Having Myrna Loy and William Powell in a movie works every time, especially when the script provides an interesting story and hilarious situations. That’s the case with “Love Crazy,” the 1941 movie directed by Jack Conway and also starring Jack Carson, Gail Patrick and Florence Bates. Loy looks her usual luminous self while Powell produces some amazing physical antics as they play a married couple experiencing some misunderstandings in their marriage brought on by a botched 4-year anniversary celebration. Love Crazy is the 10th Loy/Powell collaboration, and it shows their magnificent chemistry.
The story begins when Powell, playing Steve Ireland, gets out of a cab singing a song praising marriage and carrying a portable phonograph. He arrives at his apartment to meet his wife Susan (Loy), and then lavishly praises her. Their normal anniversary ritual includes a 4-mile walk to the justice of the peace, a boat ride and dinner at midnight. Steve wants to skip it all and stay at home, but this brings them bad luck when Susan’s mother arrives and Steve runs into old flame Isobel Grayson (Patrick) on the elevator. This leads to a misunderstanding that escalates into a divorce case. Susan files for divorce while Steve goes through a series of calculated antics to prevent the case from following through.
Jack Carson plays a neighbor that Susan pulls into the events when she learns about Steve and Isobel. He’s a world champion archer who pushes Susan to rid herself of Steve. Steve is also up against Susan’s mother (Bates), a meddling and manipulative woman who openly encourages Susan to move on from Steve. The crazy part of the story involves Steve feigning insanity to stop the divorce. It seems the law says couples can’t divorce for 5 years if the wife or husband is pronounced insane.
Of course, Steve begins doing crazy things, particularly at an elegant party in front of the couple’s friends. He doesn’t push it too far but further misunderstandings and accidents land him in an insane asylum. The fun part occurs when things continually backfire on Steve and he has to adjust in his relentless efforts to win Susan back. Steve’s even more outrageous behavior during the last 20 minutes of the film are not something I expected, but it empathizes the comedic range and skill of William Powell. Loy plays it straight, as usual, but delivers an elegant and funny performance. Love Crazy and “I Love You Again,’ a 1940 film, are 2 of my favorite Loy/Powell collaborations.