Monday night, my movie group watched Libeled Lady. You know how the old folks say, "they don't make them like this anymore?" This 1936 screwball comedy is the kind of movie they're talking about.
Libeled Lady boasts classic MGM star power. Three-time Oscar nominee, suave and divine William Powell. His favorite leading lady, elegant Myrna Loy. Reigning sex symbol, feisty Jean Harlow. Hollywood's new favorite Everyman, Spencer Tracy.
Myrna Loy is the "lady" of the title. Tracy's newspaper prints a story, claiming that she was the other woman in a messy, high society divorce. She wasn't. She retaliates with a lawsuit that could bankrupt the paper. William Powell is brought in to entrap her in a compromising situation, so Tracy can blackmail her into dropping the suit. Harlow is Tracy's long-suffering fiancee, a girl who is beyond sick of playing second fiddle to her boyfriend's job.
The plot machinations are too ridiculous to recount. And they don't matter, anyway. The point of this movie is to let Powell, Loy, Harlow and Tracy charm us. And to transport us to a world where newspaper men drink whiskey at their desks, and heiresses take cruises and escape to their country homes, and bell boys are tipped to forget what they just saw.
We all had a delicious time watching it.