For Reel

Kansas City Princess (1934)
January 28, 2017, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: William Keighley
3.5 Stars
Kansas City Princess.jpgFeaturing the natural pair of Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell, Kansas City Princess plays like an early incarnation of Some Like It Hot, complete with a variety of disguises and aloof bachelors. The two quick-witted blondes play manicurist swindlers who find themselves on the run from a gangster (Robert Armstrong) who has taken a liking to Blondell. Both actresses were known for the sassy fast-talking repartee, and this film provides some of their most memorable scenes together—the two women go back-and-forth, leaving little breathing room for one another and all but speaking over each other in their urgency to get the next line out. Director William Keighley wisely stages many of these scenes in public places and blocks the women walking down hallways, adding to the sense of energy and chaos—in its best moments, Kansas City Princess makes one recall the frenetic pacing of His Girl Friday, which wouldn’t be released for another six years. Unfortunately, the momentum is all but sapped from the picture in the last fifteen minutes or so (a late appearance by Ivan Lebedeff is the sole weak performance in the cast), perhaps an inevitability when following the remarkably entertaining scenes between Blondell and Farrell and two hilariously obnoxious businessmen played by T. Roy Barnes and Hobart Cavanaugh.

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