Blondie, a New York tenement dweller, and Lurlene are best friends. When Lurlene makes the cast of a big Broadway show, she arranges for Blondie to join the cast as well. But the friendship...
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Blondie, a New York tenement dweller, and Lurlene are best friends. When Lurlene makes the cast of a big Broadway show, she arranges for Blondie to join the cast as well. But the friendship goes awry when Lurlene's sweetheart, wealthy Larry Belmont, catches Blondie's act and falls for the fair-haired newcomer. Though she is attracted to Larry as well, Blondie spurns his attentions out of loyalty to her friend. But the attraction proves to be stronger than any of them could have imagined. Written by
Dan Navarro <email@example.com>
Though Jimmy Durante is given star billing, he is only seen for a few minutes entertaining at a party. William Randolph Hearst, Davies' paramour and the producer of the film, often trimmed or even cut scenes out of films in which attention was diverted from Ms. Davies. See more »
After Larry and Blondie talk about dogs in China, she runs out and the scene changes to the apartment's patio. There, the shadow of the boom microphone moves onto and off the curtains above the dog in the chair to the left, twice. See more »
Not bad but the weakest link appears to be Miss Davies.
Marion Davies was a very, very unusual actress. Many folks haven't taken her seriously because it has been common knowledge that her lover, William Randolph Hearst, basically bought her a film career. Whether or not she would have become a star without him is a great unknown. However, at least the sorts of movies she made would have been very, very different had he not personally bought her way into Hollywood. In comedies, Marion was great--and her film "Show People" is among the greatest silent comedies ever. However, in the 1930s, Hearst insisted in financing her in dramas--the sort of film where Marion simply was out of her element. While "Blondie of the Follies" isn't a terrible film, the weakest element is probably Marion--because it was not the sort of light comedy at which she excelled. And, in the film's serious moments, she really wasn't up to the task.
The film is, believe it or not, sort of like a cleaned up version of "Showgirls"! It begins with Lurleen (Billie Dove) leaving her working class neighborhood to become a burlesque star--a rather shocking sort of career back in the day. However, he friend Blondie (Davies) remains her friend and idolizes Lurleen. Now this is a weak point in the plot, as throughout the film, Lurleen is a nasty piece of work--and you wonder almost from the beginning how much Blondie will take from Lurleen until she realizes her friend is a jerk. This nasty side of Lurleen rears its ugly head when a rich 'friend'* of Lurleen, Larry (Robert Montgomery), becomes infatuated with Blondie. Lurleen makes it clear that Larry is off limits and like a good friend, Blondie avoids him throughout the film. This is THE major theme of the film. And, when Blondie herself becomes a big burlesque star, she is torn because although beloved and successful, she still is without her Larry. There is plenty more--and you should see the film, since it is enjoyable and pleasant.
The general plot isn't bad and through much of the film, Marion actually carries it off well. However, and this is a serious problem, towards the end, her acting is rather bad. She is SUPPOSED to be a woman who is behaving like she is happy when she is dying inside--but she comes off poorly because of her delivery of her lines. She rushes through the scenes and seemed out of her element. To put it bluntly, she just isn't convincing. These serious moments simply didn't work. Perhaps the director should have re-shot the scenes or given her better direction. Or, perhaps Hearst's meddling is responsible and the director actually didn't have control of the production (a common problem in her later films). All I know is that I cringed in the scenes following Blondie's big accident late in the film.
Regardless of its shortcomings, the film is entertaining and worth seeing. It's just sad that she didn't make more comedies--they were exceptional.
*The morality of "Blondie of the Follies" was very much what you'd find in many Pre-Code films. While it's never explicitly stated, it seems pretty obvious that Lurleen was a paid mistress or high-priced prostitute. So, when Blondie's family is upset with her choosing the stage, this might be a lot of the reason for their reaction.
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