- Remember that time I said that just because I was watching SMART BLONDE (1937), didn’t mean I was going to watch all the Torchy Blane movies?
Well, I lied.
I currently have the next four Torchy movies recorded on my DVR, and I will definitely be watching them and posting about them.
So…if you hate Torchy, then
1. What the fuck is wrong with you?
2. Just skip reading this post, and then maybe skip the next three you see (identification hint: with the obvious exception of this one, they will all feature the word “blonde” in their titles).
- Alright, so Glenda Farrell & Barton MacLane are back as Torchy & Steve (aka “Skipper”), respectively. They are not quite – but intending to be soon – married.
- This time, a man called Devereux has been murdered in his office.
- While Torchy is watching Steve investigate the crime scene, she makes a LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1936) reference. (“Well, Hawkeye, did the redskins leave any trail?”) Ha. Weird.
- While poking around the outside of the building in which the murder (and theft of $250,000 of gems, from Devereux’s safe) took place, Torchy’s like, ‘Well, if I was fleeing a murder scene, I’d probably stash my gun……’ and proceeds to stick her hand up an exposed drainage pipe, from which she pulls – yep! – the gun. ‘It’s still kinda warm!’ says Skipper.
Ha! I love these films.
- MacLane is an expert at delivering these interrogation lines with speed, accuracy, & intensity. It’s really impressive how flawlessly he fires them off – especially in the early scene with Croy (played by Gordon Oliver) & Ms. Sayre (Marcia Ralston).
- (Turns out Croy had an impassioned argument with Devereux, who had lectured Croy on Croy’s dealings with nightclub dancers & threatened to tell Croy’s father everything Croy had been up to, in this regard, a day before Devereux was murdered. “Aha,” we all say cautiously.)
- Croy is flying his plane around the world later today (as, you know, one often just decides to do, on a whim). Hughie (Sprague, played by Hugh O’Connell), who works at a rival paper (?) to Torchy’s, but is friends with Torchy nonetheless, has decided to also fly a plane around the world, to hopefully boost sales of his paper.
(Surely there are easier ways to do this than flying a plane around the world? Can Hughie even fly a plane???)
- Torchy excitedly waltzes into Steve’s office, and the following glorious exchange happens:
Torchy: Hi, Skipper!
Skipper: What’s the matter with you?
Torchy: Guess what I’ve been doing!
Skipper: Eating, I suppose.
- Torchy believes she’s gathered enough evidence to pin the Devereux murder on Croy…but Skipper tells her they’ve already found a guy called Veroni (?) who’s locked up & probably definitely did it.
Skipper: Running down criminals is a man’s job. It takes a mastermind and years of experience to crack these cases. You just go back to your office and write a nice little story about what the women’s clubs are doing to promote world peace, and I’ll take you out to dinner.
(After a speech like that, Croy is definitely guilty, and Torchy definitely has all the right answers. Skipper should know this by now.)
- What the hell?! Torchy knows how to fly a plane, too?!
I don’t know what her angle is, but she now wants to join the Croy/Hughie race around the world.
- Colonel Higgam (Torchy’s boss at The Herald, played by Harry Davenport): “Torchy, I hate to dampen your enthusiasm – but I still don’t think that a lot of reporters chasing each other around the world is news.”
Right?! The Colonel and I are on the same wavelength.
- The Colonel caves, however, when Torchy explains that her intention is not to plane race – but instead to keep an eye on Lucien Croy.
- Hilariously, a desk cop (played by George Guhl) making small talk with Skipper about how women do the craziest things, is like, ‘Your girlfriend…Ms…..Whossit…for instance, is on her way to China…’ and hands Skipper the newspaper, which reads “GIRL IN DASH ‘ROUND WORLD.”
(Predictably, Skipper is annoyed about finding this out this way.)
- Steve makes it to the airport in time to see Torchy off, much to our delight.
Skipper: Why don’t you stop trying to be a detective?
Torchy: Why don’t you start?
Torchy: Goodbye, Skipper.
Skipper: Goodbye. Take care of yourself, you little idiot.
- Wait, I’m sorry – they’re racing around the world on the same plane?! How the fuck does that work?! They all take off from the airport on the same American Airlines passenger plane! What the hell.
- Yeah…five minutes later, I still don’t get it. All these motherfuckers are on the same plane, flying around the world. What the hell kind of “race” is that?! (A lame one, you guys – that’s what.)
- Anyway – back in NonFakeRaceLand (aka just regular America), Ms. Sayre (Marcia Ralston) has spilled the beans on Croy to Skipper. You can always count on bitter ex-fiancées! They have all the best details, & a huge desire for revenge.
- So Skipper hops on a boat to Germany to intercept the gem exchange between Croy & a jewel-hungry German. (No, I do not have any incite as to how the timing of this round-the-world plane trip via Hawaii, China, Baghdad, etc. matches up with a boat ride across the Atlantic so perfectly – but we’re just gonna go with it, because it seems like the fun thing to do.)
- While on the blimp to England (? I know…just accept it), everything unravels when Skipper & Torchy find Croy murdered in his room. Turns out Croy & Allister (Devereux’s business partner, played by Joseph King, who’s been there all along – I just haven’t mentioned him because his moments were small) were working together this whole time – until Croy decided to double-cross Allister & take all the money & jewels for himself. And then Allister was like, ‘Nope,’ and killed him.
- Way to go, Torchy & Skipper!
- This movie wasn’t quite as good as SMART BLONDE, but it was still thoroughly enjoyable. The MacLane + Farrell dynamic makes the silliness & sparseness of the plot totally worthwhile – that’s how perfectly they play off of each other.