Archive for August 2nd, 2011

by Allan Fish

(USA 1931 74m) not on DVD

Aka. Larceny Lane

Hey, hooooooo-nee

d  Roy del Ruth  w  Kubec Glasmon,  John Bright  ph  Sid Hickox, Ernest Haller  ed  Ralph Dawson  md  Leo F.Forbstein  art  Esdras Hartley  cos  Earl Luick

James Cagney (Bert Harris), Joan Blondell (Anne Roberts), Ray Milland (Joe Reynolds), Louis Calhern (Dapper Dan Barker), Noel Francis (Helen Wilson), Guy Kibbee (A.Rupert Johnson Jnr), Polly Walters (Peggy), Nat Pendleton (Hank), William Burress (Col.Bellock), Maude Eburne (Mrs Snyder), Charles Lane (four eyes),

Another one of those numerous snappy pre-code films rattled off at Warners as quickly as guns from a tommy gun (or words from Cagney and co’s mouths), Blonde Crazy is one of the best films of its director Roy del Ruth and arguably the quintessential pairing of its stars.  When one considers the entire repertory of Warners’ pre-code output, singling two out can be tricky; consider say Aline MacMahon, Warren William, Lee Tracy, Douglass Dumbrille, Mae Clarke, Ned Sparks, Barbara Stanwyck (when she wasn’t at Colombia), Bebe Daniels, Ricardo Cortez, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Edward G. Robinson, Richard Barthelmess, Glenda Farrell, Ann Dvorak, Guy Kibbee and that’s only a couple of minutes’ thought.  Powell and Keeler represented hope through the depression, but as a couple they date, where Cagney and Blondell not only haven’t dated, they get richer with every passing decade.  They’d appeared together briefly before – Other’s Men’s Women and The Public Enemy – but they were old friends from before their Warner days.  It shows; Mae Clarke was a fine sparring partner, too, but Cagney never had anyone like Blondell. 

            Cagney plays Bert Harris, a would-be wise guy who works as a bellhop at a small hotel and makes money on the side in crap games with loaded dice, peddling dicey liquor and moving from one naïve girl to another.  He takes a shine to Anne Roberts as soon as she walks through the door, arranging for her to get a job in the linen department at the hotel.  When he tries to claim his reward, however, she slaps him in the face, but that only makes him want her more.  He persuades her to hook up with him as con partners, firstly targeting rich jewellery manufacturer A.Rupert Johnson Jnr, before using the cash obtained from him to move into what they think is the big league in a big city.  There, however, Bert is taken for a chump by Dapper Dan Barker and loses $5,000, including Anne’s half, and he performs a con on a jewellery store to get her money back.  He wants revenge on Dan, but in the meantime, the previously love-struck Anne has her heart swayed by rich man’s son Joe Reynolds.  (more…)

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