It's probably apparent to anyone who's regularly visited this community that Myrna Loy is my second all-time favorite actress. Here's one of the few pictures of her with Carole Lombard; while I don't think they socialized all that much and weren't the closest of friends, they certainly liked and respected each other. Their acting styles were entirely different, but both in their way were ahead of their time. (Loy's book, "Being And Becoming," ranks with the best film autobiographies; she was an intelligent woman active in an array of causes.)
The 105th anniversary of Myrna's birth will come Aug. 2, when Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. will have kicked off their annual month-long "Summer Under The Stars" promotion. (As August draws closer, we'll highlight some of the notable days.) But Tuesday, Myrna will get a tribute of sorts on TCM, which will show six of her movies during the day in addition to re-airing a documentary on her. It promises to be plenty of fun for Loy lovers, especially since all but one of the films are currently unavailable on DVD. Here's the schedule (all times Eastern):
* 10:45 a.m. -- "The Truth About Youth" (1930). This was one of 12 films Loy made during 1930, when she was frequently cast as Asians or vamps. Here she's the latter, a nightclub star named Kara whose life is contrasted with good girl Loretta Young (whose on-screen beauty and sex appeal belie that she was only 17 at the time of filming!). With David Manners. (More on this film later.)
* noon -- "Consolation Marriage" (1931). Myrna, a blonde? Yep -- she appeared that way in a number of films (although I'm now certain she usually wore a wig instead of dyeing her reddish locks). Her best-known "blonde moment" came in "Love Me Tonight," made the year after this one; this RKO vehicle, co-starring Irene Dunne and Pat O'Brien, deals with jilted lovers who marry each other and then confront their old flames.
* 1:30 p.m. -- "Thirteen Women" (1932). This has become a cult favorite over the years, with Loy playing a Eurasian woman who plots revenge on classmates who treated her poorly. Dunne's in this one, too, and it's the only film appearance of Peg Entwistle, the actress who committed suicide by leaping off the "H" of the "Hollywoodland" sign.
* 2:45 p.m. -- "When Ladies Meet" (1933). Ann Harding made a few pre-Code films whose remakes are better known (think "Holiday," which she did in 1930 and Katharine Hepburn reprised eight years later). There was also an eight-year span between versions of this sophisticated comedy, with Harding, Loy and Robert Montgomery in the roles taken by Greer Garson, Joan Crawford and Robert Taylor in 1941). This early version has a pre-Code bite lacking in the remake. To the ghastly job of living together!
* 4:15 p.m. -- "Evelyn Prentice" (1934). One expects to see a collaboration with William Powell among any Myrna Loy movie marathon, but this may be the most obscure of their teamings on screen. It's a drama, with Loy playing a criminal lawyer's wife (and a daughter, played by Cora Sue Collins) who has an affair. The supporting cast includes Rosalind Russell and Una Merkel.
* 5:45 p.m. -- "Man-Proof" (1938). By the time this film was released at the start of the year, Loy was a full-fledged star and MGM occasionally provided her with her own starring vehicles. This is fluff, with Russell again in the supporting cast, along with Walter Pidgeon and Franchot Tone.
* 7 p.m. -- "Myrna Loy: So Nice To Come Home To" (1991). Loy was around to see this special about her, issued the same year she received an honorary Academy Award. (During her career, she was never even nominated.) Kathleen Turner narrates.
To leave you, here's a clip from "The Truth About Youth," featuring Loy (who's almost certainly dubbed here) playing a creature far removed from her later "perfect wife" image. (The label at the start of the clip is incorrect; this film was made at First National, not MGM.) Anyone who dismisses Loy's sex appeal is advised to check this out: