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JAMES CAGNEY AND PARTNER JOAN BLONDELL IN 'BLONDE CRAZY'

Title: BLONDE CRAZY Cast: James Cagney, Joan Blondell Year: 1931 Rating: ****

Something about James Cagney, especially in his youthful early-1930's energetic programmers, and how he brings out the best, and worst, from his leading ladies — as in the best performances and the worst attitudes...

Enter Joan Blondell dealing with Cagney’s conniving Bert Harris, half the fun of this con-game comedy/drama centering on Harris, a suave hotel employee who sees the right girl is hired: and it’s the blonde cutie Joan, as Anne Roberts, who fits the bill since men simply melt at her feet...

Louis Calhern and Noel Francis in BLONDE CRAZY

And here’s where our climbing antihero sees his future mapped out: together this made-in-heaven duo swindle small-time-victim Guy Kibbee until meeting Louis Calhern, a successful big operator (flanked by seedy blonde Noel Francis) danging a tempting-apple with a bigger worm inside...

One scene involving a horse race, which is Cagney's revenge against Calhern, is rather confusing compared to the simpler, more fun and involving con-games earlier on — yet the chemistry between Cagney and Blondell, and the hidden desire for his platonic partner that slowly comes to light, is what makes this CRAZY shine...

Joan Blondell and Ray Milland in BLONDE CRAZY

Eventually a young Ray Milland (almost completely unrecognizable) as Joan’s sophisticated/elegant new gent makes Cagney realize what, or rather, whom his drive’s been centered, and what he'd lost in the process...

And while a tacked-on “crime doesn't pay” ending (actually a kind of Film Noir harbinger) is a letdown, the rest works just fine: Especially a pre-Code bathtub scene with Blondell that’s quite… revealing.

James Cagney in BLONDE CRAZY
James Cagney in BLONDE CRAZY with Joan Blondell
Guy Kibbee in BLONDE CRAZY with Joan Blondell
James Cagney in BLONDE CRAZY with Joan Blondell
BLONDE CRAZY with Joan Blondell
James Cagney in BLONDE CRAZY
James Cagney in BLONDE CRAZY
Bathtub scene from BLONDE CRAZY with Joan Blondell

Polly Walters in BLONDE CRAZY
James Cagney from BLONDE CRAZY

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