Blonde Crazy

Roy Del Ruth

T. It.: La Bionda E L’avventuriero; Sog., Scen.: Kubec Glasmon, John Bright; F.: Ernest Haller, Sidney Hickox; Mo.:Ralph Dawson; Scgf.: Esdras Hartley; Co.: Earl Luick; Mu.: Leo F. Forbstein; Int.: James Cagney (Bert Harris), Joan Blondell (Anne Roberts), Louis Calhern (Dapper Dan Barker), Noel Francis (Helen Wilson), Ray Milland (Joe Reynolds), Guy Kibbee (A. Rupert Johnson, Jr.), Polly Walters (Peggy), William Burress (Colonnello Bellock), Maude Eburne (Sig.Ra Snyder), Nat Pendleton (Hank); Prod.: Warner Bros. Pictures; Pri. Pro.: New York, 14 Novembre 1931; 35mm. D.: 79′. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Roy Del Ruth, a former gagman of Mack Sennett, might have been an artisan without reputation but even an output of a couple of years is staggering: The Dangerous Female (a good first version of The Maltese Falcon, 1931), Taxi (1932), Winner Take All (1932), Blessed Event (1932), Employees’ Entrance (1933), and the present film, one more tale about streetwise confidence tricksters, led by an inspired couple of James Cagney (here sweeter than usual, without loosing any of his toughness) and Joan Blondell (and with Louis Calhern and the very young Ray Milland). Much of the charm comes from the sense of teamwork, with manipulation and swindling – a life in which real work is not even considered – going on in new combinations, offering fresh observations of seedy midwestern hotels and bars always similar, and yet with a surprise around every corner. It’s eat or be eaten (with the spirit of the times defined as: “You are a tough guy.” “Not tough, just mercenary”.) but with a tender edge, told with a more meditative rhythm than in most of the more feverish Warner’s of the times, those of Del Ruth included. That’s perhaps why Joan Blondell, who with 11 roles behind her was already quite a star, emerges as the most memorable and intriguing person of this particular film.

Peter von Bagh

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