Torchy Gets Her Man (1938)

  • Only one more movie left in my Torchy marathon. Boohoo! I love Torchy & Skipper, and I don’t feel ready to be done with them yet.
  • This one’s about counterfeiters!
  • I love how consistent these movies are with their minor characters & their eccentricities. Like…it’s one thing to have both Glenda Farrell & Barton MacLane stick around for all of them (as opposed to her finding a new love interest or something, if MacLane’s role wasn’t renewed) – but it’s another to have Tom Kennedy as Gahagan & George Guhl as the Desk Sergeant – and their character traits staying refreshingly consistent.

(Yes, I know that in this movie, Maxie is played by Joe Cunningham & not Raymond Hatton…but, you know, besides that.)

  • Willard Robertson begins the movie by showing up at the police station with a Secret Service badge, wanting to talk to McTavish (Frank Shannon) & Skipper about a counterfeiter case they (& Torchy) have been working on. He introduces himself as Charles Gilbert – but my gut tells me that he’s behind this counterfeiting racket, & he’s just trying to get the police to aid him in pulling off his latest scam. It’s just…he behaves shadily & recommends that he & Steve take Gilbert’s car, rather than a police one, and pretends he doesn’t have a driver, although he absolutely does. I simply don’t trust the guy. If you can counterfeit money, why couldn’t you counterfeit a special police badge, too?
  • Yep. He’s crooked. Gahagan takes McTavish’s letter to the Bureau’s headquarters to verify Gilbert’s identity – but a couple of “agents” stop him & question him, asking to see his credentials, & replace McTavish’s letter with a different one. Tsk, tsk. Poor Gahagan. It wasn’t even his fault this time!
  • The switched letter tells Brennan (the Bureau chief, played by Herbert Rawlinson) not to contact McTavish & McBride until given the word, because they’re working a special case in which their association with him cannot be known.
  • Brennan writes a reply (which would obviously throw up a couple flags, if given to McTavish, because the response would make no sense, within the context of the real first letter) – but the troublemakers on Gilbert’s team stage a scene as Gahagan leaves Brennan’s office, and do another letter switch. Boo!
  • Luckily, y’all, we’ve got Torchy, who has not been involved in any of these exchanges, and thus will be able to see anything that happens regarding Gilbert with unbiased eyes.
  • So here’s the scoop (which Torchy doesn’t know yet – but I’m confident she will soon) – Gilbert & his team wanted to be planted within the betting booths at the racetrack (horses, not cars) so that they could learn the deposit system & schedule, so they can pull off a big heist one day soon. Until then, Gilbert is smuggling about $10,000 of “bad bills” out of the racetrack drawers every day, when in actuality they are very real bills – but Stevie has no idea, because he’s just taking Gilbert’s word for it, as a Special Agent Counterfeit Specialist.
  • Hurry up, Torchy! I don’t like seeing Skipper being played like a fool!
  • Well…Torchy, Gahagan, & Blitzen (a German Shepherd who only responds to commands spoken in – you guessed it – German) find Gilbert’s hideout, thinking they’ve found the HQ of the in-town Secret Agents – but they soon learn from Gilbert himself that he is not Gilbert, and not a Secret Agent…and is in fact Bailey, the notorious & highly sought-after counterfeiter.
  • Problem is…now Torchy & Gahagan are in a house full of Bailey chums, & it seems the two of them will be held hostage, until further notice.
  • Torchy manages to send Blitzen on his way, & Blitzen’s owner takes him to Skipper, since Gahagan (the borrower of Blitzen) appears to be MIA.
  • Skipper quickly grasps that something must have happened to Torchy & Gahagan, BUT “Gilbert” tries to talk Skipper out of it, because he is NEFARIOUS.
  • “Gilbert” phones his crew & tells them to blow up the house (where Torchy & Gahagan are being held) at 8:00 (roughly 45 minutes from now).
  • Skipper decides to go against “Gilbert’s” preferences, & have Blitzen try to lead them to Gahagan, using the scent from a pair of Gahagan’s gloves…and Blitzen’s (hopefully) sharp memory.
  • Way to go, Blitzen! It worked!
  • When the tracking crew (Skipper, “Gilbert,” Blitzen’s owner, & several other police officers) arrive at the house, “Gil” is hesitant to go inside. T-minus 15 minutes until the place explodes.
  • As the clock ticks closer to 8, “Gil” gets way jumpy & way un-composed. Skipper gets it, & is like “Sit down, Bailey. Where’s Torchy?”

Hooray, Skipper! Gold star!

  • Torchy & Gahagan are saved, & Bailey is arrested.
  • What gave Bailey away, you ask? He twice referenced to Skipper Torchy’s love of steaks, which Skipper knew he’d never mentioned to “Gilbert.” Ha. What a way to crack a case.
  • What? Torchy & Skipper still don’t get married in this?! I thought for sure that’s what the title was referring to. Bah! I am displeased.
  • These movies thrive on the chemistry of MacLane & Farrell, and this one kept them apart for very nearly the whole thing. Poor decision. I think I liked this Torchy movie the least out of the four I’ve seen.
  • There are two more Torchy movies starring Farrell & MacLane (TORCHY BLANE IN CHINATOWN (1939) and TORCHY RUNS FOR MAYOR (1939))…but I’m not sure I’ll ever watch them, if the series continues its decreased number of Torchy/Skipper-in-the-same-room scenes.
  • I don’t know, though. We’ll see!

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