Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Last night I caught up with a film I had the DVR grab from TCM a few weeks ago. HAVANA WIDOWS made me press 'record' because of the presence of its two main stars- Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell. Either of these ladies on their own is good enough reason to see a movie but them together just screamed YES. Miss Blondell is the better remembered of the pair having made nearly fifty movies in the 1930s of just about every type. I have only recently seen her star turns in PUBLIC ENEMY (1931) and GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 so I come late to the party but I'm definitely a fan.

Miss Farrell I've been a fan of since 2001 when I saw a 16mm print of her performance in the title role of SMART BLONDE (1937). This was the first of the Torchy Blane movies and it is fantastic. Farrell went on to play the part in six more films and I have loved every one I've seen. If you're a fan of fast, funny and clever mystery tales centered around wise-cracking reporters you would do well to check the series out.

As for HAVANA WIDOWS its a fast, fun comedy that has our two leads running off to Cuba to try to find a quick buck by luring a wealthy married man into a compromising situation. Quaint to think what could be accomplished with a Breach of Promise lawsuit back in the day, huh? The movie is pretty fun and clocking in only a little over an hour it doesn't wear out its welcome either. The oddest thing is that the onscreen plot description displayed by the cable company appears to have been written by someone who never saw the movie! It mentions a 'man of the clothe' that spoils the girl's attempts to gain their fortune but there isn't any such character in the film at all. Strange!

Oh! And this is a Pre-Code film so the ladies all seem to have never met a bra salesman in their lives! And the dancing outfits the chorus girls wear are more than a bit risqué as well. Va-va-va-voom! 

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