Saturday, July 7, 2012

Evelyn Prentice (1934).

Evelyn Prentice (1934). Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Una Merkel and Rosalind Russell in her film debut. The third of fourteen films pairing William Powell and Myrna Loy. The movie was based on the 1933 novel of the same name by W. E. Woodward.

Evelyn Prentice, is a lonely for her husband, defense attorney John Prentice, who has been working long hours on the beautiful Mrs. Nancy Harrison, manslaughter's case. Evelyn, meets a nightclub gigolo Lawrence Kennard.

Later, both John and Nancy find themselves on the same train headed for Boston, Evelyn receives a book of Kennard's poetry and an invitation to meet him. With the urging of her best friend, Amy Drexel, Evelyn accepts Kennard's invitation even though she is still in love with her husband.

Later, Evelyn receives a package containing a woman's watch, which has been inscribed "To Nancy, from John," and a note explaining that the watch was found in John's drawing room. Heartbroken, Evelyn excepts another date with Kennard but, breaks it off before anything serious happens between them..

Amy, shows Nancy's watch to John, who then tells her that Nancy planted it in his room to destroy his marriage. John or Evelyn talk about the watch and both agree to take a long trip to Europe with their daughter Dorothy. Before they leave, Kennard telephones Evelyn and demands that she come to his apartment.

There, Kennard shows Evelyn three letters that she had written to him and insists on $15,000 in blackmail payment. Evelyn panics and grabs a gun, just as Judith Wilson, Kennard's  girl friend, enters the apartment's back door and hears a gunshot in the next room. Evelyn, quickly returns home, determined to keep quiet about the shooting.

When she learns that Judith, has been accused of killing Kennard, Evelyn convinces John to postpone their trip to Europe and defend Judith. From Judith, John learns first that Kennard was seeing the "wife of a prominent man".

Judith's chances of acquittal do not look good and on the last day of the trial, worried... Evelyn decides to tell the truth. During the district attorney's summation, John receives Kennard's diary, in which Evelyn is identified as "the prominent wife." Evelyn, no longer able to keep quite any more interrupts the proceedings. Will and Evelyn surprise the court, with her testimony?

This is a beautiful art deco film, supported with wonderful performances by Powell and Loy. Also, Isabel Jewell, gives a emotional performance. Una Merkel, is always fun to watch. "Evelyn Prentice" is most definitely worth your classic movie time..

Isabel Jewell (July 19, 1907 – April 5, 1972), was a Broadway actress who achieved immediate success in, Up Pops the Devil (1930) and Blessed Event (1932). She was brought to Hollywood by Warner Brothers for the film version of the latter. Jewell performed in a many supporting roles during the early 1930s.

She played stereotypical gangster's women in such films as Manhattan Melodrama (1934) and Marked Woman (1937). She was well received playing against type, as an innocent seamstress sentenced to death on the guillotine, in A Tale of Two Cities (1935). Her most significant role was as the prostitute Gloria Stone in, Lost Horizon (1937).

In the mid to late 1930s, Jewell was seen at nightclubs with William Hopper (who appeared on Perry Mason and was the son of gossip columnist Hedda Hopper and stage star DeWolf Hopper). Jewell's films included: Gone with the Wind (1939) (in the role of "that white trash, Emmy Slattery"), Northwest Passage (1940), High Sierra (1941), and The Leopard Man (1943).

By the end of the 1940s, her roles had reduced in significance to the degree that her performances were often uncredited: Men in White (1934 – scenes deleted). She also performed in radio dramas in the 1950s, including This is Your FBI. In 1972, she performed opposite Edie Sedgwick in the film, Ciao! Manhattan. Her final film was the B movie Sweet Kill (1973).


  1. Loved your review, Dawn! I caught the end of Evelyn Prentice the other morning -- it's been years since I'd seen it, and I'd totally forgotten that Isabel Jewell was in it. I really enjoy her performances, although I frequently get her mixed up with Una Merkel! Take care of you!

  2. Thank you, I do see the Una Merkel resemblance. This was my first viewing of the classic film. Evelyn Prentice. I'm very surprised I have not seen it before now.

  3. Merkel had a large, supporting role in the 1961 Disney movie, "THE PARENT TRAP".


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