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The Strawberry Blonde (1941)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  22 February 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,954 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 14 critic

Quick-tempered but likable Biff grimes falls big for beautiful Virginia Brush, but he's not the only young man in the neighborhood who's smitten.



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Strawberry Blonde (1941)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Amy Lind
Virginia Brush
Old Man Grimes
Hugo Barnstead
Nicholas Pappalas
Mrs. Mulcahey
Lucile Fairbanks ...
Harold's Girl Friend
Edward McNamara ...
Big Joe
Helen Lynd ...
Herbert Heywood ...


Biff Grimes is pugnacious but likable young man during the Gay 90's living with his ne'er-do-well father, noted for their scrappy personalities and quick tempers. Like every other young man in town, Biff has a crush on gorgeous and flirtatious 'strawberry blonde' Virginia Brush, who gets catcalls every time she walks past the all-male clientèle of the neighborhood barber shop. Biff is joined in his admiration by his friends, Nick Pappalis, an immigrant Greek barber, and Hugo Barnsfeld, an unscrupulously ambitious young man who doesn't let anything stand in the way of what he wants, including Virginia. Utilizing both fair means and foul Hugo sweeps Vrginia off her feet and frames Biff as the fall guy in a political graft schemee. However, every dog has his day, and eight years later Biff stands poised to take his revenge. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 February 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Uma Loira com Açúcar  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Lux Radio Theatre produced a version of "One Sunday Afternoon" on August 24, 1936 on CBS with Jack Oakie as Biff. See more »


The skins of the bananas that Biff eats, disappear from under the bench when he and Virginia stand up. See more »


Amy Lind: There's something about the country air.
Biff Grimes: Hm?
Amy Lind: I said, there's something about the country air.
Biff Grimes: I like city air.
Amy Lind: Well... there really isn't any difference between city air and country air. They're both hydrogen, and oxygen, and -...
Biff Grimes: Air! You can't even see it, so why talk about it?
See more »


Featured in Rita (2003) See more »


Let the Rest of the World Go By
(1919) (uncredited)
Music by Ernest Ball
Lyrics by J. Keirn Brennan
See more »

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User Reviews

"… and the band played on"
25 October 2010 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

During the golden age of Hollywood, a lot of pictures, especially the romances and musicals, took us back to another golden era – the final years of the 19th century. Not only was this the time in which many of the old guard were in their youth, it happens to be a good era for nostalgia in general. An innocent age before either world war and before the motor car had made the horse obsolete, a world perhaps best summed up by the sweet yet earthy character of its music.

The Strawberry Blonde is itself a picture about nostalgia, albeit tinged with regret, as a man goes into a reverie about the friend and the would-be lover who wronged him years earlier. It is no surprise that the screenplay is by the Epstein brothers, Julius and Philip, whose best-known work Casablanca, a story with a very similar mix of regret and fondness for the past. However, with the flashback making up the bulk of its runtime, The Strawberry Blonde is by far the more indulgent of the two. Casablanca lives in the present while The Strawberry Blonde dreams of the past.

The director here is Raoul Walsh, who according to the blurb on the back of numerous DVDs was an "action master". A more extensive look at his pictures though reveals him to be a bit of a romantic, with a real feeling for the warmth and intensity of human relationships. Whereas Warner's top director Michael Curtiz always emphasised sets and props, all but burying the actors, Walsh does the complete opposite. Take the scene in the bar where Alan Hale is drinking at the start of the flashback – each shot is made almost entirely of people, with folks lining the edge of the frame. It gives it a real cosy effect. Walsh also places us right inside the emotions of a scene by having actors facing the camera. When James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland are reunited towards the end, the opposing shots of them are not at forty-five degree angles to the lens as convention would dictate. Instead they are virtually looking straight out at the audience.

And this is a cast worth focusing on. None of the four principle players – Cagney, de Havilland, Rita Hayworth and Jack Carson – are at their very best, but what's important is that they all seem to be enjoying their roles. Despite being in his 40s at the time, Cagney gives an exuberant portrayal of the younger Biff Grimes, and there is something almost childish in the way he sneers and fidgets his way through his first meeting with de Havilland. De Havilland herself has great fun playing an assertive free-thinker, and while very much against her type she is brilliant at bringing out that saucy flirtatiousness in her character. It's also nice to see Alan Hale playing a more sympathetic variation on his usual reprobate act, far more satisfying than the slightly villainous roles which for reasons I can't fathom he often ended up in. There's also a brief but memorable appearance by the great Una O'Connor.

The Strawberry Blonde is by its very nature a movie with a lot of poignancy in it, balanced nicely with its tone of gentle comedy. The only real trouble is that some of the more tender moments are blunted by the punchy pace typical of Warner Brothers pictures, with a few scenes and shots not played out quite as long as they could have been. Still, the picture recovers much of its impact because its emotions are grounded in its atmosphere and its music. While not really a Musical, it is certainly a musical picture with a small "m". Diagetic music (real music in the film's world, as opposed to a background score) plays a major part not just in the story but in the construction of a scene – the strains of a band seeming to regulate or underscore every moment. Even what little non-diagetic music there is seems to dovetail from one of the familiar songs. And in the end, it is that magnificent waltz from which the title is derived that has the final word.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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