Even though Libeled Lady goes overboard on plot and its pace snags badly in several spots, Metro has brought in a sockeroo of a comedy. It’s broad farce for the most part, and the threesome consisting of William Powell, Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow lend themselves perfectly to the task.
Of the starring foursome Myrna Loy’s is the only behavior which is kept pretty much on a serious plane. As the much misunderstood poor little rich girl, she projects an effective performance and, with Powell in the later reels, accounts for plenty romantic arias.
Story [by Wallace Sullivan] takes for itself a Park Avenue plus newspaper row theme. Picture seeks to tell of what befalls Powell when, as the trouble-shooter for a newspaper, he undertakes to frame a young millionairess and thereby compel her to drop a $5 million libel suit. The expected occurs; he falls in love with her.
Concerned with Powell in the frame are Tracy, managing editor of the sheet, and the latter’s fiancee (Harlow). Latter turns out a corking straight for the sophisticated, suave manner of Powell and she frequently steals the picture when the opportunities for cutting loose fall her way.
Tracy has the least juicy assignment, but the characterization is right up his alley. Walter Connolly registers in crack fashion, as usual, in the part of Loy’s father.
1936: Nomination: Best Picture