There's That Woman Again


1h 12m 1938
There's That Woman Again

Brief Synopsis

A detective on the search for a jewelry thief's job grows difficult when his meddling wife tries to help solve the case.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Mystery
Release Date
Dec 24, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "There's Always a Woman" by Wilson Collison in American Magazine (Jan 1937).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Private detective Bill Reardon has made little progress in his investigation of a series of robberies at the Nacelle jewelry store, which is owned by Francine Nacelle and her husband, along with their partner, Rolfe Davis. Bill suspects that Clarence Crenshaw is the culprit and, unknown to Bill, his wife Sally, also a private detective, has taken Crenshaw on as her own client. When Sally telephones Crenshaw to meet her at a beauty parlor, he is captured by the police. Later, the Reardons meet the Nacelles and Davis at a nightclub, where Davis intercepts a note meant for mobster Tony Croy. In the note, he finds a key with instructions to a file cabinet in the jewelry store. When Davis goes to the store to open the drawer, Croy watches as he is shot by a rigged gun in the drawer. Hoping to deflect suspicion away from the imprisoned Crenshaw, Sally steals a necklace from the store, but her plan fails when Flannigan, Bill's operative, finds Sally's broken heel at the scene of the crime. Suspicion is soon cast on Croy, in whose apartment Sally finds a cigarette case belonging to Francine. Croy turns out to be Francine's first husband, whom she never bothered to divorce. When Croy tries to blackmail Francine, she directs him to a safe that has also been rigged with a gun. When Croy opens the safe, the gun fires and he is killed. Mr. Nacelle finds the body, and when police arrive, Francine pretends to suspect her husband of the murder. When Bill discovers how Davis was killed, Crenshaw reveals that he was in league with Francine, with Croy serving as their fence. Crenshaw also confesses that Francine is planning to kill Sally in the same manner as she did Croy. Bill rushes to the store and arrives just in time to prevent Sally from being killed. Bill attempts to trap Francine into an admission of guilt by having Sally play dead, but she overhears their plan and flees. With the help of Flannigan, however, Francine is captured and turned over to the police.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Mystery
Release Date
Dec 24, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "There's Always a Woman" by Wilson Collison in American Magazine (Jan 1937).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Articles

There's That Woman Again -


There's Always a Woman (1938) was Columbia Pictures' answer to the popular Thin Man series produced by rival studio MGM. Directed by former silent film actor Alexander Hall, the movie starred Melvyn Douglas as William 'Bill' Reardon, a private detective, and his well-meaning yet foolish wife Sally played by Joan Blondell. The film was a hit with audiences and received some positive reviews including one from The New York Times which read, "Deft direction, a neat dovetailing of comically epigrammatic scenes and incidents... resulted in an excellent job of all-around spoofing." Blondell had much to do with the film's success. Her effervescence and natural charm made Sally Reardon a lovable and highly entertaining character to watch on screen. She was a perfect match for Melvyn Douglas' suave yet perpetually crabby Bill.

Columbia was eager to follow up their surprise hit with the sequel There's That Woman Again (1938) and potentially launch it as a series. Blondell, who was pregnant with her second child, was unavailable and the studio decided to swap in leading lady Virginia Bruce as her replacement. In an effort to ensure continued success with the series, the sequel closely matches the first film to create a winning formula. Screenwriter Gladys Lehman who had adapted Wilson Collison's short story "There's Always a Woman," crafted the sequel with the help of former newspaperman James Edward Grant, humor writer Ken Englund and Philip G. Epstein, twin brother of Julius Epstein with whom he would go on to write Casablanca (1942).

There's That Woman Again starts with an ambitious statement calling itself "the second in a series dealing with the adventures of Sally and Bill Reardon - Private Detectives." Bill Reardon's agency is in financial straits and he's been working on the same case for months. Nacelle's jewelry store, run by Mrs. Nacelle (Margaret Lindsay) and her manager Rolfe Davis (Jonathan Hale), has been robbed 15 times and each time only one piece of jewelry was stolen. Bill hits a snag in his investigation and his wife Sally (Virginia Bruce) decides to help him out behind his back. What ensues is a series of mishaps as the investigation continues to get more complicated now that Davis has been murdered. Following the first film's formula are a number of duplicate scenes including Sally's meeting with a secret client, a group date at the fancy Skyline Bar, Sally's negligence causing Bill substantial grief and the police's ineptitude at keeping Sally under their control.

The film was a flop and any plan to make it into a series was subsequently scrapped. Bruce, who'd been keeping busy since the death of her ex-husband actor John Gilbert, was more suited to sophisticated comedies rather than the zany, screwball antics this film required. According to Bruce biographer Scott O'Brien, "[she] seems off-key as the dim-witted help-mate to Douglas." Bruce had big shoes to fill and lacked the confidence to play Sally Reardon. Blondell's absence was notable. Director Alexander Hall kept referring to Bruce as Blondell and Melvyn Douglas discouraged Bruce from seeing the original film for inspiration. Nevertheless, the film's failure can't be blamed solely on the actress. As film critic Clive Hirschhorn wrote, "Virginia Bruce... did her best and sometimes overdid her best trying to re-create Blondell's charming daffiness. The screenplay... was sardine-packed with clichés and inconsistencies which may, in part, have accounted for the disappointing box-office." The New York Times critic Frank S. Nugent went easy on the film calling it "a harmless way of killing time."

The box-office failure of There's That Woman Again didn't stop MGM from considering casting Douglas and Bruce as William Powell and Myrna Loy's replacements for the third installment of the Thin Man series, Another Thin Man (1939). Powell had taken a couple years off to deal with the death of Jean Harlow and his own bout with cancer. He wasn't under contract with MGM and Powell's agent was asking for a substantial salary for his star. Loy was available but because her storyline in the second Thin Man movie, After the Thin Man (1936), had Nora expecting a child, MGM would not allow Melvyn Douglas to play the father of William Powell's baby. If Powell had to go then Loy had to go too. Fortunately, MGM came to an agreement with Powell's agent and the Thin Man series would go on with its two beloved stars.

By Raquel Stetcher
There's That Woman Again -

There's That Woman Again -

There's Always a Woman (1938) was Columbia Pictures' answer to the popular Thin Man series produced by rival studio MGM. Directed by former silent film actor Alexander Hall, the movie starred Melvyn Douglas as William 'Bill' Reardon, a private detective, and his well-meaning yet foolish wife Sally played by Joan Blondell. The film was a hit with audiences and received some positive reviews including one from The New York Times which read, "Deft direction, a neat dovetailing of comically epigrammatic scenes and incidents... resulted in an excellent job of all-around spoofing." Blondell had much to do with the film's success. Her effervescence and natural charm made Sally Reardon a lovable and highly entertaining character to watch on screen. She was a perfect match for Melvyn Douglas' suave yet perpetually crabby Bill. Columbia was eager to follow up their surprise hit with the sequel There's That Woman Again (1938) and potentially launch it as a series. Blondell, who was pregnant with her second child, was unavailable and the studio decided to swap in leading lady Virginia Bruce as her replacement. In an effort to ensure continued success with the series, the sequel closely matches the first film to create a winning formula. Screenwriter Gladys Lehman who had adapted Wilson Collison's short story "There's Always a Woman," crafted the sequel with the help of former newspaperman James Edward Grant, humor writer Ken Englund and Philip G. Epstein, twin brother of Julius Epstein with whom he would go on to write Casablanca (1942). There's That Woman Again starts with an ambitious statement calling itself "the second in a series dealing with the adventures of Sally and Bill Reardon - Private Detectives." Bill Reardon's agency is in financial straits and he's been working on the same case for months. Nacelle's jewelry store, run by Mrs. Nacelle (Margaret Lindsay) and her manager Rolfe Davis (Jonathan Hale), has been robbed 15 times and each time only one piece of jewelry was stolen. Bill hits a snag in his investigation and his wife Sally (Virginia Bruce) decides to help him out behind his back. What ensues is a series of mishaps as the investigation continues to get more complicated now that Davis has been murdered. Following the first film's formula are a number of duplicate scenes including Sally's meeting with a secret client, a group date at the fancy Skyline Bar, Sally's negligence causing Bill substantial grief and the police's ineptitude at keeping Sally under their control. The film was a flop and any plan to make it into a series was subsequently scrapped. Bruce, who'd been keeping busy since the death of her ex-husband actor John Gilbert, was more suited to sophisticated comedies rather than the zany, screwball antics this film required. According to Bruce biographer Scott O'Brien, "[she] seems off-key as the dim-witted help-mate to Douglas." Bruce had big shoes to fill and lacked the confidence to play Sally Reardon. Blondell's absence was notable. Director Alexander Hall kept referring to Bruce as Blondell and Melvyn Douglas discouraged Bruce from seeing the original film for inspiration. Nevertheless, the film's failure can't be blamed solely on the actress. As film critic Clive Hirschhorn wrote, "Virginia Bruce... did her best and sometimes overdid her best trying to re-create Blondell's charming daffiness. The screenplay... was sardine-packed with clichés and inconsistencies which may, in part, have accounted for the disappointing box-office." The New York Times critic Frank S. Nugent went easy on the film calling it "a harmless way of killing time." The box-office failure of There's That Woman Again didn't stop MGM from considering casting Douglas and Bruce as William Powell and Myrna Loy's replacements for the third installment of the Thin Man series, Another Thin Man (1939). Powell had taken a couple years off to deal with the death of Jean Harlow and his own bout with cancer. He wasn't under contract with MGM and Powell's agent was asking for a substantial salary for his star. Loy was available but because her storyline in the second Thin Man movie, After the Thin Man (1936), had Nora expecting a child, MGM would not allow Melvyn Douglas to play the father of William Powell's baby. If Powell had to go then Loy had to go too. Fortunately, MGM came to an agreement with Powell's agent and the Thin Man series would go on with its two beloved stars. By Raquel Stetcher

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A title card in the opening credits reads: "This is the second of a series dealing with the adventures of Sally and Bill Reardon-Private Detectives." The first film in the intended series was There's Always a Woman, in which Joan Blondell played the role peformed here by Virginia Bruce. No additional "Reardon" films were made.