Monday, October 19, 2020

Blonde Crazy (1931)

James Cagney is a bellhop who dreams of becoming a big-time grifter. He teams up with maid Joan Blondell, and the two small-time crooks embark on a series of schemes to strike it big during the depths of the Great Depression. Along the way, they get mixed-up with other con-men and get taken by a few schemes themselves, but in the end, they'll always have each other.

This is one of the best of the Warner Bros. pre-Code crime pictures. Cagney and Blondell have great chemistry together, and the film is filled with the kind of salacious moments that just a few years later would be prohibited on the screen, giving it a "down and dirty" quality that perfectly captures the atmosphere and attitudes of the Great Depression years.

At a brisk 79 minutes, it's also a model of economic storytelling and pacing. There's not a wasted minute of screen time.


Cullen Gallagher said...

One of my favorite movies! Del Ruth in the 30s was hard to beat. His pacing was impeccable and can give you whiplash. Life of the Party is also fabulous.

Matt Barry said...

Looking over his filmography, it's amazing how many really solid pictures he had his name on in those years. Forgot that he directed "The Little Giant", a personal favorite of mine among Edward G. Robinson's movies.