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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Missing Myrna Loy

Last night we watched “Love Crazy”, one of those screwball comedies from the ‘40’s with Myrna Loy and William Powell. They are a young couple, Susan and Steve Ireland, celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary. Shortly into “Love Crazy”, Loy’s mother shows up unexpectedly and, among other more serious consequences, she ruins the young couple’s anniversary plans.

I can never watch a Myrna Loy movie without thinking about the time I missed meeting her. Much like Myrna Loy in “Love Crazy”, I was a young newlywed when something unexpectedly threatened to interrupt our plans.

On a Sunday morning the phone rang with an offer to meet Myrna Loy in a small gathering. The get-together was to welcome Ms. Loy to the local chapter of the United Nations Association. As a recent college graduate I had been the student representative on that Board and one of the Board members invited us to the house party she was hosting that afternoon for Ms. Loy.

 My young husband and I already had fallen into the Sunday routine of sleeping late and taking a long afternoon walk with our dog. Ignorant as I was, I had never seen a Myrna Loy movie and knew her name only vaguely. I made the excuse we already had other plans.

Spoiler Alert:  In “Love Crazy”, as a result of the mother-in-law’s sins of commission and omission, and a little questionable behavior by Powell, Myrna is convinced her husband has cheated on her and files for divorce. Nevertheless, Powell and Loy remain in love. And Loy, despite Powell’s numerous crazy antics, remains convinced of her husband’s sanity. Eventually, the young couple reconciles, but not until Powell is committed to the “looney bin” to delay the divorce proceedings. Powell then escapes to reconcile with his lovely wife.

Throughout the movie, Myrna Loy is so elegant and  beautiful you have no doubt Powell’s crazy measures to try to regain his wife’s trust are worth  his humiliation. Together the two actors demonstrate the impeccable timing and comedic talent that brought them such success in other movies, most notably the “Thin Man Series’.

Not too many years after I blew the chance of a lifetime to meet the most elegant Myrna Loy, we lived in the Washington, DC area and enrolled in a classic film series at the American Film Institute. Soon we fell in love with classic films and actors of that era. Myrna Loy was one of the actors of that period who jumped off the screen as a larger-than-life talent.  

Today is the twentieth anniversary of Myrna Loy’s death. While I still regret missing Myrna Loy in person, I’m very grateful we can appreciate her on screen.

NB: I did consult Wikipedia to confirm the details of “Love Crazy” (1941). Unlike Kentucky’s esteemed junior Senator I found no need to copy anything therein.

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