(3/5) drama, mystery, romance
William Powell and Myrna Loy are second only to Tracy and Hepburn in the pantheon of my favourite classic movie on-screen couples. They appeared together in 14 films over 13 years, the most famous of which were the widely popular (in their time) “Thin Man” series.
In Evelyn Prentice a workaholic lawyer (played by Powell) is too busy for his young wife and child. As the relationship is strained, Loy spends an increasing amount of time with a womanizing poet intent on blackmailing her.
Evelyn Prentice (1934) came out in the same year as the first Thin Man movie. What made the Thin Man and its successors so delicious for me was the terrific chemistry between the two. That couple was clearly, absolutely and deeply in love with each other. Their witty banter and repartee combined with mutual respect and equality was uncharacteristic of the era.
While some of the acting by the supporting cast is over-the-top, bad, particularly by Rosline Rusell (Powell’s client) in her silver screen debut and the early scenes with Isabel Jewell (the poet’s girlfriend), Powell and Loy are very good. The child-star Cora Sue Collins was cute and surprisingly good, as child actors go for the era. Very similar to Shirley Temple.
With a faulty script, the movie is not as entertaining as the other Powell-Loy films. But I can recommend this movie to classic movie lovers given how uniquely the court room drama is wrapped around the relationship story and because of the clever ending. As a rather extreme film buff, I am rarely surprised by plot twists – especially in classic movies. But I did not anticipate the ending to this one. That is a rare. You’ll have to suspend some disbelief – but if you are a Powell-Loy fan, it’s worth it.