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Libeled Lady

(1936 b 98')

En: 7 Ed: 6

Two newspapermen in order to stop a libel suit try to frame an heiress by having one's fiancé marry the other.

A newspaper calls Connie Allenbury a husband-stealer and tries to recall papers. Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) is dressing for his wedding but goes to the paper and puts off his bride Gladys (Jean Harlow). He calls Mr. Allenbury (Walter Connelly) to apologize, but Connie (Myrna Loy) is suing for $5,000,000. Haggerty finds fired Bill Chandler (William Powell), who has a large hotel bill and agrees to help for $50,000. Bill plans to have Connie steal him while he plays a scene with his wife. Haggerty suggests Bill marry Gladys, who objects until Bill rejects her. They are married, and Gladys kisses Haggerty. They play a scene receiving a telegram that Bill must go to London. He sails back to New York on the ship with Allenbury and Connie, defending her by hitting a reporter. Allenbury loves to fish, and Bill studies fishing. He helps them avoid the Burns-Norvells; but he fails to get Connie to come to his room. On deck he satirizes her suit, and she slaps him.

Bill tells Gladys and Haggerty what happened and sleeps on the couch. Bill is taught how to fish and goes fishing with Allenbury and Connie. Bill falls into the stream but catches a large trout. Connie cooks and invites Bill to swim by moonlight. She tells him she is losing her bet that he is a fraud, and she wants to be friends. While she swims, Bill stops the car of Haggerty and Gladys. Bill tells Haggerty not to sue yet, but Haggerty insists. Bill warns Gladys they will go to jail and sides with her against Haggerty. Bill and Gladys dance, and she agrees not to file suit. Bill goes riding with Connie and asks her to drop her suit. Haggerty gets jealous and calls on Connie, appealing to her social conscience because of lost jobs; she says she'll put the money in a trust fund for the employees. Bill comes in, and Allenbury tells Haggerty to leave. Haggerty tells Gladys that Bill is in love with Connie. Bill calls Gladys, who complains he lied. Haggerty writes a story of Gladys breaking in on Connie and Bill; but Gladys and Bill come in and tell him that Connie will drop the case.

Haggerty has one copy printed with a society column he shows Gladys that Bill and Connie are going on a cruise. At a charity bazaar Allenbury learns that Bill is married and tells Connie. Connie asks Bill to marry her, and he kisses her. Gladys arrives and sees Bill and Connie leave. Bill weds Connie, and Gladys breaks in on them. Bill lets Haggerty in. Bill and Connie show they are married. Bill says Gladys' divorce was not legal, and Haggerty thanks Connie for dropping the suit. Gladys says she got another divorce and asks for Connie's cruise ticket, telling Haggerty to marry his newspaper because she won't sell her husband. Connie questions Gladys' spiteful marriage, while Bill and Haggerty fight. Gladys rushes to Haggerty and slugs Bill. Allenbury comes in, and they try to explain.

Four great stars in humorous situations make this picture a lot of fun even if it is absurd to use a phony marriage to set the trap, though it is oddly pleasing to see Connie drop her guard for a ruse. Then the audience is taken in when Bill really falls for her. Gladys is fooled by attention from Bill when she really loves Haggerty, who through jealousy learns to value Gladys.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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