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 - the 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 New York Evening Star and its managing editor Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) had printed a libelous, false story about sophisticated, wealthy heiress Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy), who was accused of breaking up a marriage; the publication resulted in Connie threatening to sue the paper for libel with a $5 million lawsuit
  • the scenes of newspaper editor Warren Haggerty's cooked-up scheme to re-hire ex-employee and ladies man Bill Chandler (William Powell) to convince him to temporarily marry (in name only without consummation) Warren's own wisecracking, long-suffering, impatient bride-to-be divorcee/girlfriend Gladys Benton (Jean Harlow) - promising her a quickie Reno divorce afterwards; so in the meantime, Chandler could seduce and then frame or trap Connie in a compromising situation with him (witnessed by his 'wife' Gladys) to force Connie to drop the expensive lawsuit
  • 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 and 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!")
  • the fishing scenes: first, inept Chandler receiving fly-fishing lessons in his hotel room, and then the outdoor scene of inept, nearly-drowned Chandler impressing Connie's angler father Mr. James B. Allenbury (Walter Connolly) by catching an elusive walleye trout
  • the 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?")
  • the multiple confusions in the rushed concluding scene in a hotel room: Bill was now married to Connie (and they were on their honeymoon), but then 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), countered by Gladys' claim that she had a second confirming divorce in Reno and was actually still married to Bill; but then, real romantic allegiances were revealed after Bill and Warren 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

The "Bride Kisses the Best Man" Wedding Kiss Sequence

Fishing Sequence


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