Manhattan Melodrama is not the most exciting film ever made. I know great way to start a post and grab the readers’ attention. What the film lacks in excitement it makes up for in the interesting way the morals of the main characters are portrayed.
Clark Gable and William Powell also give very excellent performances. Powell is the same way as Loy, you are not watching an actor you are watching a character. You can see the torment on his face as Jim gives his speech in court, you can see the sadness on his face after his friend is sentenced to death. Before Manhattan Melodrama, I had only seen Gable in It Happened One Night as a silly character. He had the perfect look of a tough guy and a good guy. Unfortunately I felt like I was watching Clark Gable not Blackie Gallagher, don’t get me wrong Gable is a great actor I liked his acting but I did not feel like I was watching a character I felt like I was watching just the actor.
This is the first of thirteen pairings (if someone can tell me what the fourteenth pairing is please let me know) of William Powell and Myrna Loy. Knowing how well the pair worked together in the Thin Man series you can see the spark that would later ignite into fire when they would play Nick and Nora. Watching Powell and Loy as Jim and Eleanor there was just so much chemistry between them, you can almost feel it.
Manhattan Melodrama, although not fantastic is still a film to watch sometime. The whole film is different, in other words it was not what I expected which I like with movies. By the end you may feel like throwing something at William Powell but then once you really think about what Jim did you feel sorry. So watch the film if you would like to see where the Myrna Loy and William Powell pairing got started, if you like Clark Gable and want to see where he pretty much got his start for MGM, if you like courtroom scenes, or if you just want to see something different.