Tag Archives: Myrna Loy

Shadow of the Thin Man

1941

directed by: W.S. Van Dyke

220px-shadow_of_the_thin_man

So we’re starting a new theme here at the blog.  Donna Reed movies pre-It’s a Wonderful Life. There are 19 in all between 1941 & 1946 (Think of anyone in Hollywood being in 19 movies today over the same span).  Definitely doable, review wise though.   Shadow is #2 of 19.

Shadow of the Thin Man is the 4th installment in the six part ‘Thin Man’ series which ran from 1934 to 1947. All 6 starred William Powell and Myrna Loy.  So, here we are again with Myrna Loy.  Can’t seem to keep away from her.  Now, admittedly, watching the 4th movie in a series first is a bit unfair, comparable to seeing say, the … 4th Harry Potter movie? and understanding all the meanings and characters and stuff. Thankfully, this movie punished me as a first-time viewer by perpetually involving cameos by people who appeared in earlier films in a sort of ‘aw-shucks remember me?’ way.

Plot-wise, it’s a normal murder mystery P.I. film.  Powell plays Nick Charles, a playboy (though married to Loy’s character, Nora), drunk, Sherlock Holmes-ian guy whom everyone in America seems to know & love.  As mentioned earlier, it was tough to keep track of the characters, not knowing if they were ‘just stopping by to say hello’ or a murder suspect or a friend or a friend but not really or a mobster or what.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  Donna Reed. I’m doing a terrible job already.  She was decent as the secretary to one of the mobsters and girlfriend to Barry Nelson (much better in this role, his screen debut, than opposite Debbie Reynolds 22 years later in Mary, Mary. Holy moly, that was bad.)  She shows up 27 minutes in, doesn’t really factor into anything substantial plot-wise, and then she shows up later on when they all (Nick, Nora, her and Nelson) go out to dinner.

To wrap it up: TONS of dry humor, confusing plot, don’t start with the 4th movie in a series.

Underrated Actors: a soft-toss to Donna Reed. Too easy.  Sam Levene was also good as the police Lieutenant.


Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

1948

directed by: H.C. Potter

Cary Grant movie #54 of 74  .  This is the 2nd movie with Grant & Myrna Loy that I’ve reviewed, the other one being  The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer I think.  The one with Shirley Temple.  Adultish Shirley Temple.  Anyways, apparently the critics and the studios liked these two together, but Grant, like myself, didn’t really care for her.  So this is one pretentious film, if it were filmed today.  I’m sure back in the late 40’s, every Tom, Dick, and Harry were dreaming about moving to and building a house in Connecticut.

So the movie plays out like a G-rated Mad Men.  Grant plays a Manhattan Ad-Man, with Myrna, his loving wife, and 2 girls.  Melvyn Douglas, (pass), plays the best friend / ex-boyfriend of Myrna (think scandalous adultery!, then disregard scandalous adultery!).  Now Grant and Myrna basically just buy an old house in the boonies in Connecticut (Lansdale or something), knock it down, and build an extravagant (in the American dream 40’s middle-class Midwest persona) home.  Hijinks ensue. There are some great overtone/narration parts that play out like they’re mocking 50’s TV (which obviously doesn’t exist yet). Nothing too subversive though. And they live happily ever after.

Underrated Actors:   Reginald Denny as the Architect.  Man has a great proper British accent.  And he’s an architect. Can’t go wrong.


The Bachelor and The Bobby-Soxer

1947

directed by: Irving Reis

Oscars: Best Original Screenplay – Sidney Sheldon

Well, we’ll start with the most recent movie I finished and work back from there.  Since there will be quite a few Cary Grant pictures, I’ll go by their numbering , and according to Wikipedia (where I’ll be getting all non-critical data from), the man made about 74 films.  74!    So B&B-S is # 52.  By comparison, Debbie Reynolds (the soon to be recognized other theme in my movie watching lately) hadn’t made a movie until 1948!

Alright on to the movie: I’ll try to keep these as simple as possible of synopsis, and then note a couple interesting things about the movie, some possible underrated acting, and then finally how I felt about it.   Cary plays an artist playboy type, possibly painting chicks just to sleep with them.  He has a go-to nightclub that he frequents and also frequently ends up in love-tiff struggles with the different girls at the club.  Anyways, one of these tiffs ends with him in court for fighting. The judgey-wudgey (played by Myrna Loy) lets him off with a warning.  After this, he gives a lecture at the local high school, where a 17-year old Shirley Temple (she’s actually 19 in real life) is in attendance.  She becames enamored instantly with him and sets off to interview him after the lecture.  After she visits his apartment late-night, it is assumed that he kidnapped her, and he winds back up in court.  After Loy gets some advice from her uncle (the City Psychiatrist (awesome job title, btw)), she tells the Asst. D.A. (who has a crush on her naturally) to let Cary and Shirley ride out the love infatuation Shirley has.  Basic hijinks ensue and the film ends (somehow) with Loy and Grant together (naturally) and Shirley after the Robert Pattinson look-alike star basketball player with the heart of gold.

This was the first adultish Shirley Temple film I’ve ever seen which was definitely odd, coupled with the fact that she was 24 years younger than Grant.  His comedy was a bit lackadaisical, and they seemed to rely a little to heavily on the ‘but wait if you would only listen for 2 seconds you would understand the situation and not overreact’.  All in all a watchable film, even though the plot was a bit far-fetched that Grant would settle down with the judge at the end.

Underrated actors: Johnny Sands as the Robert Pattinson look-alike star basketball player with the heart of gold.