Blonde Crazy

Blonde Crazy - 1931

Blonde Crazy - Released November 14, 1931 - Directed by Roy Del Ruth

The film begins with the on screen title of: "The leading Hotel of a small mid-western city"

James Cagney is a bellhop named Bert Harris who is constantly looking to run a minor con on someone, and he tries to do so on the new hotel employee Ann Roberts (played by Joan Blondell).

Bert's cons don't succeed with her, Ann is streetwise and can't be taken, and soon Cagney's cagey con-artist is upping his game to try and win her approval inbetween being slapped by this flash-tempered hotel maid. Eventually the two become an enterprising con-artist team that travels higher into upper class society while specializing in stealing from other crooks (they target other crooks because Ann isn't going to tolerate stealing from the hoi polloi, and Bert follows her lead in these matters).

The title Blonde Crazy seems to be a play on two things: the phrase "gone crazy" and the obvious reference to pre-code era star Joan Blondell and her (then) platinum-colored hair.

Cagney and Blondell are a good match, they're both sharp with their dialogue and both are fast in speaking it, though Cagney's a bit faster and sharper. This wasn't usual for Blondell in a 1930's picture where she often leaves the male lead tagging along behind in the rapid-fire dialogue delivery sweepstakes.

Incidentally, Blondell and Cagney made seven films together with four of the seven having their characters romantically involved with each other.

The Cagney-Blondell Movies

  1. Sinner's Holiday – Released October 11, 1930. This was Cagney and Blondell's first film together, both playing roles that are reprised from the Broadway play titled Penny Arcade.

  2. The Public Enemy – Released April 23, 1931. One of Cagney's most famous roles as a ruthless gangster. Blondell appears in a supporting role.

  3. Blonde Crazy – Released December 3, 1931. Cagney and Blondell played a pair of con artists fleecing gullible and morally compromised customers at various hotels.

  4. The Crowd Roars – Released April 16, 1932.Cagney plays a race car driver with Blondell in another supporting role.

  5. Taxi! – Released January 23, 1932. Cagney is still racing, playing a taxi driver with Blondell as his romantic interest.

  6. Footlight Parade – Released September 30, 1933. A musical directed by Lloyd Bacon with the musical numbers by Busby Berkeley. Cagney plays a Broadway producer and Blondell has significant screen time.

  7. He Was Her Man – Released May 18, 1934. By the time this film was coming out, it was Joan Blondell's 31st film and Cagney's 18th – they had both started in Hollywood just a few years earlier in 1930.

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Original Page December 2012 | Updated September 19, 2023