Today and tomorrow on TMP I’m reviewing two Tyrone Power films that tell the same story. First up we’ve got Love is News (1937), co-starring Loretta Young. Tomorrrow, That Wonderful Urge (1948), with Gene Tierney taking on the role formerly occupied by Young. Two films, one tale, and one leading man in Tyrone Power!
Steve Leyton (Tyrone Power) is a reporter stuck in a rivalry with the New York Daily Express city editor, Martin Canavan (Don Ameche). When Martin is appointed to his position, Steve quits. Then he gets a good scoop and is put back on the payroll. Then he quits again! It’s a never-ending cycle.
Steve’s latest scoop (and re-hiring) comes in the form of a tip that Tony Gateson (Loretta Young), a very rich heiress, will soon come into town via the Newark airport. Steve poses as a member of the police security team in order to win Tony’s trust, and learns that she has ended her engagement to Count Andre de Guyon (George Sanders).
Steve is ready to go to print with the breakup story, until Tony learns his true identity and plants a story in the other papers that she and Steve are getting married, getting revenge on him by placing him directly in the public eye. For the first time, Steve gets a taste of what it’s like to be the subject of a media frenzy rather than sitting behind the typewriter.
Love Is News was directed by Tay Garnett. The flick earned a 3-star “good” rating from Modern Screen upon release, while Photoplay warned readers that the film would make them “die of joy!”
Don Ameche, Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, George Sanders, Elisha Cook Jr.! What a cast Love Is News can boast! I am, in particular, a fan of Ameche and Young, so I was bound to like this film at the very least. Solid performances given by all involved.
One of my favorite aspects of this film is the playful animosity between Ameche and Power’s characters, which they pull off brilliantly. Additionally, Loretta Young’s character is buckets of fun to watch, spinning a lighthearted web of lies — a revenge plot of sorts — and playing into the media circus.
Speaking of Young, she and Power make a wonderful pair and easily won me over with their schemes and banter, contributing greatly to my enjoyment of the film. In the beginning, I just liked Love Is News; by the end, I was head over heels for it, thanks in large part to these two stars. Not only is the romance adorable, but the film had me laughing out loud several times with scenes like that between-jail-cells cigarette theft and Tony’s staged car accident.
Love Is News, in addition to its screwball sensibilities, speaks to the frenzied nature of the news business and the fight to be the very first to get the scoop. This is an even greater problem today, with a 24-hour news cycle and social media offering instant connections between publication and reader. No need to wait for the printing press and delivery boys now, though I have a feeling the reporters of Love Is News would be frequently publishing retractions on their websites and engaging in Twitter battles if the film took place today!
My singular complaint regarding this film is that it moves just a tad slowly in the very beginning, though it seems to strive for a frantic pace with its many loud and fast-talking characters. This doesn’t bring the film down too much, but leaves the viewer feeling like there’s some missed potential early on. It could benefit from a touch more wit tossed into the mix before Young’s role grows to prominence and she brings the sass to the screen. Once the playful rivalry between Tony and Steve begins, the film becomes a delightful romp, exactly what it wanted to be from the beginning.
Despite that little pacing issue, I enjoyed Love Is News a lot and would certainly watch it again. I count this as a win for Power and Young, and look forward to watching more of the films they made together! The score: 4/5