The Adventurous Blonde (1937)

  • Another Torchy movie! Hooray!
  • Oh, how stellar – the first shot of this one is a train barreling down the tracks, straight toward the viewer!
  • Torchy’s sitting next to this woman on the train (Theresa Gray, played by Natalie Moorhead), and the porter who delivers telegrams to the two of them gets the notes mixed up. So Torchy accidentally reads Ms. Gray’s, which says:

“Do not plan on seeing me, our interlude has ended. – Harvey.”

Brutal!!!

  • So…Torchy & Skipper are finally about to get married. However, their “friends” from a rival newspaper decide it’d be real funny if they delayed the wedding by staging a fake crime, so that Torchy & Skipper get involved & are too busy to remember to get married.
  • These newspaper guys all have good relationships with Torchy & Steve – but they’re a little annoyed that Torchy always gets the best news scoops, thanks to her involvement with Skipper – so they mean this fake-case prank in good humor, but with a little bite to it.
  • Meanwhile, Torchy sends Steve flowers to bring to her at the train station, because she knows he’d never bother to think of such a thing. Torchy and me…we’d be BFFs if she were real, you guys.
  • The GNB (Gang of Newspaper Buddies) picks actor/playwright Harvey Hammond (Leland Hodgson) as their fake murder victim; Harvey agrees because his new play could use publicity, and also because playing a murder victim seems pretty fun to him (actors are weirdos, we all know this is true).
  • I’m pretty sure Harvey’s butler just murdered him for real, though. Like…99% sure. He’s like, ‘Let me help you stage this death scene,’ (Harvey was super giddy about the whole thing) and then I think he strangled him for real.

Scandalous!

  • Just like the GNB planned, Torchy scooped the news story, & The Herald printed it immediately. And little do they all know – the GNB just succeeded in delivering a great, real headline to their competition. Great job, boys!
  • Fantastic twist: the Coroner (Jimmy Conlin), who refused to go along with the GNB’s joke-murder (they had to find a retired one, instead) reads about the murder in the afternoon Herald & dashes down to the crime scene to put a stop to all the bullshit. But when he gets there, he’s like, ‘Uh…y’all…this man’s actually dead.’ And all hell breaks lose.
  • The Globe (the newspaper of the GNB) is doing some shady things with the confessions & testimonies of Hugo the Butler (Anderson Lawler) & his maid girlfriend Grace (Anne Nagel). They’re like…bribing both of them to admit Hugo did it – using the other’s (fake) cooperation to persuade them.

(There are some questions about Hugo’s guilt, no matter how straightforward this seemed at the beginning.)

Anyway, The Globe and its lawyers are doing some backhanded things. I do not approve.

  • This plot is way too complicated to explain in full, by the way – too many moving pieces. Not previously mentioned is Mrs. Hammond (Virginia Brissac), and the fact that Theresa Gray is married to Mortimer Gray (Charles C. Wilson), the editor (owner?) of The Globe.

(That last part explains why the GNB wanted corroborated confessions from Grace & Hugo – because the boss’s wife is also a likely suspect in this murder.)

(Torchy read her telegram from Harvey at the beginning, remember?)

  • This is getting good!
  • WHAT! Mortimer did it!!!
  • We forgot that when the GNB went to him with their idea for the murder-hoax, it was HIM who suggested they make Hammond the victim…which he did because he knew about his wife’s affair with him!!!
  • This is a way complex & awesome storyline for a Torchy film. I LOVE IT.
  • Torchy suspected Mr. Gray from the beginning, once she learned that the woman who’d been next to her on the train was both his wife & Harvey’s mistress. She orchestrated a whole police office scene with all the players, which resulted in Gray’s confession, and was a pretty badass chain of moves, on her part.
  • The movie ends with Torchy accepting an assignment in Cleveland, because Skipper put off their getting married again, this time by escorting Mr. Gray to the hospital, when Mr. Gray ended Torchy’s Orchestrated Confession Event by ingesting some poison tablets.
  • This Torchy movie was less Torchy/Steve-relationship driven, and more centered on an interesting (and well-written) plot scenario. Though I very much enjoyed the increase in complexity (SMART BLONDE and FLY AWAY BABY were both very bare-boned, in the story department) – I missed the salty Skipper/Torchy moments. Maybe the next one will have both!

Fingers crossed.

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