Mr. Dithers has a house he can't unload because it is rumored to be haunted. When he lets the Bumsteads move into it, they discover sliding panels and secret passages. The haunting is the ... See full summary »
Dagwood decides to go to college. Blondie goes along with him, keeping their marriage a secret. They send Baby Dumpling off to military school where he becomes top sergeant. Blondie is ... See full summary »
Dagwood wants to join the trout club and Blondie wants a fur coat. Jealousy reigns when Dag's old girlfriend Joan shows up, but nothing else matters when a drawing at the movie theatre provides money for the coat.
Mr. Dithers has a house he can't unload because it is rumored to be haunted. When he lets the Bumsteads move into it, they discover sliding panels and secret passages. The haunting is the work of the butler and his wife who figure the house rightfully belongs to them. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** BLONDIE HAS SERVANT TROUBLE (Columbia, 1940), directed by Frank R. Strayer, the sixth entry to the popular film series based on Chic Young's comic strip, features a typical setting of any film comedy series: a haunted house theme.
Blondie (Penny Singleton) is tired of doing all the household chores and wants husband Dagwood (Arthur Lake) to ask his boss Mr. Dithers (Jonathan Hale) for a $10 raise in order to hire one. But Dithers has other plans in order for Dagwood to earn that extra bonus. As a favor to him, Dithers has Dagwood and Blondie spend the weekend in a supposedly haunted house in order to prove to one of his client-buyers that the supposed haunting is just a false rumor. While at the home, which is miles away from the nearest town, the Bumsteads first encounter a Negro named Horatio (Ray Turner) who is staying at the house in order to get initiated into a club. During the gloomy rainy evening the doorbell rings. There stands are Eric and Hannah Vaughn (Arthur Hohl and Esther Dale), a middle-aged couple whom the Bumsteads believe to be the servants hired by Mr. Dithers, but while the Bumsteads don't notice anything strange about the couple, especially their would-be butler, their youngster, Baby Dumpling (Larry Simms) does, especially when the couple come into the house out of the rain with their clothing still dry. Aside from the creepy Vaughn's and added sound effects of rain and thunder, the Bumsteads encounter secret panels, strange noises and a shriek from Horatio who suddenly disappears without a trace. More mystery ensues after Dagwood finds a newspaper clipping regarding Eric Vaughan. Then when they decide to telephone for help, the lines are suddenly cut, which adds to the suspense in this comedy-thriller.
Adding mystery to comedy, the movie includes highlights such as clothing in the closet mysteriously disappearing and reappearing again; Dagwood constantly getting a flashlight stuck in his mouth and Blondie slapping him on his back to get it out, only to find Dagwood demonstrating how he got the flashlight stuck in his mouth in the first place and have it stuck there again; and the Bumstead dog, Daisy, adding shivers in a frightful performance from this little scene stealing pooch.
In the supporting cast in smaller roles are Danny Mummert as Alvin Fuddow, the Bumstead's boy genius next door neighbor; Fay Helm as Mrs. Fuddow; and Irving Bacon as the neighborhood postman who not only gets run over by Dagwood, as in the previous entries, but here by the entire family as they rush out of the house where they are staying.
BLONDIE HAS SERVANT TROUBLE has its share of chills and thrills, temporarily breaking away from its usual domestic problems at home and at the office. Arthur Hohl give a glassy-eyed and moody performance that would have made Bela Lugosi proud. This surely ranks one of the most watchable movies in the series, especially during Halloween. The movie was not only distributes on video cassette as part of the "Blondie" collection, but has been presented on American Movie Classics from 1996 to 2001. Have a howl of a good time with this one. (**1/2)
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