Monday, 6 April 2015

Alternate Best Actor 1941: William Powell in Love Crazy

William Powell did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Steve Ireland in Love Crazy.

Love Crazy is an enjoyable film about a man who will stop his wife from divorcing him by any means necessary.

William Powell once again teams up with his most frequent co-star Myrna Loy as his wife Susan. Their best known collaboration is as Nick and Nora Charles the husband and wife crime solving team in The Thin Man series. Here though there are no crimes to be solved, and their marriage is not nearly as comfortable as it should be. Powell also does not simply play the part as Nick Charles as he's not nearly as sure or as sardonic as the wise sleuth. Powell though is extremely energetic in the early in the film as he portrays almost an excessive earnestness and optimism in Steve as he makes preparations for his wedding anniversary. When it comes into question about just how faithful Steve is to his wife, due to running into an old girlfriend, there is no question for us as Powell shows well just how excessively in love with his wife he is. Anyway though he gets into trouble through a set of problematic circumstances and misunderstandings. In these scenes Powell is naturally a true pro at the romantic comedy, and his reactions to the various misfortunes that befall him, particularly one involving an elevator, are always amusing.

His chemistry with Loy is pretty much a given but they nicely adjust the relationship a bit since Steve and Susan are not nearly as comfortable with each other as Nick and Nora are. Powell and Loy work well to create their own unique relationship here with her being more withdrawn this time and suspicion with Powell presenting Steve's enthusiasm from almost recognizing things that might bother his wife. Of course the series of problems leave Susan to become a bit too suspicion making her wish to have a divorce, which Steve cannot bear. In his attempt to stop divorce proceedings Steve comes up with a plan to halt everything by acting as though he's gone insane. This is when the film and Powell's performance really take off, and it was already quite good. Powell begins going crazy at the part and Powell is immediately hilarious as he plays the part with such unabashed glee at first as Steve decides to reveal himself as a man of having some delusion of grandeur. Although a great start to be sure part of the strength of the performance though is that Powell does not stick to just being the first type of crazy he starts with.

This makes sense because obviously Steve is only pretending to be crazy but even more importantly it makes him all the funnier. Powell quite entertaining as in the actual hearing he goes for the dazed sort of madness as Steve tries to show himself as truly gone. Powell even in one moment does the unassuming shy sort of crazy, also in once again a hilarious sort of way as he gets his romantic rival also committed. Powell goes all around the spectrum of insanity and makes each moment comedic gold. Of course complications once again ensue leaving him to juggle just how crazy he wants to be since his ideal situation keeps changing depending on whether he's crazy or not. Powell's reactions once again are pitch perfect as he keeps going crazy to not crazy depending on whatever comes up next. Eventually he gets to escape the institution leaving some more hijinks which Powell naturally thrives in making the most out of every situation he's got. I especially loved his anguish when receiving various hot doses of water while hiding in a shower. Powell is also particularly funny in his final scenes where he dresses up as Steve's sister. Powell is perhaps somewhat surprisingly convincing in creating the old maid, although again he mines plenty of laughs in presenting the strong willed woman who will certainly protect her dear brother's name. It's a high note for Powell to end on for this incredibly entertaining and charming performance of his here.

14 comments:

luke higham said...

Louis: You gave Duvall a 4 for The Shining, But have yet to give thoughts on her performance.

Rating & Thoughts on Myrna Loy.

John Smith said...

Ratings and toughts on the cast of 'The Big Chill' and 'The Devils Rejects'

Matt Mustin said...

Anyone else watch the season finale of Better Call Saul? I was very underwhelmed.

Anonymous said...

John:
Berenger - 4(Berenger has just enough fun with the character's perpetual self loathing toward his on-screen personality. He also though strikes up some convincing and believable chemistry with Williams that is less present romance rather more of old affections)

Close - 3(The only logic to her Oscar nomination is that she was nominated the previous year therefore was the easiest choice out of the cast. Her performance though never really came to life like much of the rest of the cast for me. She played her big emotional moments technically well, but I did not find them particularly cohesive to a whole)

Goldblum - 4(He does not get many "deep" discussions but rather the fairly shallow statements. Goldblum is quite entertaining in his realization of his character's particular ego and lack of any particular shame)

Hurt - 4.5(Hurt was easily MVP for me as he, I feel, he had the best grasp on the material more than anything. He did a great job of showing really just the lack of understanding his character actually has. Hurt made the happier moments, and the sadder ones seem always naturally transition from one another. What was great with Hurt is when his character lashed out Hurt did it with the needed passion, but he always brought a certain hesitation portraying that his character always had a certain doubt over his own words)

Kline - 3(Kline apparently should never do accents because he never does them particularly well. That is unfortunately the case here as well, but past that I still thought he did a decent job of realizing his place as a straight man of sorts while never being entirely boring)

Place - 3.5(I liked her performance as she had the right certain awkwardness throughout as she always implies her character's particular objective while coming to meet the old gang)

Williams - 3.5(I thought she gave a good performance in that I thought she basically checked all the boxes for her character, but I don't know, she was satisfactory but never more than that)

Tilly - 3.5(Her character was somewhat limited, but I like how she kinda had the lack of pretension in her work that properly separated her performance from everyone else. She did the air head thing pretty well without ever overplaying it, and bringing some honest emotion beneath it)

Galloway - 3(He does not get to do much other than be the dopey husband, but he does it well particularly the scene where he talks about children)

Anonymous said...

Those were Louis' comments by the way from supporting 1983

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

I actually love Powell and Loy here more than The Thin Man, though I do slightly prefer The Thin Man as a film. Gosh they were such a cute onscreen couple :D

Louis, have you ever read about Powell being Hitchcock's first choice for Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt? What do you think, personally I think he made the right choice in going with Cotten, since Powell already does have a sort of shifty air to his looks and subverting Cotten's wholesome All-American image was probably the more daring, inspired choice to make.

Not that Powell wouldn't have been very good, even great, it's a shame he never did a Hitchcock film, he would have been a brilliant choice for Gregory Peck's role in Spellbound, or James Stewart's role in Rope.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

By the way, I've just realised that it'll be very difficult for Louis to find any copy of Outcast of the Islands, therefore I'll be changing my request for Trevor Howard in Outcast of the Islands to Mathieu Almaric in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007).

Which leaves you with one more spot in 2007 lead, sorry Louis!

luke higham said...

GDSAO: Unless that final spot is taken by another requested performance, then I predict, it'll go to Philip Seymour Hoffman in Before The Devil Knows Your Dead.

luke higham said...

Louis: Can you check 1969 Lead on the sidebar, since it leads directly to a page with the caption (Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist).

Anonymous said...

Louis what are your thoughts and ratings on Yūnosuke Itō (the novelist) in Ikiru? I noticed he was not on your 1952 supporting list, though he has a fairly memorable, important part.

luke higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Takashi Shimura in Seven Samurai.

RatedRStar said...

Did William Powell age rapidly lol because from 34 to 41 he looked the same, and then in 1947s Life With Father he looked about 70 lol =D.

If I ever get a boyfriend again, I would like to think he would have a personality like William Powell.

Is it safe to call William Powell a very lovely actor lol =D.

RatedRStar said...

On a side note I am starting to get really into French cinema after seeing Army Of Shadows and realising how many French films are in my top 10s, I would argue that France has probably had the second biggest set of stars behind English language films and just ahead of the HK industry =D.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Duvall - 4(The Shining is a film where Kubrick is at his most style over substance since the characters, with the possible exception of Scatman Crothers, are presented in a detached fashion. Duvall has no chemistry with Nicholson to an almost painful extent although this seem intentional in its portrayal of Jack Torrance as not having much of journey. I do think Duvall in the early scenes has a quiet charm and likability as she does her best to make up for the lack of a character. She then has the needed visceral intensity in her performance doing quite well to portray the fear of seeing every horror the hotel has to offer)

Loy - 4(Her part is written to be essentially overshadowed by Powell as she's made particularly supporting here. Loy obviously again just is great with Powell and her own reactions of suspicion then later disbelief at his antics are also very funny)

Shimura's a 4.5 for Seven Samurai.

John Smith:

Haven't seen the Devil's Rejects.

Matt:

I think it did successfully make me excited for the next season, but I did feel the show once again turned its wheels more than it needed to. I can't help but feel we could have gotten to this point in the series in half the time.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar:

I think Powell as Charlie would have created a very different film as a whole than with Cotten. Not any worse necessarily, possibly even better, because I would think Powell perhaps would have done a subversion of his sardonic personality, suggesting if what if the grim comedic comments of his characters were real in this case. I think it would have been interesting. Of course how it turned out was great so what can you say.

Anonymous:

Itō - (I'll admit I miss some of the supporting players in foreign films because sometimes the cast listing are not always particularly clear. I'm glad you brought him up because I actually really liked his performance. That film is Shimura's show to be sure but I though Itō's almost wholly reactionary performance was quite moving as he shows someone trying to understand and help the poor man's situation)