Sunday, September 30, 2012

Movie Review - There’s Always A Woman

There’s Always A Woman
Starring Joan Blondell and Melvyn Douglas
1938

If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery then the people who made the Thin Man series of films must have been quite flattered by this one. There’s Always A Woman was intended to be a series of films, apparently, but only one more movie was made after this one.

Blondell and Douglas play Bill and Sally Reardon. He's a detective and she's his somewhat ditzy wife. With the detective business suffering Bill decides to throw in the towel and go back to working for the District Attorney's office. But as Sally is hanging around the old office one day she happens to hook up with one of his potential clients. The plot thickens considerably from there and the pair both end up working on a murder case from different directions, with decidedly zany results.

Or at least I'm assuming that's the way it was meant to be. But try as they might Blondell and Douglas don't manage to generate too much in the way of zaniness. I last saw Blondell in Miss Pinkerton, which I liked, and she holds up her end here for the most part, but Douglas seems too grumpy for this sort of role. Given that this is a pretty blatant Thin Man knockoff one can't help comparing him to the always witty and likable William Powell and he doesn’t measure up. I've got a few other allegedly comic mysteries starring Douglas in the queue so it will be interesting to see how he comes across in those.

I'd be willing to bet that there were a number of other Thin Man knockoffs back when, given the popularity of the series, but it would take someone more knowledgeable than I to confirm that. I can point to one example, The Ex-Mrs. Bradford, which starred Powell, interestingly enough.

Check out contemporary reviews from Variety and the New York Times here and here.

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