MYRNA!

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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myrnaloyisdope
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MYRNA!

Post by myrnaloyisdope »

So I've decided in my finite wisdom (and with some inspiration from Lawrence J. Quirk's The Films of Myrna Loy) that his site needs a dedicated Myrna Loy thread.

So here goes:

Those eyes:
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The menacing Fah Lo See in The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932):
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With Ann Harding and Alice Brady in When Ladies Meet (1933):
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A forlorn and Oriental Myran in Crimson City (1928):
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"Do you think it's dangerous to have Busby Berkeley dreams?" - The Magnetic Fields
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: MYRNA!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

They're lovely. She had a very individual kind of beauty, I can see why she was pushed into oriental roles. Such a talented lady too.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
feaito

Re: MYRNA!

Post by feaito »

Great idea MLID! She is one of my favorites too -and I share a birthday with her :wink:

I also own copies of "The Films of Myrna Loy" and her autobiography "Being and Becoming", which are among my most valued possessions.

You go Myrna!
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: MYRNA!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

She complimented so many leading men perfectly. William Powell, Cary Grant, Clark Gable such chemistry with all of them.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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myrnaloyisdope
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Re: MYRNA!

Post by myrnaloyisdope »

I think the rapport she has with Fredric March in The Best Years of Our Lives is big part of why I love that film so much.

I think it's kind of a shame that no one ever tapped into her exotic beauty in a meaningful way. The Mask of Fu-Manchu is a lot of fun but it's pretty trashy, ditto Thirteen Women, and The Black Watch comes close to succeeding, but generally she was stuck playing one dimensional vamps, gypsies, asians, chorus girls and even doing blackface. I think there was a ton of potential in her silent film/early talkie persona if only someone gave her the chance to show it. But I guess most vampish types suffered the same problems of bad scripts and being typecast.

A still from Isle of Escape (1930)
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Leading Will Rogers to his doom in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1931)
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With Gable and Harlow in Wife vs. Secretary (1936)
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Myrna in color
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"Do you think it's dangerous to have Busby Berkeley dreams?" - The Magnetic Fields
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MissGoddess
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Re: MYRNA!

Post by MissGoddess »

Yay! I love Myrna, she is my fourth favorite actress ever. I love her pre-codes the most, before
she got wife-ified, but she was splendid to the very end (and remained stunningly beautiful).

The one Myrna film I'm dying to get to see is, of course, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
I simply have to see her having her way with my sweet Willie boy! :D :D I ordered a VHS of it from Amazon
marketplace, but it arrived damaged. :(

My favorite Myrna movies:

The Thin Man
Test Pilot
The Barbarian
Manhattan Melodrama
Whipsaw
After the Thin Man
The Rains Came
When Ladies Meet
The Best Years of Our Lives
Petticoat Fever
Love Me Tonight (small as her part was, she steals the show to me)
Another Thin Man
Too Hot to Handle
Evelyn Prentice
Night Flight
The Bachelor and The Bobby Soxer

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"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
Vecchiolarry
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Re: MYRNA!

Post by Vecchiolarry »

Hi,

A TV matinee about a month ago showed "Midnight Lace" (1960) - a stupid movie with stupid characters in it, except Myrna Loy.
She has just arrived from India (with an elephant gun!!) and says to Doris Day, "I went out tiger hunting with a Maharaja and quickly realized that I'd be safer in the jungle than in his palace!!".... Loved her!!
And, she still looked good and was dressed beautifully...

Larry
feaito

Re: MYRNA!

Post by feaito »

She's a maginificent actress and a great person. I agree with April in that she's sublime in "Love Me Tonight" (1932) (as small as her role was) and she more or less stole the show. I'd have liked to see a complete, uncut version of the film, because I have read that some scenes in which she appeared were eliminated. I also read that Jeanette was somewhat concerned about her getting all the attention -she even demanded to use the white or pink dress that was destined for Myrna -who ended using the far more alluring black velvet dress in the ball sequence. This is my favorite all-time musical and one of my top 5 films.
Last edited by feaito on July 5th, 2009, 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
feaito

Re: MYRNA!

Post by feaito »

I revisited two biographies and this is what I found Re. "Love Me Tonight" (1932):

In Myrna Loy's terrific autobiography "Being and Becoming", page 72:

Rouben Mamoulian rescued me, borrowing me for Love Me Tonight, his musical spoof of Lubitsch. I knew Rouben -he was one fo my beaus. We weren't involved in anything important, but we were good friends and used to date once in a while. "Now listen, Myrna," he said, "this is what's happening. Paramount's adamant about eliminating the role of Countess Valentine, but she's very important to my concept for the film. I know what I plan to do with her, but she won't be in the script. I'll send you your lines separately until they see it my way." Well, I had confidence in Rouben: "Sure, I'll try anything!" Every few days, he'd send little pieces of blue interoffice-memo paper with four or five lines typed on them. This was my part. I don't know how Rouben managed it, but when the men in the front office saw my first scenes, they said, "Oh, yes, keep her."

Myrna delivered those lines in that lovely offhand manner that made them excruciatingly funny, says Lou MacFarlane. As small as that role was, she stood out, and Jeanette nacDonald inadvertently made her even more prominent. MacDonald came on the set for a masquerade sequence looking ver lovely, and Myrna came on looking even lovelier, in a gown which really wasn't that much different, but Miss macDonald said, "I want that dress." I guess Mamoulian didn't want any trouble, because they gave her Myrna's dress.

Myrna and I rushed down to the wardrobe department to find another one. We had a terrible time looking through yards of costumes, but finally we came across a perfectly plain black velvet dress, a musty old thing, probably worn a thousand times. It looked like nothing, but when Myrna put it on, took a tuck in here and there, she looked gorgeous. She walked back on the set in that black dress and powdered wig, and you didn't see anyone else in that scene. You see, all the others wore pastels -whites, pinks, things like that. And what's-her-name -I have trouble remembering it, she was such a nasty lady on that picture- was really livid. She couldn't very well say, "I want that dress!" I've never seen anyone so angry in my life. So if Myrna had worn the pink dress that MacDonald appropriated, she might never have made such an impact and become a star. Who knows?

And from page 74 of this wonderful book I quote this:

For me, the highlight of the picture was a young actress named Myrna Loy, recalled Joseph L. Mankiewicz while introducing Love Me Tonight at the Museum of Modern art in 1986. Light and lissome and lovely, Myrna's the reason you forget who played opposite Chevalier -she was a singer; she sang. She got Chevalier, but, as I remember it, Myrna got the picture.

On the other hand In Edward Baron Turk's Bio of Jeanette MacDonald titled "Hollywood Diva", page 120, I found this:

Mamoulian used his blank check to borrow Myrna Loy from MGM. Loy Played Countess Valentine, the nymphomaniac cousin of Princess Jeanette. (In a wink to the audience, the Chevalier and MacDonald characters were named -Maurice and Jeanette.) Loy had been in scores of grade B melodramas, mainly as slinky Oriental vamps. Mamoulian wanted Love Me Tonight to disclose her flair for smart comedy, a gift that would ripen whe she starred opposite William Powell in MGM's The Thin Man series. Stories have circulated about MacDonald's supposed irritation when Mamoulian expanded Loy's role in midproduction. Joseph Youngerman, who was a prop man on the film, saw things differently: "I think Myrna was just a little bit jealous of being in a supporting position -although she didn't show it much." Loy did have some of the picture's best laugh lines.

Perhaps because he was infatuated with Loy, Mamoulian did not fully tap the sensual playfulness MacDonald radiated in The Love Parade and One Hour With You.
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MissGoddess
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Re: MYRNA!

Post by MissGoddess »

Fascinating quotes, Feo. I wish I had a copy of Myrna's book, it was one of the best autobiographies I ever read,
especially for one written by an actress.

When I read it years ago, I don't remember if it was from the library or I had my own copy, but all I know is it's so darned
expensive now.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
feaito

Re: MYRNA!

Post by feaito »

MissGoddess wrote:Fascinating quotes, Feo. I wish I had a copy of Myrna's book, it was one of the best autobiographies I ever read,
especially for one written by an actress.

When I read it years ago, I don't remember if it was from the library or I had my own copy, but all I know is it's so darned
expensive now.

I agree with you April. A great read indeed! I was lucky enough to find a used copy of Myrna's autobiography here in Chile.
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Garbomaniac
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Re: MYRNA!

Post by Garbomaniac »

Wow! This picture is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen of Myrna, Miss Goddess! She looks like a MOVIE STAR!

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: MYRNA!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Thanks for that Fernando, I too love Love Me Tonight and Myrna's role in it, it is interesting to read some of the story behind it.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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myrnaloyisdope
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Re: MYRNA!

Post by myrnaloyisdope »

I really like Love Me Tonight, I think it might be Myrna's funniest film. She steals every scene she's in, which is kind of the antithesis of her style as she was usually at her best in complementing her co-stars.

Myrna and Cary Grant get close in Wings in the the Dark (1935)
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Myrna (briefly) in The Jazz Singer (1927)
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Myrna and Max Baer in The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933)
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"Do you think it's dangerous to have Busby Berkeley dreams?" - The Magnetic Fields
feaito

Re: MYRNA!

Post by feaito »

Great stills Justin, especially that of "Wings of the Dark" (1935).
charliechaplinfan wrote:Thanks for that Fernando, I too love Love Me Tonight and Myrna's role in it, it is interesting to read some of the story behind it.
You are very welcome Alison. It is one of the few movies I'd like to watch every week!
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