Scewball comedies

(Screw-ball [skrue’bol] Noun, Slang, meaning unbalanced, erratic, irrational, unconventional), became a popular slang word in the 1930s. It was applied to films where everything was a juxtaposition: educated and uneducated, rich and poor, intelligent and stupid, honest and dishonest, and most of all male and female. When two people fell in love, they did not simply surrender to their feelings, they battled it out. They lied to one another, often assuming indifferent personas toward each other. They often employed hideous tricks on each other, until finally after running out of inventions, fall into each others arms. It was fossilized comedy, physical and often painful, but mixed with the highest level of wit and sophistication, depending wholly on elegant and inventive writing. Even the supporting cast was always of first-rate. Character actors playing eccentric types as well as a stable of familiar faces in leading roles (Cary Grant, William Powell, Carole Lombard, Claudette Colbert, Katharine Hepburn) [x].


Myrna Loy + nose scrunch

At the beginning of her career Myrna Loy´s turned-up nose was not as famous yet, rather infamous. She had a little bone on the side of her nose, which cast a shadow in certain lights. This drove the cameramen crazy "because they never knew when it would appear. They’d see the rushes, groan, ‘There’s that thing again,’ and have to retake the scene. It looked like a tiny smudge on my nose. I mean you could hardly see it, but that’s how far the mania for perfection went." So she was often called in for retakes and since those are rather expensive she was once called in by the makeup department who announced that they maybe would fix her nose. "I was horrified. I used to be known as ‘The Nose’ for goodness’ sake—thousands of women went to plastic surgeons to have it duplicated.  I said, ‘Never! Nobody’s touching this nose!’ and got out of there fast.” And she was right. She had the most famous and sought-after nose of the 1930s and women would regularly go to plastic surgeons to get “a nose like Myrna Loy”.


"There had been romantic couples before, but Loy and Powell were something new and original. They actually made marital comedy palatable. I remember Bill Powell when he started out as a melodramatic actor. Then, by some alchemy, he suddenly became comic. But Myrna gave the wit to the whole thing. They hit that wonderful note because he always did a wee bit too much and she underdid it, creating grace, a charm, a chemistry."

George Cukor


Get To Know Me Meme  → Crucial Movies [6/10]: The Thin Man (1934)

"All right! Go ahead! Go on! See if I care! But I thinks it’s a dirty trick to bring me all the way to New York just to make a widow of me."

"Myrna Loy and William Powell are the ham and eggs, the peaches and cream, the salt and pepper of the movies. They go together as naturally as night and day," an MGM scribe commented […] The connubial bliss seemed so perfect that fans found it hard to believe that in real life  they were never married to one another. During their heyday Loy regularly received fan mail seeking marital advice because of the obvious happiness of her union with Powell.

Emily W. Leider, Myrna Loy - The Only Good Girl In Hollywood