For Reel

Blonde Crazy (1931)
January 14, 2015, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Roy Del Ruth
3.5 Stars
Blonde CrazyAppearing in a total of seven films together, James Cagney and Joan Blondell were a perfect match for each other. Blondell played the most savvy of characters–whether she was operating outside the law or on the level, she wasn’t the type of woman to sit around and wait for something to come to her. Similarly, Cagney was the depression’s new figure of immoral entrepreneurship. Just after breaking out big with The Public Enemy, audiences were now treated to Cagney’s take on the conman in Blonde Crazy. As with most stories about grifters, the tables get turned around on the culprits by the final reel, but Cagney and Blondell have a lot of fun together on screen before the mechanics of the plot begin to seem all too familiar. This was Blondell’s first major leading role (she had only been in the business for just over a year and this was already her twelfth picture), and she’s terrific–a total firecracker, not the kind of gal that Cagney could simply throw away with a grapefruit to the face. The picture is also among the most shamelessly racy of the period–as Blondell is bathing in the nude, Cagney goes sniffing around in her underwear. As with many Warner Brothers pre-Code entertainments, there’s a carefree tone of young, reckless abandon, punctuated with titilating scenes of sexuality and otherwise naughty behavior.

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