'Double Harness': THR's 1933 Review

Photofest
Ann Harding and William Powell in 'Double Harness' (1933)
The two stars will bring 'em in, and once in the good word will spread like wildfire.

On July 21, 1933, the Ann Harding-William Powell feature Double Harness began playing at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The Hollywood Reporter's original review is below.

Well, it's not another Holiday, this new Ann Harding picture for Radio, Double Harness, but it's close enough to it to cause a lot of excitement. 

A good many pictures have flowed under the cinematic bridge since Miss Harding has had a part so ideally suited to her. And never has William Powell been so smoothly cast. 

The film has four grand, reliable legs to stand on ... Harding, Powell, John Cromwell (the director), and Jane Murfin's adaptation ... and it stands proudly and strongly and effectively. 

The plot is not unusual, but so deftly is it disguised that it seems shiny and new. It is the old story of a man who prefers bachelordom, and of a woman who prefers to go tandem. By a trick, she succeeds in marrying him, determined to regard marriage as a business and not to let emotion wreck it. But she falls in love with him. Which does not, however, prevent her from becoming almost indispensable as a business advisor.

Then, just as he finds that he, too, is falling in love with her, he learns of the trick by which she inveigled him to face the altar. But she retrieves him and a million dollar contract for him into the bargain and all ends well. 

The picture is loosely, but strongly woven. It is episodic, but consistent. It is sophisticated, but not superficial, and it is very grand entertainment.

John Cromwell's direction is restrained, honest and thorough. Jane Murfin's adaptation of Edward Poor Montgomery's story couldn't have been better, and the dialogue is crisp and fresh. J. Roy Hunt's camera work is above reproach. 

There is one brief sequence that jarred, so foreign is it to the mood of the whole. And that is the slapstick moment in the kitchen where the cook throws a bowl of something at the butler. Very bad.

Ann Harding and William Powell carry the picture. The balance of the cast, with the exception of Reginald Owen as the butler, and Wallace Clark in a very small part, could have been better. 

Lucile Browne plays Miss Harding's young meanie of a sister; Henry Stephenson is her father; Lillian Bond is such a disagreeable person that one wonders how Powell could have been attracted by her; and others are George Meeker, Kay Hammond, Leigh Allen, Hugh Huntley, Wallace Clark and Frederic Santley. 

Don't worry about this picture. The two stars will bring 'em in, and once in the good word will spread like wildfire. — Staff review, originally published June 29, 1933