Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Libeled Lady (1936)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Libeled Lady (1936)

In director Jack Conway's funny screwball comedy - a Best Picture nominee:

  • after the MGM lion and before the opening credits - there was a medium shot of the four stars (Harlow, Powell, Loy, and Tracy) walking arm in arm toward the camera and into a wind
  • in the film's plot, the managing editor of the New York Evening Star Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) printed a libelous, false story about sophisticated, wealthy heiress Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy), who was accused of breaking up a marriage by having an affair with another woman's husband; the publication resulted in Connie threatening to sue the paper for libel with a $5 million lawsuit, just as Haggerty was planning to get married (he was forced to postpone his wedding)
  • Haggerty cooked-up a scheme to re-hire his ex-employee and ladies man Bill Chandler (William Powell) and convince him to temporarily marry (in name only without consummation) his own wisecracking, long-suffering, impatient bride-to-be divorcee/girlfriend Gladys Benton (Jean Harlow), one of his employees - while promising her a quickie Reno divorce afterwards; Chandler would then court, seduce and frame or trap Connie in a compromising situation with him (witnessed by his 'wife' Gladys) to force Connie to drop the expensive lawsuit, if Gladys dropped hers
  • in the clever and fast-paced script, memorable scenes included the very long "bride kisses the best man" congratulatory kiss sequence at the city magistrate wedding of Bill Chandler to Gladys, with 'Best Man' - Gladys' own fiancee Warren: (Justice of the Peace: "Well, I hope you'll be very happy and don't forget to invite me to your silver anniversary." Gladys: "It'll have to be within the next six weeks!")
  • there were two humorous fishing scenes: first, inept Chandler received fly-fishing lessons in his hotel room, and then in an outdoor scene, Chandler was nearly-drowned trying to impress Connie's angler father Mr. James B. Allenbury (Walter Connolly) by catching an elusive walleye trout
  • their perfect plan fell apart, in a plot twist of ensuing complications, when Chandler became truly smitten by Connie and then changed his strategy of fooling her to sweet-talking her to drop the suit - and she asked to marry him - he was flabbergasted: ("Will I? Is there a preacher in the house?")
  • there were multiple confusions in the rushed concluding scene in a hotel room; Bill and Connie were now married (and on their honeymoon) when Gladys affirmed that she really wanted to remain married to Bill; Bill announced that he had found out that 'wife' Gladys' previous Yucatan divorce to her first husband was illegal (and therefore their marriage was a fake), but his assertion was countered by Gladys' claim that she had a second confirming divorce in Reno and was actually still married to Bill
  • now, Chandler had to convince Gladys to drop her interest in him (and realize that she really loved Haggerty) so it wouldn't break up his relationship with Connie; real romantic allegiances were finally revealed after Chandler and Haggerty had a brief fisticuffs encounter

'Married' Chandler with Connie - Falling in Love

Chandler After Being Married to Connie

Bill Chandler and Warren's Fisticuffs
  • the ending line of Connie's father Mr. Allenbury demanding an explanation - and then after he was filled in on the marital complications, he screamed exasperatingly: "Quiet, will you please be quiet!"

Opening Credits

Gladys Complaining to Newspaperman Fiancee Warren: "Today, I get married!"

Warren's Scheme: Gladys Was Forced to Instead Temporarily Marry Bill Chandler - to Force Connie's Lawsuit to be Dropped

The "Bride Kisses the Best Man" Wedding Kiss Sequence

Fishing Sequence


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