Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Year Released: 1940
This starts off with one of the most hackneyed concepts in the movies - the dreaded Amnesia Victim Plot! - but makes a smooth recovery. William Powell is the victim in question: after getting hit in the noggin' with an oar while going overboard on a luxury cruise, he turns into his 'true self,' a slick hustler. The drama comes in when his frivolous, quick-witted, charming 'new' self returns to his 'old' life: the wife-neglecting, attention-craving boorish teetotaler who has to fix his old life. The 'hustle' of the third act - Powell and Co.'s scheme to get the wealthiest men in town to buy property that appears as if it contains oil - seems kind of outlandish even for a romantic comedy, but when you start off with a concept so absurd you might as well keep it going. Powell, love-interest Myrna Loy and slippery thug cohort Frank McHugh keep it fun.