I have a double whammy today with this post and my music post but this happens few and far between. Dell on Movies has a great blog week showcasing women and film. You can choose an actress, director, producer, writer etc... who have been great with a film. Here is my next choice...
THE THIN MAN-1934 WITH MYRNA LOY (AUG. 2, 1905-DEC. 14, 1993)
The Thin Man was almost the start ( They made one film prior to this one)of a beautiful relationship (on screen) with William Powell. They made 14 pictures together and 5 as Nick and Nora Charles, the sleuthing married couple where he married a gal with money and she married a man who is an expert sleuth and she is no slouch either. He also loves his drinks and she can match him even if she ends up on the floor. To make everything perfect, they own a great dog, named Asta (actually, Skippy was his real name), who often stole many scenes and became a star himself.
This film, that started it all, has Nick and Nora trying to figure out what happened to Nick's old client from his P.I. days. Soon bodies start piling up just like the drinks and who can blame them because a good stiff drink is often what is needed. Woody, "One Take" S. Dyke was the director who felt the first take was often the best so the actors had to keep on their toes with him and this helped the speed of this film. This film finally broke Myrna out of her typecast roles as some Oriental or Eurasion vamp. Myrna and William bantered back and forth just like a regular couple and they played their roles to the hilt. Myrna was excellent as an heiress who can match any man while wearing something beautiful. This film is worth a look for sure.
She was voted the Queen of Hollywood alongside Clark Gable who was voted The King.
She was often cast as vampish Orientals or Eurasian natives because of her eyes and high cheekbones but her ancestry is English, Scottish and Swedish.
She was later always considered the quintessential lady/wife in her films(post Vamp) matched 14 times with William Powell, 5 of them were Thin Man films.
She was married 4 times and rumoured to have had an affair with Spencer Tracy (who didn't?) in the mid 30s. Poor gal didn't have much luck with men..one of her husbands was the founder of Hertz rent-a-car.
Gangster John Dillinger, a big fan of Myrna Loy, came out of hiding to see "Manhattan Melodrama" (1934) and was shot to death outside the theatre in Chicago by the police.
She modeled for the figure "Inspiration" for the Fountain of Education at Venice High School in Los Angeles. Over the years, the elements and much vandalism resulted in a fence being erected and the actual sculpture being removed and a duplicate bronze one installed. I don't know what they did with the original.
She served tirelessly for the Red Cross during World War 2 and was a member at large for the U. S. Commission to UNESCO. She openly spoke against Hitler (this was frowned upon by the studio as they never wanted their stars to be political for fear of losing money) which resulted in her films being banned from Germany and ended up on Hitler's black list. I bet she considered that an honour. She was an avid democrat speaking for FDR and, later, JFK and was an open spokesperson for Civil Rights. She really hated how African Americans were treated and shown in the cinemas. "Why does every black person in the movies have to play a servant? How about a black person walking up the steps of a courthouse carrying a briefcase?"
Other notable films..
THE MASK OF FU MANCHU (1932)- played a really nasty vamp who gets her sexual thrills from torturing poor men.
WIFE VS. SECRETARY (1936)
LIBELLED LADY (1936)
THE GREAT ZIEGFELD (1936)- She played Billie Burke who played Glinda in "The Wizard of Oz."
AFTER THE THIN MAN (1936)
THE RAINS CAME (1939)
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) - This was her favourite film
MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOME (1948)
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (1950)
THE END (1978)
SUMMER SOLSTICE (1978)- Her last film role with Henry Fonda, also his last, even though it is a TV film.
I haven't seen any of these Nick and Nora films. They sound fantastic. Thanks for mentioning them. I'm keeping a list for when the weather gets really cold and I start watching more late afternoon movies. Happy Wednesday. hugs-ErikaReplyDelete
Oh good! Myrna is a great actress.Delete
When are you gonna shine the spotlight on my favorite female - that naughty, shimmying "Cuchi Cuchi" gal - Charo?ReplyDelete
To answer your question, I, for one, did not have an affair with Spencer Tracy.
Yessum, I heard that John Dillinger was just dying to see Myrna Loy in Manhattan Melodrama.
<< She openly spoke against Hitler (this was frowned upon by the studio as they never wanted their stars to be political for fear of losing money) >>
Gosh, imagine that! (BA-DUM-BUMP)
But seriously, dear friend, I'm pleased to see you posting this essay on the Queen of Hollywood - Myrna Loy. I admired Myrna as an actress and for her political stance. Her heart was in the right place. She was part of the solution.
I saw a few of Myrna's Thin Man films and also watched Rat Packer Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk in the roles of Nick and Nora Charles in TV series of the late 50s.
Thanks for sharing so many interesting facts about Myrna Loy's career and private life.
Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday, dear friend BB!
Yes, imagine the studios thinking about themselves and the bottom line. She is quite the interesting lady.Delete
Thanks for this interesting biography of Myrna Loy. She is a favourite of mine, along with the Thin Man series. The amount of drinking in those films is amazing, isn't it? Most people would have been falling down drunk, but not them! ☺ReplyDelete
Yes, they always had whiskey or something on the side. Now we must call everything a martini but, in those days, it was a shot of whiskey.Delete
I'm sure I've seen at least one Nick and Nora film, but on TV, of course. Myrna Loy is a great choice for today, dear Birgit.ReplyDelete
They used to be on TV quite a bit so I am sure you have.Delete
My wife is a huge fan of Myrna Loy, William Powell, Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett, all of it.ReplyDelete
Oooh, glad she is. She has great taste.Delete
I love Myrna Loy. But wait, wasn't Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond? I thought that was later.ReplyDelete
Actually On Golden Pond was the second last film. he made that before Summer Solstice but it was released after.Delete
Hi, I really enjoyed reading your post, and hope to read more. thank you so much for sharing this informative blog.ReplyDelete
I love that you're focusing on actresses that end up being "new to me" Now I Have more things to go back and watch!ReplyDelete
Yes and I hope you do take in some of her films.Delete
Now that Thanksgiving is over here in the States I spent the day plowing into decorating for Christmas (we go all out and it takes weeks!) but now that the sun has set I've carved out time at last to properly read through your Girl Week posts and could not be more excited!!!
What an excellent choice to shine a light on Myrna Loy is!! LOVE her completely both as an actress and a person. If you haven't read it her autobiography "Being and Becoming" is a top flight book in the genre.
She is brilliant in The Thin Man series, never more so than the first. She and Bill Powell shared a lightening in a bottle chemistry that just can't be replicated or forced.
I'm in agreement with her that Best Years of Our Lives was the best film in which she ever appeared, and she's great in it (how was the woman never nominated for an Oscar? Insanity!) but I don't think it was her best showcase as far as that goes. The film really belongs to Dana Andrews, Harold Russell and in a more minor key Virginia Mayo.
It think the film you chose really gives full breath to her special talents followed by Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (no one has ever described colors with more flair!)
I've seen all her extant films except the 1931 Body and Soul which also has Humphrey Bogart in a small role. I know it exists and read a new print has been struck but can't find it anywhere! It's a Holy Grail title for me. Over 20 of her early films are lost, many in the massive 1964 MGM vault fire that wiped out so much film history including many of Joan Crawford's silents too. Her early films, and some performances, are a variable lot but working in a factory like MGM that's to be expected. It seems so strange to see her now in the Oriental roles that were her stock in trade for a while. One of the most bizarre is Thirteen Women with Irene Dunne as the heroine and Myrna the evil foreign woman. It's of note also as containing the only onscreen appearance of the ill-fated Hollywood sign jumper Peg Entwistle. A little factoid about that tragic lady, did you know she was briefly married to the actor Robert Keith making her for a time Brian Keith's stepmother!
Back to Myrna. My top 10 favorites of her films (based on her performance therein) from top to bottom would be:
The Thin Man
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Rains Came
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
Libeled Lady (all four stars are tremendous but the movie belongs to Jean Harlow)
All the other Thin Man sequels
From the Terrace
I a, so happy to finally be here and respond to all the comments. Myrna Loy is one of my favs and lucky you to have seen almost all of her films. I hope you find that final film of hers so you can finally see it.ReplyDelete
I love her in Best Years and one of my favourite scenes is when she and Frederic March and Myrna tell their daughter about marriage and the triumphs but the pitfalls. I almost...almost went with The Rains Came but I just love her in Thin Man. Blandings is brilliant, even today, with that scene about the colouring of each room. I die laughing each time.
It’s such a shame about that fire( and others) that destroyed so much. Yes, I did know about Peg being the step mom to Brian Keith. Talk about small world.