Love Crazy, 1941, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Starring William Powell, Myrna Loy. Directed by Jack Conway. B&W, 99 minutes.
It’s their fourth anniversary, and Steve and Susan Ireland (William Powell, Myrna Loy) have plans to celebrate a loving union. Their evening is interrupted by Susan’s mother (Florence Bates), a meddlesome woman who doesn’t approve of Steve. She sends him on an errand, and by chance, he meets the woman he left for Susan, Isobel Grayson (Gail Patrick). She’s moved into the same building the Ireland’s live in.
Steve is hit on the head in an elevator accident, and Isobel takes him into her apartment to recover. Making no secret of her continued love for him, she coaxes him into several drinks — but, as hard as she tries, nothing more. Steve staggers back to his apartment, where his unkempt appearance and tipsiness are met with skepticism by Susan and his mother-in-law.
He confesses where he’s been, confident his love for Susan is reciprocated. Jealous and angry, she sets up a comprising scene with an upstairs neighbor. She goes to the wrong apartment, however, and is met by Ward Willoughby (Jack Carson), who has no issue kissing her until he discovers her purpose.
The series of misunderstandings and missteps continues until Susan reaches her limit and files for divorce. Steve won’t let her go, although Isobel is making the most of this opportunity. Ward sees his chance with Susan, and the road to reconciliation becomes treacherous.
Love Crazy was a zanier film than most Powell-Loy pairings, down to the memorable site of Powell dressed as a middle-aged matron. The actor insisted on making the disguise as realistic as possible. “He wasn’t content with a purposely clumsy impersonation,” a popular movie magazine of the time reported. “Complete with chic pompadour and false bosom, Bill makes as convincing a dowager as ever won the heart of Groucho Marx.”
The zaniness included a light satire of popular psychology, and was well-received by audiences who recognized the jabs at current thinking. While some of the references may fly by today’s audiences, it remains a fast-paced, fun movie with Powell and Loy at their irreverent best.
Gail Patrick played the role she became best known for in multiple films, that of the somewhat unlikeable other woman. As attractive as any leading lady of the time, Patrick more often was relegated to supporting roles. Much the same can be said for Carson, although he broke out into lead parts from time to time throughout his career. In Love Crazy, he plays a character audiences will recognize greatly resembles the part he later played in The Male Animal.
This is one of the most enjoyable Powell/Loy films outside of the The Thin Man series. In classic screwball comedy fashion, it takes the audience on a wild ride to reconciliation. This incredible screen couple never fails to deliver. Love Crazy is further proof.