Monday, December 23, 2013
Myrna Loy - Christmas Morning (with William Powell)
Myrna Loy and William Powell in The Thin Man- Christmas Morning: It's Christmas morning. Detective Nick Charles is lying on the couch in his bathrobe, shooting ornaments off the tree with his brand-new air gun, using the bottoms of his slippers to aim. "This is the nicest present I ever got," he tells his wife, Nora, who's sitting in a nearby chair, wearing a fur coat. Then, trying to aim using a mirror, he misses an ornament and shoots out a window, at which point he curls up into a ball and pretends to be asleep. He opens one eye to glance over at his wife. She just looks bemused and goes back to stroking her new coat. Instead of talking about property damage, they reminisce about the criminal who almost killed them the night before. And then they have another drink. While Loy herself was divorced four times, she had a pretty great life (1905-1993), and an incredible career. A pre-feminist feminist who has yet to be rediscovered by the third wave, Loy demanded the studio pay her as much as William Powell. She fought for civil rights. She and F.D.R. had an extended, unconsummated romance. Spencer Tracy, Clark Cable and John Barrymore all pursued her.
Myrna complained in her autobiography about the way Harlow was distorted beyond recognition and maligned in the press, as well as in sensationalized biographies and biopics. Just as she would jump to Joan Crawford’s defense after Christina Crawford’s tattle-tale book Mommie Dearest came out, she stood up for Harlow, who was indeed subjected to tabloid-style smears too many times. But Myrna’s defense went overboard. She sanitized Harlow, overlooking the frank sexuality that had catapulted her to stardom and the questions that Paul Bern’s probable suicide raised. She characterized her friend as the good-girl victim of exploiters and gossipmongers bent on tarnishing an idol. Myrna’s cleansed Harlow is intelligent, well-mannered,joyful and easy to be with, “a sensitive woman with a great deal of selfrespect”, not the cheap sexpot she’d often been taken for. But in her zeal to protect her friend, Myrna denied Harlow’s zesty essence.