Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blondie! (1938)

You know, it's always nice to watch a film that you haven't seen in years.  Blondie! is definitely one of those films.  I had forgotten how great the cast was and how well they worked together.  Released by Columbia Pictures and directed by Frank R. Strayer, Blondie! is the first of almost thirty "episodes" in the comedy series and it is hilarious from start to finish.

Dagwood (Arthur Lake) has cosigned a note for one of his coworkers named Elsie and now owes the loan company a grand total of $563.80.  What makes matters worse is that his fifth wedding anniversary is rapidly approaching and Blondie (Penny Singleton) has bought new furniture that he hasn't found out about yet.  The only way out of this jam is for Dagwood to get land developer C.P. Hazlip (Gene Lockhart) to sign a contract with his employer Mr. Dithers (Jonathan Hale), who in turn promises Dagwood a raise and a bonus that would cover what Dagwood owes.  Not as easy as it sounds because Hazlip is known for avoiding salesman and just not being an easy person to see in general.

In one of the funniest scenes in the film Dagwood sits next to a stranger in the hotel lobby waiting for Hazlip to show up, unknown to Dagwood that the stranger is Hazlip, the two observe a hotel porter (Willie Best) tinkering with a vacuum cleaner.  The two men sneak the vacuum cleaner up to Hazlip's room to try to fix it when Hazlip's daughter Elsie (Ann Doran) shows up and Dagwood finds out who his new friend really is.  Blondie finds out that Dagwood is at the hotel and mistakes Elsie Hazlip for the Elsie that Dagwood cosigned the note for and thinks that he's having an affair.  All this is complicated even further by the arrival of one of Blondie's old flames (Gordon Oliver), her mother (Gene's wife Kathleen Lockhart), and her sister Dot (Dorothy Moore).  The film gets more chaotic and more entertaining as things progress. 

Baby Dumpling (Larry Simms) is great in every scene he's in, whether it's delivering his little one line zingers or his antics with his neighbor Alvin (Danny Mummert).  Gene Lockhart is one of those actors that's great in every part he plays and seems to do it without effort.  Penny Singleton is uber perky and perfectly cast as Blondie, and Arthur Lake is the quintessential Dagwood.  Oh, I almost forgot, Daisy is just adorable. 

Bottom line, this is a really funny film and no matter what age group you fall into you'll enjoy some very entertaining moments and maybe it'll bring back some fond memories.  And at about 70 minutes the laughs come at you pretty quick.  So if no one minds, I think I'll go watch another one.


  1. I have never seen a "Blondie" movie. They certainly look like a well-cast fun. You have greatly whetted my appetite for some fun with the Bumsteads.

  2. Hey CW-
    This first film definitely hits a grand slam. There is a set of all 28 films available. but I heard that the quality of the films vary greatly but the first 10 films or "episodes" are available for about $10 and the quality is great ... You won't be disappointed ...

  3. I really liked this film and would love to see more of them. I'll have to check them out!