On October 15, 1937, the romantic comedy favorite Double Wedding first hit theaters. The film stars William Powell as a flighty filmmaker/bohemian who takes free-spirited young rebel Irene (Florence Rice) and her milquetoast longtime boyfriend Waldo (John Beal) under his wing. This move raises the ire of Irene’s designer sister Margit (Myrna Loy), who pays him a visit to give him a piece of his mind and subsequently makes an arrangement with him — he will stop hanging around Irene if Margit lets him paint a portrait of her. Before you can say “Michelangelo,” an unexpected romance between the pair occurs. But can all the characters figure out what they want from life and love? And will both pairs of couples work out their differences? Of course, and that’s a huge part of the movie’s enduring appeal. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the film’s trailer:
As mirthful as the on-screen proceedings were, you may not have realized that behind the scenes a dark cloud hovered over the film. Powell’s fiancée Jean Harlow died unexpectedly on June 7, 1937 of kidney disease, and production of the movie was temporarily halted. When shooting resumed, both Powell and Loy (who was a good friend of Harlow) gave their all despite the grief they were feeling. This tragedy illustrates an important point that we often forget when watching films, that actors sometimes have to deal with rough real-world situations while playing roles that have brought us joy for decades. This will give you a new appreciation for Double Wedding, which is now available via the Warner Archives Collection, the next time you watch it. This sad story aside the film remains a rollicking romantic comedy that still brings smiles to the faces of all who have experienced its charms over the years.