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As you may know by now after seeing the first film of the series "Blondie", the films are wholesome and have a pure sense of humor. This second film "Blondie Meets The Boss" is just as funny as the first. If the Blondie films seem to be serious at times, please take it in light-hearted fun. Everything works out. Dagwood wears the apron this time. You might recognize the boy who plays "Alvin Fuddle". He is Danny Mummert. He played Baby Dumpling's pal beginning with the very first film, Blondie (1938), at the age of 4 until the last film, Beware of Blondie (1950), at the age of 16. Danny Mummert did 24 Blondie films in all. Mr. Mummert has not been in a film since 1956, but no doubt is enjoying his life in retirement. As always, the film ends with a happy ending and a smile on your face. Isn't Daisy a hoot? The next film in the series is BLONDIE TAKES A VACATION.
This film is even funnier and more delightful than the first one. Daisy the Dog, Baby Dumpling, and his playmate from next door, Alvin Fuddle, get up to even better hijinks and say even cuter things, and the gags and sight-gags fly thick and fast. Jonathan Hale, who plays Dagwood's boss J. C. Dithers, the head of Dithers Construction Company, is here brought into the story as more of a character in this film, and he will remain that way for the rest of the long series. Dagwood and Blondie are all set to have their first holiday in two years, when the horrid Dithers orders Dagwood to cancel it and stay behind to help him land a contract. Dagwood resigns in protest. When he gets home, Blondie decides to take matters into her own hands, and goes to see Dithers. She ends up doing the job for Dagwood, though it all goes horribly wrong without her knowledge and the situation is only saved inadvertently by Dagwood's congenital idiocy. As usual, Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake are marvellous in their roles, and Larry Simms as Baby Dumpling and Danny Mummert as Alvin are just as astonishing as ever. While Blondie is taking his place in his office, Dagwood is left at home being a house husband and gets bored, so he is persuaded by Alvin's father to go on a fishing trip, where he meets a nightclub singer named Francine Rogers, which will lead to multiple complications and misunderstandings for the rest of the film, with Blondie getting jealous and threatening divorce. The plot is really too complicated to summarize, but each new twist is funnier than the last. Daisy has plenty of occasions to raise her ears in shock and dismay, Baby Dumpling gets lots of opportunities to show that he, aged five, is wiser than his parents, Blondie gets to prove she can do her husband's job better than he can, Dagwood wins a dance context by mistake, and countless mishaps, accidents, misunderstandings, and unfortunate coincidences get to mount up into a mountain a fun. This film is particularly notable for having several top jitterbug dancers of the period do some astonishing dance routines, which are classics of the genre and deserve to be seen by period dance afficionadoes.
BLONDIE MEETS THE BOSS (Columbia, 1939), directed by Frank R. Strayer,
the second installment to the long running domestic comedy series based
on Chic Young's ever popular comic strip, is a misleading title, giving
the indication that this is the first time the title character,
Blondie, has never come across Dagwood's boss, Mr. Dithers, which in
fact, they've already known each other as indicated in its debut film,
BLONDIE (1938). Alternate titles such as "Blondie Meets With the Boss"
or "Office Wife Blondie," might have served its purpose, however, it's
not the title that matters really, but the comedic situations the
Bumsteads get themselves into, in this case what happens when husband
and wife switch jobs (Dagwood the house husband and Blondie the office
wife) for a few days.
The story opens typically at the breakfast table as the Bumsteads, Dagwood (Arthur Lake), Blondie (Penny Singleton) and Baby Dumpling (Larry Simms) prepare themselves and looking forward to their upcoming vacation away from home, followed by Dagwood rushing out the front door to catch his bus to the office and bumping into the neighborhood postman (Irving Bacon). While at the office, everything seems to be going well on his last day before vacation time until Dagwood is told by Mr. Dithers (Jonathan Hale) that he is needed at the office and vacation plans are to be postponed until he settles an important construction deal while in Washington. Because he hasn't had a vacation in two years, Dagwood refuses and resigns. After returning home with the news, Blondie, the helpful wife as she is, leaves Dagwood in apron, broom and the household chores while she goes to the office to speak to Dithers. Dithers agrees to take Bumstead back under the condition that, wanting to teach Dagwood a lesson, has Blondie take her husband's place during his absence. After Dithers informs Dagwood of his plan, the humiliated Dagwood decides to teach Blondie a lesson by leaving the household chores and babysitting under the care of Blondie's visiting sister, "Dot" (Dorothy Moore) and her boyfriend Freddie (Joel Dean), who have arrived in town to stay at the house and practice for the upcoming jitterbug dance contest, and go fishing with his neighbor, Marvin Williams (Don Beddoe). Guilt sets in for Dagwood when Marvin invites Francine Rogers (Linda Winters) and Betty Lou Walters (Inez Courtney), singers of the Garden Club, to accompany them. More complications follow leading to Blondie's accusing Dagwood of infidelity after finding a photograph of him on a boat with Francine, while Dagwood, trying to retrieve Baby Dumpling at the Garden Club from Dot and Freddie, meets up with Francine and spotted there by Blondie, who happens to be there to settle a business deal for Dithers. The highlight of the evening occurs with Dagwood, in a confusing state of mind after getting hit on the head with a purse by Blondie, to accidentally step onto the dance floor of the jitterbug contest, filling in for Freddie, who walked out on Dot, whose unusual style of dancing makes it possible for Dot to win the dance contest. More fun and confusion continue before Mr. Dithers returns with surprising news.
Familiar faces appearing in smaller roles include Eddie Acuff as the peddler; William B. Davidson as the night club patron; Wallis Clark as Henry W. Philpont; George Chandler as the laundry man; Edward Gargan as the Night Club Bouncer; Grady Sutton as the film processor; and Stanley Brown as Dagwood's co-worker, Ollie Shaw, who takes an interest in Blondie more ways than one. "You Had It Coming to You" by Sam Lerner and Ben Oakland is introduced during the night club sequence by Skinney Ennis and his Band performing.
Slow going and predictable at times, mostly during its first half, BLONDIE MEETS THE BOSS is a satisfactory entry with several funny bits to go around, especially by Daisy, the Bumstead pooch, raising her ears at times of astonishment. Aside from the "running gag" involving the poor postman's attempt to deliver the morning mail only to meet up with Bumstead as he rushes out of the house, there's a neat twist of delight for him as Blondie does the exact same thing, only leaving lipstick print on his cheek. He says to Dagwood, "You know, Mr. Bumstead. I like it better this way." Then there's little Alvin Fuddle (Danny Mummert), Baby Dumpling's best friend who lives next door, showing off his intelligence by spelling Mississippi forwards and backwards. He's around during the early portion of the story and is not seen or heard from again, until the next installments, anyway.
Distributed on commercial television in the 1970s with new opening and closing credits from King Features, the original theatrical opening credits has been restored and presented that way when aired on American Movie Classics from 1996 to 2001. Its availability on video and DVD doesn't include the original opening, but is sure to be purchased regardless by fans of the series. Next installment: "Blondie Takes a Vacation." Finally. (**1/2)
Dagwood resigns from the Dithers Construction company when Dithers wants him to postpone his long awaited vacation to close a business deal. Blondie goes to Mr. Dithers to get Dagwood his job back, but he gives her Dagwood's job thinking it would be a good joke to play on Dagwood, who is now taking Blondie's role of housekeeper. Fustrated, Dagwood goes fishing with his neighbor Marvin Williams, who really goes out to escape his nagging wife and meet girls. One of these girls, Francine Rogers, falls for Dagwood, but he darts back for home. The next day Blondie finds a camera belonging to Francine (which has an uncompromising, but innocent photo of Dagwood and Francine) and decides to have the pictures developed, but first has to close a deal with Philpot (a nightclub owner) where Blondie's sister Dot is in a jitterbug contest with Freddie Turner, and Francine works as a singer, who Dagwood has come to explain the loss of her camera. The fireworks fly (literaly). One of the best entries in the series with slapstick galore (Dagwood's jitterbugging, Daisy "dancing", etc.) and overall brilliance from every angle. The script is able to seamlessly combine all the different stories for the various characters and have them come together at the end. Simms has plenty of smart one liners which are said expertly by the four year old. Rating, 10.
I have always been a fan of the Blondie comics, even to this day, but some of the movies have been duds. In this one, however, I found myself laughing uncontrollably at times, with the highlight being Dagwood's (Arthur Lake's) accidentally stumbling into a jitterbug dance contest with Dorothy Moore (playing Blondie's sister). His uncoordinated movements while slipping and trying to regain his balance was masterfully done and simply hilarious. It's easily worth the price of admission for this sequence alone.
This is the second Blondie movie in a series. Dagwood resigns from his job after Mr. Dithers tells him he can't take his vacation yet because of something he wants him to do. Blondie ends up taking her hubby's place while Dag does her household chores. But he then decides to go fishing with a neighbor friend who takes a couple of girls with him. Also, Blondie's sister Dot comes in with a boyfriend who she's trying to enter a jitterbug contest with. I'll stop there and just say most of what happens was quite funny if also a bit silly part of the time. Arthur Lake does some good physical stuff while Penny Singleton does a funny look when she gets jealous. Overall, Blondie Meets the Boss was a funny enough second entry. P.S. If you know the original Blondie comic strip's history, you may be confused by seeing her have a sibling since no such character existed in Chic Young's panels nor was Blondie's maiden surname Miller, it was Boopadoop. Incidentally, this was Dorothy Moore's second and last appearance as Dot. If you're fans of W.C. Fields, you may have been amused by the appearances of George Chandler-a laundryman here-best known as the son in Fatal Glass of Beer and of Grady Sutton-a camera clerk here-who appeared in quite a few of Fields' films, the last being The Bank Dick. Oh, and I'm familiar with bandleader Skinnay Ennis-who sings in the nightclub sequence-from his regular radio spots on Bob Hope's and Abbott & Costello's shows. And one of the story writers was Kay Van Ripper, who was also writing the early Judge Hardy's Family entries at M-G-M.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Actually, Blondie already knew the boss, and here, the boss uses her to
teach her impulsive husband a lesson for quitting in haste after he
informs him that he can't take his planned vacation at the present
time. When she goes into plead for Dagwood to get his job back, Mr.
Dithers hires her instead. This is a variation of the "Mr. Mom" theme
where Dagwood gets tired of being at home, goes on a fishing trip, gets
into some trouble thanks to an innocent picture with a nightclub
singer, and almost causes the company to loose a big deal. Blondie gets
ahold of the picture, jumps to conclusions, but as is always the case
in these sitcom like films, a happy ending is inevitable. It's just the
matter of 72 minutes, or in sitcom time, two episodes.
Once again, Baby Dumpling and Daisy end up being the scene-stealers here with Larry Simms showing the tot next door (the returning Danny Mummert) to watch his back and sharing a dance with Daisy while Blondie's sister and a dancing partner do a rumba. The slapstick quotient is up from the first film, continuing the trend of the wary postman creeping up to the Bumstead's door with caution, only to have all of his mail go flying when he finds that it isn't Dagwood banging into him, but the lovely missus. Blondie proves that she can be a serious businesswoman, even if her emotions get in the way concerning her jealousy while trying to finalize a deal for Mr. Dithers. After a weak start, the series starts to improve a bit, which explains why it would go on for more than another decade.
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