I Love You Again is a crazy little comedy. It begins on a cruise, with upstanding citizen Larry Wilson (William Powell) attempting to help a man who has fallen overboard.
While in the water during the attempted recovery, Larry is accidentally hit in the head with a wooden paddle by a fellow rescuer. He’s struck with a bout of amnesia after getting this painful blow to the head.
When he wakes, Larry doesn’t recognize himself. He thinks that his name is George Carey and that he’s a con man. He also thinks it’s 1931, when in reality nine years have passed since then.
With his new-found swindler attitude, “George” decides to try to make the most of his situation by tracking down the soon-to-be-ex Mrs. Wilson, filling Larry Wilson’s shoes in order to get some dough. But when he returns to Larry’s hometown and upholds the “Mr. Wilson” pretense, he takes a liking to Kay (Myrna Loy), the wife he no longer remembers.
The great W.S. Van Dyke, who worked with Loy and Powell on many occasions, directs this 1940 romantic comedy. The screenplay was written by Charles Lederer (His Girl Friday), George Oppenheimer (Libeled Lady) and Harry Kurnitz (How to Steal a Million).
I’ve already mentioned that I Love You Again is a crazy film, but I mean that in the best sense of the word. It’s zany and incredibly fun to watch.
Loy and Powell are, of course, part of the reason that the film is so enjoyable. Very few screen couples have ever been able to match either their comic or romantic chemistry. Their usual banter is given a spin in this film, since the audience knows from the beginning that Larry/George is lying. Everything Bill says sounds ultra-sneaky, while everything Myrna says in her character of Kay sounds ultra-sincere.
As the initial awkwardness of memory-free Larry and his forgotten bride wear off, Loy and Powell exchange punches of wit. They’re in top form, working together to effortlessly elevate the already-great script. (How could the script not be great, with the talents behind films such as His Girl Friday whipping it up?) A favorite zinger uttered by Kay: “I’ve often wished I could turn your head, on a spit, over a slow fire,” given in response to Larry/George’s “You’ll turn my pretty head with your flattery.”
In addition to the great back-and-forth between Loy and Powell, the film also explores subplots dealing with Larry’s life outside of his marriage and how “George” changes every aspect of what used to be a very structured, “normal,” monotonous life.
I Love You Again is a fun watch. Like just about any Myrna and Bill film, I’d highly recommend it. The score: 4.5/5