The year is 1867, and Jane Budden (Myrna Loy) is looking to change her life. The daughter of a pig farmer, she’s grown tired of the country life and wants to find a husband – preferably one that lives in a big city.
Jane decides to visit her cousin in Brooklyn, hoping she’ll meet a potential suitor or two there. On the way, Jane is seated next to Hiram Stevens Maxim (Don Ameche), a quirky fellow who happens to live next door to her cousin.
Hiram learns that Jane is a “designing woman” from his landlady, and visits Jane to inform her that he — an inventive, but not wealthy or well-respected man — should be counted out from her search.
Though he thinks he’s ineligible to win her affection based on her criteria for a husband, that small fact doesn’t stop Hiram from sharing his opinions on her more “valid” suitors. Hijinks ensue as Hiram continues to butt in on Jane’s search.
So Goes My Love is based on the book A Genius in the Family by Hiram Percy Maxim, son of the real Hiram Stevens Maxim. The elder Maxim would become famous as the inventor of flying machines and portable machine guns. This film, detailing his years as a young and persistent but unsuccessful inventor, was directed by Frank Ryan.
I’m a big fan of Don Ameche, especially in comedic roles full of screwball banter. His performance in Midnight is one of my favorites in all of classic film. Here he’s paired with Myrna Loy, another of my favorite stars, so unless they had absolutely zero chemistry, I was bound to enjoy this film.
Both stars are incredibly charming and as a pair, they’re a lot of fun to watch. Ameche’s main romantic rival is Richard Gaines as Josephus Ford, a man with the wealth Jane is looking for, but also a man who tells her that she shouldn’t think because she’s a woman. It’s no contest. Even as they attempt to resist their attraction to each other, the viewer roots for Jane and Hiram from the beginning, not only due to Ford’s failings but also Ameche and Loy’s performances.
For all of the appeal of its central couple, So Goes My Love does have its faults, mostly in the realm of pace and story. We begin with a brisk pace and plenty of humor as Jane embarks on her search for a husband. This is, in my opinion, the strongest portion of the film. Highly amusing.
What follows is a stark shift from romantic comedy to slower-paced family dramedy, many of the film’s lighter moments tied to the younger Hiram’s hijinks — getting in fist fights with his peers, stealing food from the table, attempting to resist his urge to pull pranks. Things get slightly more dramatic as the elder Hiram continues his tinkering, but with a family to support.
I would have liked to see Myrna Loy and Don Ameche share the screen in a straight screwball comedy rather than a biographical comedy/drama, a full 90 minutes of that delightful chemistry they share in the first forty minutes or so of this film. But Hiram Maxim’s story is worth telling, and his family’s devotion to supporting his inventive spirit is heartwarming. So Goes My Love isn’t a great film, but a decent one with a good cast.