review for There's Always a Woman on AllMovie

There's Always a Woman (1938)
by Bruce Eder review

Everyone in Hollywood was trying to come up with their own answer to MGM's "Thin Man" series, and this was Columbia Pictures' first entry in an abortive two-picture series -- and abortive it should have been. Where the Thin Man movies and most of the competition freely mixed romantic comedy and banter with some cracking good murder mysteries, There's Always A Woman stretches credibility a little too far in the conception of the character portrayed by Joan Blondell -- Melvyn Douglas's quietly brilliant sleuth is just fine in his wry, low-keyed way, but Blondell's character is given antics and dialogue that cross over into farce, and the two never mesh as a believable couple on-screen. Indeed, her Sally Reardon seems almost more in need of medical (or psychiatric) help -- or a sock on the jaw, to use vernacular of the era -- than respect and understanding for most of the picture. And it is those antics that make this much rougher going than any of the Thin Man movies, or pictures such as Night To Remember or even The Mad Miss Manton; Barbara Stanwyck could pull off the dizzy same routine a lot more effectively than Blondell, who seems lost in a good part of this picture, game player though she is. The result is a curio in the careers of all concerned, as well as an entertaining Manhattan-based murder mystery.