) and the sort of stagy but fine moments of will-they-won't-they infidelity, that reminds me of the axiom that a fair script can be made into a good movie with good actors.

    If you like Powell, and particularly if you love Loy, this shows them doing good, honest dramatic performances and interactions *despite* the constraints of the material. It also makes for a helluva surreal viewing if you watch it on the same night as, say, one of the Thin Man flicks.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    About 15 minutes into this film I had the strong feeling that I had watched it before, yet I knew I hadn't because a few details weren't falling into place. A little research turned up that it was remade in 1939 as "Stronger Than Desire" with Walter Pidgeon in William Powell's role and Virginia Bruce in Myrna Loy's role.

    Usually I could tell you that either the original or the remake of a story was better, but I can't really do that in this case. Each film has its strengths and its weakness, but each film is also quite excellent.

    In the Powell/Loy version, the marital relationship is portrayed best, although that's not to say that it is poorly portrayed in the Pidgeon/Bruce version. Perhaps its that natural chemistry that was so common between Powell and Loy, but make no mistake, this is no comedy like the Thin Man series...this is all drama.

    On the other hand, the courtroom portion of the story is better in the Pidgeon/Bruce version.

    But, in the Pidgeon/Bruce version, the best friend of the wife encourages the affair in a manner that seems malevolent, while in the Powell/Loy version it seems more a silly whim, which seems more likely based on the rest of the stories.

    In both the cases, the plot twist at the end is interesting! And I recommend you watch both films.

    In this version, the best friend is played nicely by Una Merkel, and she does so nicely, although she shined much more in other films. Interesting to note that in this film the part of the real murderess is played by Isabel Jewell, who played the woman going to the guillotine at the same time as Ronald Colman in "A Tale Of Two Cities" just a year later, and the prostitute in "Lost Horizon" three years later, and that "white trash Emmy Slattery" in "Gone With The Wind" in 1939.

    This film and the remake is highly recommended, and you may want one for your DVD shelf.
  • I saw this movie last night, it kept me guessing how it will end, (which I won't spoil for you). Yes, some of the action is not plausible in today's court room drama, but for a pure entertainment value, this movie is a "9". Myrna Loy looks fabulous in this movie, but with a best friend, like her girl-friend in this movie, you don't need enemies. Your best friend should help keep you out of trouble not get you in trouble. There are a moral issues to this movie, watch out for the friends you keep, pick better friends, and it is not all greener on the outside of the street. I won't tell you anymore, I won't spoil it for you. Go to eBay or Amazon and buy this movie, you will enjoy the hour or so that you will spend watching this movie. Not as well-known as other movies starring Myrna Loy, but "Evelyn Prentice" is most definitely worth your while.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I disagree with planktonrules's review for a variety of reasons. While it is true that this was obviously not a grand film, it is still worthy of a casual peek. After all, Loy and Powell fans will always appreciate seeing them together on the screen, even if it is not perfection.

    The plot does sound interesting. John Prentice (William Powell) is an affluent lawyer who not only neglects his wife Evelyn (Myrna Loy) but has an affair with a client. In the mean time lonely Evelyn meets an apparently charming Lawrence Kennard who, unbeknownst to her, has only one motive: money.

    Evelyn Prentice innocently corresponds with Mr. Kennard who uses the letters as leverage for his blackmail. While the letters are innocuous, the wording can be understood as either confirming an affair or only confirming a friendship. Naturally Mr. Kennard plans are to use them to confirm a non-existent affair.

    When John wishes to reconcile with his wife, Evelyn notifies Mr. Kennard that their friendship is over. Infuriated, Mr. Kennard says he wants money in exchange for the letters; an amount that Evelyn cannot possibly pay. Grabbing a gun from an open drawer, Evelyn demands the letters. When he refuses, a gun shot is heard and Evelyn is seen leaving Mr. Kennard's apartment.

    Guilt ridden after hearing that a woman has been accused of Kennard's murder, Evelyn asks her husband to take her case and even more twists are to come.

    Unlike what planktonrules claims, it is entirely believable for that day in age. While overdone, perhaps, the plot is neat and does work.

    I don't give it a terribly high grade, but I do feel that the acting was very well done, the plot was clear and the ending was satisfying. That makes it a sufficient film, deserving any time spent viewing it.
  • ... not what it could have been. I'm always willing to check out a Myrna Loy/William Powell pairing, which is why I chose this one. William Powell is surprisingly good in a serious role, while Myrna Loy makes what she can of her dutiful-wife-and-mother character. The first half of the movie is quite promising, but it gets both clichéd and unbelievable in the courtroom scene in the second half. I was disappointed, because I think they really could have made something of this movie, and they didn't. As someone else has said, Una Merkel is great as Loy's best friend, while Cora Sue Collins as the couple's precious little daughter mostly makes me grit my teeth (I know, good child actors are hard to find at any time!). If you're an ML/WP fan, go for it, if not, there are other golden oldies you should probably see first!
  • We are so used to seeing them in the Thin man comedies that we forget that they are both excellent all around actors. This movie highlights their acting prowess and exquisitely shows the incredible chemistry that they both had with each other. I urge anyone who hasn't seen this film to please watch and enjoy. I relished every moment as they brought their skills to this production. I didn't even realize this film existed. It will definitely be part of my Powell and Loy library. Bravo!
  • Eric2667 August 2018
    I'm an unabashed Powell/Loy fan. Ever since I watched the Thin Man series a few years ago on TCM, I've been watching everything they appear in. After just watching the lackluster Double Wedding, I was overjoyed to find this movie on the docket as well.

    Powell is John Prentice, a highly successful and driven lawyer. Loy is his neglected wife (Evelyn), who always seems to come second to his job. When John has to go away on yet another business trip, he is almost seduced by a former client, Mrs, Harrison (Rosalind Russell in her debut). Through a plot quirk, Evelyn thinks he might be having an affair with Harrison so she starts an innocent flirtation with a poet, Larry Kennard (Harvey Stephens), who is actually a ruthless con man. When Evelyn asks Larry for the innocent letters she has written, he refuses and threatens to blackmail her. He soon winds up dead and his girlfriend, Judith, is arrested for the crime. Does Evelyn know more than she is letting on? When John takes on Judith's case it creates some serious tension and anxiety for both Evelyn and us, the viewer.

    Powell and Loy are amazing in this drama. Unlike the Thin Man movies, the tone is dark and foreboding. This movie is more Manhattan Melodrama than Thin Man. Both leads are fantastic as they try to find a way to make their marriage work as it is crashing down around them. There are no slapstick pratfalls or snappy dialogue. Its a straight drama and Powell and Loy burn up the screen with their talent. I've seen 13 of their pairings (I haven't seen The Senator was Indiscreet which has a Loy cameo) and this is right up there with the first Thin Man and Manhattan Melodrama.

    The courtroom scene at the end is the best part of the movie. The plot twist and revelations are great without being pandering. John's slow realization of the truth and his reaction to it are a joy to behold both from the character and the actor.
  • What begins as a self-described "commonplace situation" tries to turn into a murder mystery, but does not really play fair: there are clues that are kept hidden from the audience until the final scene. William Powell and Myrna Loy have that palpable chemistry that made them such an enduring screen pair, Una Merkel is a joy as Loy's gal pal, and Isabel Jewell acts up a storm in the climactic sequence. The production has the typical MGM polish. **1/2 out of 4.
  • I had passed up this movie many times after reading mixed reviews, but taking a closer look at those involved realized it just had to be seen. Glad I did, was compelled all the way.

    Over the top plot...? maybe so, but maybe not. I've mostly liked the screenplays of Lenore Coffee ~ notably: "Four Daughters" in '38. The long lost: "The Way of all Flesh" '40 (one of those many Paramount gems that got swallowed up in a deal by MCA TV then largely ignored! shameful.) Then in '52 "Sudden Fear", just a few among many. Under versatile director William K. Howard's hand, this story carries the thoughtful viewer through a variety of complex, moody situations. The treatment given to family values is possibly as good as any you may see in a 30's film...especially given the fact it's a story about neglect, infidelity, and murder.

    Reviewers rave about Powell and Loy in their 'Thin Man' movies (these are fine within their genre) but this film offers up a worthwhile study of the pitfalls within our own human condition, with its temptations, ego, and various commitments. With an interesting original story as a starting point, paired with Coffee's intelligent screen adaptation, then backed up by convincing performers (Isabel Jewell is especially good during the courtroom scenes) these elements mostly add up to delivering first class entertainment that moves along fast enough as not to outstay its welcome. There's also a night club treat featuring a performance of the old standard "Me and My Shadow" that should delight any musical eyes and ears.

    There's a reoccurring aspect of some early film studio's product that's a little difficult to understand...and it appears to be a possible miss-reading of the majority of their intended target audiences living conditions. They persisted in choosing overly opulent settings for a vast number of story characters - while the larger audience population was beset with debt or poverty. Seems perhaps America may have been selling an image to the world, while ignoring their own even larger struggling class. Putting this aside, take a look, if you enjoy well made 30's drama, you could just find this pleasing, even quite special.

    Foot Note: Good to see TCM Australia giving us more newly added titles, also good to note they are replacing some of their earlier bad focus prints with re-masted quality. Although, other copies of classics such as "Border Incident" and Mystery Street" remain, at the time of this writing, in bad need of replacing. It would also be a treat for its subscribers if TCM put aside the wailing of various industry eccentric's and gave its viewing public the chance to see some of their better 'colorized' prints...especially the musicals, after all, what audience ever really needed a B/W musical?

  • The movie feels like pre-code. I won't say anymore about that. Anytime you can get Loy and Powell in an early 30s movie....grab the popcorn. Gotta also mention the fine monologue given by Isabel Jewell at the end of the pic which shows off her Broadway chops. Sadly, she committed suicide at age 64.
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