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Torchy Blane.. Playing with Dynamite (1939)

Approved | | Action, Comedy, Mystery | 12 August 1939 (USA)
Torchy Blane and Steve McBride try to nab a gangster by tracking his moll.


(as Noel Smith)


(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »


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Certificate: Passed Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Torchy Blane has to solve a blackmail case.

Director: William Beaudine
Stars: Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Tom Kennedy
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Steve promises his captain not to favor Torchy with stories over other papers but becomes frustrated as to how she continues to scoop her rivals.

Director: Frank McDonald
Stars: Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Tom Kennedy
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Torchy conducts a one woman campaign against a corrupt mayor and crime boss, and when the reform candidate is murdered, she takes up the banner.

Director: Ray McCarey
Stars: Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Tom Kennedy
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A notorious counterfeiter passes himself off as a Secret Service agent to Steve and gets him to unwittingly help him bilk the racetrack out of tens of thousands.

Director: William Beaudine
Stars: Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Tom Kennedy
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Torchy, Steve, and Gahagan are on the trail of a bank robber aboard an ocean liner traveling from New York to L.A. via the Panama Canal.

Director: William Clemens
Stars: Lola Lane, Paul Kelly, Tom Kennedy
Fly Away Baby (1937)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Torchy Blane solves a murder and smuggling case during a round-the-world flight.

Director: Frank McDonald
Stars: Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Gordon Oliver
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After rival reporters, jealous of Torchy's success, conspire to fake the murder of an actor in order to embarrass her, he ends up being strangled.

Director: Frank McDonald
Stars: Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Anne Nagel
Smart Blonde (1937)
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Female reporter Torchy Blane teams with her cop boyfriend Lt. Steve McBride to solve the killing of an investor who just bought a popular local nightclub.

Director: Frank McDonald
Stars: Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Wini Shaw
42nd Street (1933)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show and, at the last moment, a chorus girl has to replace the star.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  

On an isolated island, a small group of people are terrorized by giant voracious shrews in the midst of a hurricane.

Director: Ray Kellogg
Stars: James Best, Ingrid Goude, Ken Curtis
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A man escapes from jail in France to free his daughter from her mother's hold.

Director: John S. Robertson
Stars: Richard Dix, Dorothy Wilson, Bruce Cabot
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A boy is miserable when his parents get divorced and can't seem to fit him into their new lives.

Director: John S. Robertson
Stars: Karen Morley, Edward Arnold, Frankie Thomas


Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Cunningham ...
Eddie Marr ...
Denver Eddie
Edgar Dearing ...
Jim Simmons (as Edgar Deering)
Frank Shannon ...
Bruce MacFarlane ...
Judge Hershey
John Ridgely ...
Reporter at the Wrestling Match
Larry Williams ...
Reporter with Pipe
Motorcycle Policeman
Cliff Clark ...
Mike Kelly


While in traffic court, Torchy bumps into Jackie Maguire, girlfriend of the notorious hoodlum Denver Eddie, who is sentenced to jail for shoplifting. Torchy gets herself thrown into jail by turning in false alarms and ultimately befriends Maguire. With police collusion, she escapes to San Francisco taking Maguire with in in hopes of capturing Denver Eddie. Steve and Gahagan follow undercover in hopes of collecting the $5000 reward as a down payment for house for him and Torchy, but not before Steve is spotted and Gahagan ends up in the wrestling ring and gets a chance to settle a score with an old opponent. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! (original ad- all caps)


Action | Comedy | Mystery






Release Date:

12 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead or Alive  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Torchy's real first name is mentioned. It's Helen. See more »


Just after McBride and Gahagan get in to a cab outside the bookstore, there is a close up shot of the license plate which reads "X3075". In the next shot, as the cab pulls up outside a building, the license plate reads "Z8546". See more »


Lt. Steve McBride: Well?
Gahagan: Shhhh! Lamp that copper. He's been talkin' about us.
Lt. Steve McBride: How do yuh know?
Gahagan: He and that guy behind the desk been watchin' me and whisperin'.
Lt. Steve McBride: [Dryly] Well, lots of people do that when they first see you, Gahag.
See more »


Follows The Adventurous Blonde (1937) See more »


The Man I Love
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by George Gershwin
Heard often as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

Alternate leads look good as spunky reporter and police detective fiancé
18 April 2013 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

In court for a traffic ticket, reporter Torchy Blane encounters a shoplifter sentenced to nine months in jail—and later spots said shoplifter in a photo with much sought bank robber Denver Eddie. Torchy loses no time in having herself thrown into jail, befriending the moll, and planning an escape that—she hopes—will lead her to Denver Eddie himself and a great big scoop.

Jane Wyman is a brisk and chipper Torchy Blane, bubbling with self-confidence and bright ideas in this fun final picture in the Torchy Blane series. Wyman also talks fast—though not as fast as Glenda Farrell, who played Torchy in most of the series' previous entries. Wyman's Torchy is perhaps a bit sweeter than Glenda's and not quite as hard-nosed.

Wyman is aided greatly by Allen Jenkins as Lieutenant Steve McBride—annoyed, as always, by his fiancée's superior detecting skills as well as her willingness to poke criticism at his department's failures. Jenkins brings a touch of good humor to the role, at least in comparison with Barton McLane, who was the series' regular Lt. McBride…. It's a sour but not really bitter Stevie who complains that Torchy's latest column makes "a hero out of this Denver Eddie punk after we do everything but go through the public schools looking for him."

Tom Kennedy is as much fun as ever as Gahagan, police chauffeur and assistant. This time around we learn that Gahagan was once wrestling champ of the Navy—and has the belt buckle to prove it. He is, of course, pressed into service in the wrestling ring, billed (reluctantly) as "Harry the Horse" and allowed to show off his moves.

Other highlights include Torchy's crime spree—setting off fire alarms all over town in order to get herself locked up. There's also a wonderful "gritty prison picture" sequence that lasts all of about two minutes, in which Torchy and the shoplifter cross paths, form a bond, and plan their breakout; it's brief, but it sure has all the earmarks of a Warner Brothers crime drama for that one (fun but rather incongruous) scene.

The stars work well together; a decent plot, some fair dialog and a little action all add up to a very enjoyable little comedy-mystery.

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