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DOUBLE WEDDING (director: Richard Thorpe; screenwriters: Jo Swerling/based on the play Great Love by Ferenc Molnar; cinematographer: William H. Daniels/Harold Rosson; editor: Frank Sullivan; music: Edward Ward; cast: William Powell (Charles Lodge), Myrna Loy (Margit Agnew), Florence Rice (Irene Agnew), John Beal (Waldo Beaver), Jessie Ralph (Mrs. Kensington-Bly), Edgar Kennedy (Spike), Sidney Toler (Keough, butler); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz; MGM; 1937)
“A zany comedy that fails to work, probably because it’s so arch, resistible and contrived.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A zany comedy that fails to work, probably because it’s so arch, resistible and contrived. It’s adapted from the Ferenc Molnar play Great Love. The slight plot, uptight script and belabored dialogue is credited to screenwriter Jo Swerling. Under Richard Thorpe’s (“Ivanhoe”/”The Prisoner of Zenda”/Jailhouse Rock”) underwhelming direction the comedy peter’s out in a number of goofy but unfunny incidents; it ends in slapstick with a silly sight gag conclusion of a wedding held in an overflowing trailer. It was a box office success due to the star power of the Thin Man couple of Loy and Powell. This film was their seventh pairing. During filming, tragedy struck when Powell’s 26-year-old girlfriend Jean Harlow suddenly died from kidney failure and her untimely death left the actor devastated.

Charles Lodge (William Powell) is a ne’er-do-well lazy bohemian artist and aspiring film director. He dwells in a trailer parked next to Spike’s downtown bar, where he holds movie rehearsals. We know he’s a radical artist because he sports a beret. Margit Agnew (Myrna Loy) is a rigid domineering dress designer for a top fashion house, who is all work and no play. Irene Agnew (Florence Rice) is Margit’s younger sister, who is under her charge and aspires to be an actress. Waldo Beaver (John Beal) is Irene’s meek fiancé, who lives as a boarder with the sisters for the past four years. Rebelling against sis, Irene and Waldo attend Lodge’s movie rehearsals. While playing the part of the lover, Waldo is informed that he has no “yumph.”

Irene is pushing the young couple together, and has their wedding all planned out according to the way she wants it. But things get upset when Margit crashes the rehearsal and learns that Irene loves Lodge instead of Waldo. Irene only says this because she’s upset with Waldo for not being more assertive and for sis’s icy attitude. Though Margit’s convinced Lodge is an unconventional bum, she agrees to his proposal to pose for him if he agrees not to see Irene. By the film’s title, it’s not too difficult to figure out what ensues and who will be paired together. Unfortunately, none of it is really funny.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”