When the king of suave detecting meets the swimming queen and the future queen of the musical theatre, it's an interesting, if somewhat creepy, trio. William Powell is way older than both Esther Williams and Angela Lansbury, and it's apparent that he's awkward in the conception of their being romantically paired. Absolutely no ego involved with this, he still goes through with his best, somewhat of a lovable middle aged rogue who returns home from serving in World War I and struggles to find work as a newspaper reporter. He flirts and playfully harasses working socialite Williams, passing her off to another partner in a dance marathon but upset when he finds out that she's been married. Along comes glamorous nightclub singer Lansbury (dubbed badly by a singer whose voice is nowhere close to Angela's, let alone those who dubbed her in earlier MGM musicals), but issues with old pals James Gleason, Frank McHugh, Rags Ragland and Slim Summerville adds all sorts of confusion, not only to Powell's life, but the story as well.
Far from the dashing leading man of his days with Myrna Loy, Powell is still the most sophisticated man on the post World War II screen, and manages to have an ageless persona even though he's obviously made up to appear to be younger. This mixes in comedy and social drama in a way that isn't always consistent, and gaps in the story makes this a bit inconsistent in it's structure and often episodic. That's the fault of the script, not the stars or direction, although it should have been obvious in daily rushes that something was wrong. It's the type of film that seems to be suffering from an identity crisis, at times going for 30's style screwball comedy then turning into an expose on the ruthlessness of big business dealings, and all of a sudden a typical woman's picture with a confrontation between Williams and Lansbury that lacks the desired spark. I would have liked more of Ms. Lansbury, playing a combination of emotions and not close to the harridans that she was often typecast as, although she's far from being a pushover. Like Powell's character, this was a film with too many ambitions that it didn't quite succeed in achieving.
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