Wealthy Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy) is falsely accused of breaking up a marriage and sues the New York Evening Star newspaper for $5,000,000 for libel. Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy), the chief editor, desperately turns to former reporter and suave ladies' man Bill Chandler (William Powell) for help.

Bill figures that, if he can maneuver Connie into being alone with him when his wife shows up, the suit will have to be dropped. Only problem is, Bill’s not married, so Warren volunteers his long-suffering fiancée, Gladys Benton (Jean Harlow) to marry Bill, over her loud protests.

Bill arranges to return to America from England on the same ocean liner as Connie and her father J. B. (Walter Connolly). He pays some men to pose as reporters and harass Connie at the dock, so that he can "rescue" her and become acquainted. On the sea voyage, Connie initially treats him with contempt, assuming that he is just the latest in a long line of fortune hunters after her money, but Bill gradually overcomes her suspicions.

However, complications arise when Connie and Bill actually fall in love. They get married, but then Gladys decides that she prefers Bill to a marriage-averse newspaperman and interrupts their honeymoon to reclaim her husband. Bill reveals that he found out that Gladys' Mexican divorce wasn't valid, but then Gladys tops him. She got a second divorce, and she and Bill are actually man and wife. Bill is now married to both women and must try to find a way out of this. How does he and Connie show Gladys that she is actually still in love with Warren?
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Myrna Loy started out playing evil Orientals and progressed to sophisticated comedy, and became both the crowned Queen of Hollywood and America's image of the perfect wife. Everyone wanted to be married to Myrna Loy, (or at least someone like her). Her work in “Libeled Lady” shows the qualities that made her ideal for this and other comedies. Loy's patrician bearing and light, unstudied style of vocal delivery make her the perfect embodiment of natural sophistication, but there's a warmth to her that makes us believe she's a nice kid underneath.

William Powell is in top form; he can rise to suave sophistication at the drop of a hat, yet there's a deliciously sneaky level always ready to surface. He also excels in the serious moments that show Chandler reevaluating his priorities as he begins to fall in love with Connie. Powell and Loy had worked together in five films by this point, and their instinctive understanding of each other's rhythm is evident; they work in a perfect harmony, even when their characters are at odds. From start to finish, Powell's performance in “Libeled Lady” is one of his best.

Creating an enjoyable contrast to the duo of Powell and Loy is the embattled relationship of Tracy and Harlow. Spencer Tracy was perfectly cast as the fast-talking newspaper man who will ruthlessly use his fiancée to suit his needs but who gradually comes to realize that he actually does want to marry her. Tracy is justly admired for his acting prowess in dramas, but he's as natural in the role of Warren as in his own skin.

Opposite this heavyweight, Jean Harlow really gets to shine as Gladys. Initially, when we see her in a shouting match with Warren, there's nothing particularly special about her performance, but as the film progresses her character and her performance both get to develop and grow in complexity. Harlow is hilarious in her scenes as Powell's bride and antagonist, even more so when they have to play the loving couple for onlookers, and downright delightful as she starts to warm up to Bill for the simple reason that he treats her like a Queen, as Warren never has. We get to see both the brassy and the womanly sides of Harlow's persona, and Gladys emerges as an outstanding character. At the time filming began, Jean Harlow and William Powell were an off-screen couple. Harlow really wanted to play Connie Allenbury, so that her character and Powell's would wind up together. But MGM insisted, however, that the film be another William Powell-Myrna Loy vehicle, as they originally intended. Known as the "Platinum Blonde" and the "Blonde Bombshell" due to her platinum blonde hair, Harlow was ranked as one of the greatest movie stars of all time by the American Film Institute. Harlow's enormous popularity and "laughing vamp" image were in distinct contrast to her personal life, which was marred by disappointment, tragedy, and ultimately her sudden death from renal failure at age 26.

The wonderful Walter Connolly is also superb as the seemingly crusty businessman, J. B. Allenbury, who lights up like a Christmas tree when the subject of trout fishing is introduced. Connolly and Powell’s comedic scenes while trout fishing are not to be missed.

Jack Conway's direction creates an enjoyably fast pace and must be credited for steering the actors into such deft performances; there's a lightness of touch to the film that raises it above the level of lesser comedies. Originally, Lionel Barrymore was cast as Mr. J. B. Allenbury, while Rosalind Russell was considered to play Connie Allenbury.

“Libeled Lady” was released on October 9,1936 and received an Academy Award nomination as Best Picture in 1937, but lost to “The Great Ziegfeld”, which also starred William Powell and Myrna Loy. The film was eventually remade in 1946 as “Easy to Wed” with Esther Williams, Van Johnson, and Lucille Ball.