Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O’Sullivan, Nat Pendleton, Minna Gombell
Director: WS Van Dyke
As sparkling and delicious as champagne, this film was a response to the chemistry and popularity of it’s two leads, who had appeared in a film earlier that year to huge success. Here, Myrna Loy and William Powell are a husband and wife detective team, who though they say they aren’t working on a case, are drawn in by a friendship with the daughter of a missing inventor.
They’re a lovely team, a couple who love each other, have great chemistry and snappy dialogue without being sickly sweet or bickering and sarcastic. It’s a delightful design, and one that went on to spawn many sequels and later couple detective teams in films and television, as well as making big bucks at the box office and garnering several awards.
They’re also joined by their adorable dog. Another big selling point for me.
The plot itself is rather convoluted, with various suspects popping in and out and all sorts of side characters being involved, but it all comes right in the end, and the innocent are freed from suspicion. The point of this film is really the journey: the set ups, the witty repartee and the delight of that couple, who appear to drink their way through the film, the ins and outs of it all. It’s funny to think that this film was based on a Dashiell Hammett book, author of darker crime stories like The Maltese Falcon, and yet his love of language and turn pf phrase is also the selling point in this film, though here is comedic rather than cynical.
It sparkles with one liners and fun, and surely was a much needed antidote to the Great Depression. In fact, it’s probably an antidote to modern woes, too, and comes highly recommended.
See It If: you love a bit of snap and wit in your films, this is a delightful caper with two delightful leads.