Smart Blonde (1937)

  • This film begins with Torchy (Glenda Farrell) paying a taxi driver to chase a train down the tracks, so she can ultimately vacate the car and hop aboard the train. Solid.
  • (This is apparently the first of what would grow to be a 9-movie franchise. Don’t worry – I don’t plan to embark on a lengthy marathon of Torchy films; this is probably the only one I’ll ever watch.)
  • Fitz Mularkey is such a ’30s character name. Ha! I love it.
  • Not convinced of Dolly Ireland (Wini Shaw)’s star power. Her wardrobe & hand gestures are seriously lacking in the charisma department.
  • Farrell & Barton MacLane’s chemistry is great. There’s something very natural and understated about it – they don’t try to force it, which is pretty refreshing to watch.
  • Jane Wyman’s bit part as Dixie the Hat-Check Girl is excellent. She does exactly what she needs to – nothing more, nothing less.
  • Fitz (Addison Richards) is a goddamn murderer!

(Then again, so was Chuck – but whatever.)

  • I like the rapid pace of this story. I feel like normally, detective plots like this play out over the course of a week, maybe two. This one’s done in about 24 hours. All of the dialogue and plot points are brisk & to the point – I like it a lot.
  • Halfway through this movie, I began to think that I’d misread the fact that this was the first Torchy movie, based on how little backstory or explanation is given regarding the Skipper/Torchy relationship (based on the characters’ dynamic – which feels very established – it’d make total sense for this to be, say, the second movie in the series, instead of the first) – but no, I double checked. This one’s definitely the first. That makes the set up of this movie & the way they just dive into it slightly perplexing – but I don’t dislike it. I know I said this would be the only Torchy movie I ever watched…but this kinda makes me want to watch at least one more (FLY AWAY BABY, maybe? Also from 1937).
  • What!!! Back in movie land, Skipper just shot Fitz?! I did not see that coming!
  • (Skipper didn’t see that one coming, either.)
  • Great exchange:

Skipper: What were you doing at the station?

Torchy: Oh, I was just seeing a friend up on the train. That tall, dark, handsome man I was telling you about.

Skipper: Well, I hope he falls off and breaks his neck.

Torchy: Skipper! That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.

  • Uh…the ending got very twisted, very quickly. I do not understand exactly what happened and why – but it seems that Marcia (Charlotte Wynters) & her fake brother were guilty of most of the bad things that went down.
  • Closing thought: I’d like Torchy to be my breakfast buddy. We’d have heaps of fun!

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