Monday, 5 March 2012

Box Set Mondays: Myrna Loy

This is my guest post which is up today at Sophie's wonderful Waitin' On a Sunny Day blog for her series Box Set Mondays. Thanks for letting me guest post!

It's a travesty that Myrna Loy never got her own DVD box set. She was never nominated for an Oscar, hardly any of her movies are even on DVD. This drives her fans - like me - to forever haunt the likes of YouTube and MetaCafe for clips or if we're lucky whole movies from our favourite star. My other favourite - Katharine Hepburn - has had many a boxed set created, and the majority of her films are released for us on DVD. I wish there were more of her films on DVD and I wish that there WERE A BOXED SET OF HER ALONE!!! There is the Thin Man Box set and the William Powell and Myrna Loy boxed set, but why not make one of her own? Surely she - one of the most underrated actresses of the golden age - deserves one, particularly as she's just had a new biography written about her. I remember deforest writing about a time on the TCM cruise when an 80 year old man stood up in the middle of a crowd of 300 and screamed at the head TCM programmer "WHERE IS THE ANN SHERIDAN BOX SET?" and then sat down again. So here is what I think should be in a Myrna Loy box set, some of these aren't even on DVD (TCM, I don't know if you frequent Classic Film Blogs, but please read this... Hint, hint?)

The List: Test Pilot (1938), The Thin Man (1934), The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946), Libeled Lady (1936), Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), Evelyn Prentice (1934)

Test Pilot (1938) Starring Myrna Loy, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy - Directed by Victor Flemming

Ever since my mum told me she loved this film and I searched out some clips from it I wanted to see this movie. I'd searched and searched for the DVD, but alas, it was no-where to be seen. Test Pilot isn't on DVD.I found it on YouTube and immediately fell in love. Clark Gable is playing a carefree, debonair test pilot self who didn't "give a damn" about women or home life - that is, until he meets Myrna Loy's farm girl character. Spencer Tracy plays Gable's loyal best friend and "manager"... at least he has some common sense! Myrna Loy is adorable in this film. It's one of my favourites of hers.

The Thin Man (1934) Starring Myrna Loy and William Powell, Directed by W.S. Van Dyke.

This is probably the film that Myrna is best remembered for. The quick witted wife, Nora, of detective Nick Charles. She quips back at him, loves him, teases him and is basically all around awesome. Who could want more in a wife? No-one it seems, because after this, most of Myrna's films had her playing the lead as a wife or devoted girlfriend - prompting the documentary "Myrna Loy: So Nice To Come Home To." You can't really love classic film without having seen at least one of the Thin Man series, and if you are only going to watch one, then this is definitely the best. No sequel could ever quite top it. This is flawless. A great addition to any collection.

The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946) Starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Teresa Wright and Dana Andrews. Directed by William Wyler.

Myrna loy came out of her "retirement" working for the Red Cross to appear in this. It's a very important film and a very important role for her. Here is my previous review of this post-war film that is bound to have anyone in tears.

Libeled Lady (1936) Starring Myrna Loy, William Powell, Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow. Directed by Jack Conway.

{My GIF}

This is one of my all time favourite comedies and films in general. It's wonderful - and I an only really think of The Philadelphia Story that tops it in terms of romantic comedies. Myrna Loy plays a rich society girl who is suing a big-time newspaper for $5,000,000 in a libel suit - after the newspaper had claimed she was a husband grabber. William Powell and Spencer Tracy work to frame her to undermine the credibility of her complaint. William Powell and Myrna Loy pair perfectly in this, the best since their inspired coupling in The Thin Man. There are plenty of cute scenes with Bill Powell in this movie but in my opinion it's not him that leads the show - though I hav to say he's still brilliant. I think that Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow are the best, and their performances stand out for me. Libeled Lady is a great piece of classic cinema that is never boring and always full of life and fun.

Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948). Starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas. Directed by H.C. Potter.

I love this film. It's a great story full of clever observations about a family's need for extra space - and when they get it - they find out that no matter how much space and land they have, they still have the same age-old problem of living together. Cary Grant plays a kind but easily convinced advertising man who follows his dream of having a beautiful family house in Connecticut - even if it means starting right from scratch. This is a super fun film where Myrna Loy again plays a quick witted wife, and it includes a great scene where Myrna Loy goes into great detail describing the colours she wants her house painted.

Evelyn Prentice (1934). Starring Myrna Loy and William Powell. Directed by W.S. Van Dyke.


Evelyn Prentice is an often forgotten pre-code courtroom thriller. It is by no means a masterpiece but Myrna Loy's performance is one of many that should have at least been nominated for an Oscar. Myrna plays the wife of a successful lawyer who absentmindedly neglects her and their child for his work. When he has a short fling with one of his clients (Rosalind Russel, made up and glamourised beyond recognition in her very first film role) and Myrna finds out, she decides to have tea with a poet/gigolo who had approached her a few nights before. She writes some letters to him that he uses to blackmail her, and she finds herself secretly involved in his murder trial. Her performance is wonderful and the finale courtroom scene killed me. This one's an interesting glimpse into a career she could have had as one of MGM's prime dramatic actresses.

Thanks Sophie for having me guest post on your lovely blog and I hope that the rest of the series goes well :-D! So I hope this has inspired you to go watch some Myrna Loy and I hope that someone reads this and makes this box set (TCM, by the way I am completely happy to be paid in box-sets and lifelong subscriptions to your channel/magazine!)