Myrna Loy may be forever remembered as the chipper, flipper half of The Thin Man’s Nick-and-Nora detective team (a character she reprised in the series’ five other movies). But before that role, she played everything from Oriental vamps to gun molls in dozens of forgotten movies.
Three of her rarely seen pre-Thin Man dramas and one later comedy have been dusted off for this disc-only package. All were snappily directed by The Thin Man’s W.S. Van Dyke II and are dominated by men — Warner Baxter in Penthouse (1933), Max Baer in The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933), Clark Gable and William Powell in Manhattan Melodrama (1934), and Powell in I Love You Again (1940). But it’s Loy who stands out, as a wisecracking hooker, a gangster’s mistress, a nightclub queen, and a divorce-seeking wife, respectively. These pictures are no movie milestones, but they all show off the intelligence and feistiness of Loy’s screen persona — and hold up well in crisp black-and-white video transfers. B