Thu 10 Oct 2013
PENTHOUSE. MGM, 1933. Warner Baxter, Myrna Loy, Charles Butterworth, Mae Clarke, Phillips Holmes, C. Henry Gordon, Martha Sleeper, Nat Pendleton. Based on a story by Arthur Somers Roche serialized in Cosmopolitan. Director: W. S. Van Dyke.
A forgotten mystery writer is Arthur Somers Roche; a forgotten film is Penthouse, which was based on his story in Cosmopolitan. (In 1935 it was published in hardcover by Dodd Mead.)
Crisp!y directed by W. S. “One Take” Van Dyke in three weeks, this movie provided the breakthrough role for Myrna Loy. Not forced to play a vamp, she displayed her natural sophistication and flair for comedy so well that M-G-M cast her as Nora Charies when Van Dyke filmed The Thin Man the following year.
Also noteworthy in Penthouse are Warner Baxter as a Perry Mason type defense lawyer who does some real detecting and Nat Pendleton almost walking away with the picture with his performance as a gangster.
Penthouse is as slick as the pages on which it originally appeared, but it is fun and worth seeing.
Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1988.