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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Love Crazy (1941)

Spotlight on Movie Mothers... Monster Mothers

Love Crazy is an MGM screwball comedy telling the story of a married couple, Steve and Susan Ireland (played by William Powell & Myrna Loy), whose marriage is on the verge of being broken up by Susan's interfering and disapproving mother.

While Steve is returning from an errand, he bumps into his former girlfriend, Kimble Grayson (played by Gail Patrick). Steve attempts to hide this meeting from Susan, however she soon finds out, and in a jealous rage files for divorce.
To hold off the divorce, Steve pretends to have a nervous breakdown, and pleads insanity. Steve does such a great job, he declared insane by the lunacy commission and committed to a mental institution.
To further complicate things, Susan meets and is romanced by archery champion Ward Willoughby (played by Jack Carson).

The significance of the mother-in-law

In this case, we are dealing with a monster mother-in-law, Mrs. Cooper (played by Florence Bates). Although Mrs. Cooper is only featured in several scenes, she is extremely significant to the story, acting as a catalyst for most of the film's events.
Firstly, Mrs. Cooper invites herself over during Steve and Susan's fourth anniversary dinner, as is tempted by a hidden agenda to sabotage the couple's evening. She also brings a gift of a very ugly rug, which Steve and Susan are forced to display near the front door. During her visit, she asks Steve to mail her insurance premium for her. This event is significant, as it is during this errand that Steve bumps into his former flame.
Throughout the rest of the film, Mrs. Cooper attempts to fill Susan's head with negative comments about Steve.

Concluding thoughts
Of all the classic movie pairings, my favourite leading couple would have be William Powell and Myrna Loy. Powell & Loy made marriage life on the screen sophisticated and fun. Love Crazy was the 10th of 14 films the duo made together, and is also my personal favourite.

DVD releases

'Love Crazy' has not been released on DVD in Australia. It is shown occasionally on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Australia on Foxtel.

It has been released on DVD in the US, as part of the Myrna Loy and William Powell TCM Spotlight Collection.

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