Blonde Crazy (1931)
There are only a few things that would distract me from fondling my Ford at Fox box set - one of them being a Joan Blondell retrospective. And MoMA has to go and foist one upon me at a most inopportune time. But go I must. So I did. Tonight was the 1931 Warner cheapie Blonde Crazy, directed by Roy Del Ruth. A lean 80 minutes of slapping-as-flirtation, weird welcomes ("Come in, rest your face and hands"), and lecherous industrialists. The unstoppable Cagney-Blondell duo hook up as con artists and travel the great country of ours swindling other swindlers out of dough from the largest hotel in the midwest to the largest hotel in the largest city. Blondell's a little reluctant, but Cagney pops his eyebrows up, bats his eyelashes, spouts some nasal nonsense, and she's charmed.
Anyway, forget the plot. This movie is about eyes - Blondell's glinty saucers and Cagney's squinty daggers. There's also some eyebrow action, as mentioned - but it's mainly in the eyes as Cagney flirts his way into double-crosses and disaster. But Joan B., with her acid putdowns and loving eyes, always plucks him back from the precipice - and one expects them to slap and insult each other all the way to their deathbead.
And what a dastardly villain Joe Reynolds (Ray Milland) is - he has the gall to buy our moll a volume of Robert Browning's poetry - and then send Cagney into the hoosegow! That sonuvabitch is dead to me. Screw you Joe Reynolds!
Labels: Joan Blondell