Love is News, 1937
Loretta Young and Tyrone Power find love and attraction the screwball comedy way: they hate each other almost on sight and then spend copious amounts of energy trying to humiliate and torment one another until they've been thrown together so often that the cruelty segue ways into affection.
Tyrone is a fast-talking, clever veteran reporter for the New York Daily Express named Steve Leyton (though Tyrone sometimes looks much younger than his 23 years) and Loretta is a wealthy "tin can" heiress named Tony Gateson. She is coming off of a highly publicized broken-engagement from "the Count" (George Sanders) who is what they called in 30's films "a chiseler." The Reporter is trying to get a scoop for his paper about the Heiress, so he poses as part of a special police protection unit to help her get from the airport into the city and to avoid the press mob waiting outside of her private plane. She is jaded with the half-truths and full-lies that the press has told about her in the past, so when she realizes she's been suckered again she starts onto a movie-length pattern of revenge on Leyton by announcing to the world the two are engaged to be married. This turns him into a "public freak" (the phrase is used in the film several times) and Leyton is soon inundated with people trying to sell him something since the Heiress has also announced she's put a $1 million dollar dowry on him. Ironically, he's actually nearly penniless and behind on his rent at his boarding house, and not unlike the Preston Sturges' film Easy Living, which came out a few months later, the story in Love is News is also about the crushing inanity of money, supposed money, mixed with welcome/unwelcome fame.
Don Ameche is Leyton's newspaper editor that spends a great deal of his screen time leaning over a telephone and intoning "Yes, Mabel" to his wife, who we never see and cannot clearly hear, but is constantly calling the paper to simply endlessly talk, and all the while Ameche is a whirlwind trying to get the production of the daily newspaper moving forward so that they can outsell their competitors who, rather consistently since Tony Gateson (Loretta) is helping them, "out-scoops" the New York Daily Express.
The script for Love is News is by a large team of writers, with screen credits to Harry Tugend and Jack Yellen, from a story by WIlliam Lipman and Frederick Stephani. Uncredited work is attributed to Allen Rivkin and Wallace Sullivan. The film is so fast and efficient with its 78 minute screen-time that it sometimes has an impromptu-like comedy feel to it courtesy of director Tay Garnett. The writers and director provide an endless supply of sight gags, such as on the wall of the bar where the reporters congregate
"If your babys need shoes you can't buy them here"
and other little side jokes to populate the tale, along with short showcases for the comedy-chops of Walter Catlett, George Sanders (who plays 'His Highness Andre Pierre Gaston,' referred to within the story as "a blue-blooded moron"), Stepin Fetchit, Elisha Cooke Jr., Walter Catlett, Dudley Diggs, and Eddie Anderson. Tyrone Power also shows he can do some nice stunt work when he rolls over a desk after getting punched in the jaw by Ameche as part of a bet.
Some of Love is News seems spontaneous, like the humor in the first The Thin Man film and even a little bit of Marx Bros. For example, George Summerville as Judge Hart at the falling-apart Meadowville County jail where Loretta and Tyrone spend part of their time together in adjoining cells. Judge Hart's fascination with confiscated slot machines ("contraptions of the devil" he calls them) is also a funny interlude within a movie with many funny interludes. A first class screwball comedy.
More about Love is News
The film was a critical and commercial success, thanks in part to the sparkling chemistry between Power and Young, who were both rising stars in Hollywood at the time. The film also featured a witty and engaging script, which poked fun at the sensationalism and cutthroat competition of the newspaper industry. "Love is News" was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Sound and Best Original Story, and is still revived today as a classic example of 30s romantic comedy.
Love is News was released Feb 26, 1937
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