The Ex-Mrs. Bradford

If ever this blog tended to persuade you I was too busy to write a decent review, it was nothing more than a lie. Compared to these weeks, I mean. Do not forsake me, oh my darlings, the Avenue will be updated with brand new review, albeit it not regularly. However, in an attempt to not make this blog look cobwebbed, the Avenue will find a creative way to continue regular postings: there will be 7 posts in June and the first one will be in just five days (1 June). Find out more then… for now, a brand new mini-review.

And tonight it’s time for a classic screwball comedy. Fans of this site may remember that we’re deeply in love with The Thin Man, mostly because the comedy salvoes were served by William Powell and Myrna Loy, good friends and therefore blessed with wonderful chemistry. In The Thin Man Powell played a detective, very much on the way to becoming a former detective. Sadly for him, events didn’t allow him to retire.

In The Ex-Mrs. Bradford, William Powell plays a detective who desperately wants to become a former detective. Sadly for him… hang on, this sounds familiar…
The big difference is that Powell’s co-star is not Myrna Loy but Jean Arthur and that, unlike Loy’s character in The Thin Man series, Arthur’s character actually wants Powell (or Mr. Bradford) to investigate the death of a jockey. Not only did the jockey die of a mysterious death, he’s not the first to die this way. Who better to shed some light into this murky business than a former detective…?

The lines between Powell and Arthur are almost as good as the chemistry between Powell and Loy. If you’ve always been sad they never made more Thin Man movies, then The Ex-Mrs. Bradford is an unmissable movie. Even if you don’t like old movies but you’re addicted to contemporary shows like Castle, this movie is great viewing as well as a historical lesson as to where this sort of series got its inspirations. No, The Ex-Mrs. Bradford can’t be compared to the best of the Thin Man series (which is still so watchable they’re about to remake the film), but do not forget that not all the films in the Thin Man series were masterpieces: it may not be as good as the original film, but it is better than a lot of its sequels. Too bad then The Ex-Mrs. Bradford never got the same status. This is not a movie by MGM, Powell’s usual studio: it’s produced by RKO Pictures. Powell briefly abandoned his regular studio because he liked the script and wanted to work with Jean Arthur again. The result shows this was not a bad decision.

In this scene Bradford’s dinner is interrupted by the doorbell. Disappointingly, it’s his former wife:

A quick search – even as much as clicking on this video to open it on YouTube – may help you find this movie and save it from obscurity. There are less nobler causes in the world.

8/10

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