Although filled with plot holes and suffering from a mediocre script, WHIPSAW delighted audiences with the superb chemistry between Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy. Loy is one-third of a trio of gangsters, rounded out by Stephens and Clement, who steal some jewels in Europe and head for New
York, only to have their booty lifted by two other crooks, Harrigan and Gleckler. Loy reclaims the jewels (without knowing it, at first), then leaves town with her new man, Tracy, whom she believes to be another thief. Tracy, however, is actually a G-man trying to locate the stolen gems. The pair
take off on a cross-country journey, making a stop at the country home of Qualen, where they help his wife deliver twins. Stephens and Clement finally catch up and hold Tracy and Loy hostage. Loy convinces her former cohorts that the booty is still in New York and that they must return to get it.
Later, Tracy lets his real identity be known, and after a nearly fatal battle, assists police in the capture of the thugs. Although Loy is brought to trial, Tracy still loves her and promises to help with her defense. Originally intended as a vehicle for Loy and William Powell, WHIPSAW had to be
recast when the actress went on strike to receive better wages and Powell ended up involved in another film. MGM production head Irving Thalberg suggested Tracy as a replacement, but before long director Wood and Tracy were at serious odds--Tracy complaining that Wood wasted time and was
reshooting excessively. When Thalberg heard of their inability to work together, he went to the set and confronted Wood. According to Larry Swindell's biography of Tracy, Thalberg asked, "Well, Sam, what's your opinion of Tracy?" After a moment, Thalberg received a direct answer, "I think the
red-headed bastard is the best actor on the lot!" Although Tracy would never again work under Wood's direction, the two managed to complete WHIPSAW on friendly terms.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Although filled with plot holes and suffering from a mediocre script, WHIPSAW delighted audiences with the superb chemistry between Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy. Loy is one-third of a trio of gangsters, rounded out by Stephens and Clement, who steal some je… (more)