Blondie organizes Housewives of America to perform homefront wartime duties, including guarding the local dam. Dagwood and the other husbands don't care to be left home doing the cooking ... See full summary »
Blondie organizes Housewives of America to perform homefront wartime duties, including guarding the local dam. Dagwood and the other husbands don't care to be left home doing the cooking and taking care of the kids, so Dagwood pretends to join the Army. Blondie disbands the organization and comes home. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
BLONDIE FOR VICTORY (Columbia, 1942), directed by Frank R. Strayer, finds the Bumstead family doing their part in the war effort. In this 12th installment and nearly a year after America's involvement into the war following its historical attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941, this became the first time in the series where even the mention wartime is discussed, placing Blondie and Dagwood in uniform, with amusing results. This is also the entry where Larry Simms officially becomes Alexander Bumstead, by which, according to him, the "Baby Dumpling" name is out.
The time is World War II and Blondie (Penny Singleton) leaves the household chores to her husband, Dagwood (Arthur Lake) while doing her patriotic duty as leader of the American Women's Volunteer Service. With the housewives participating in the war effort (one of them being Dithers' wife, Cora), the husbands are left to tend to the cooking and cleaning at home, causing the men to rebel, electing Dagwood as their leader in hope that he'll lure his wife back to active duty at the home-front so that the others will follow. He does this by borrowing a uniform from a soldier named Herschel Smith (Stuart Erwin), to let Blondie know that he's "enlisted," while Herschel finds himself mistaken for Dagwood while sporting his suit and bow tie. The plan nearly works until the soldiers are called to report to active duty, causing Dagwood to look for Herschel and switch clothes before being taken to go on the battlefield, leading to a merry chase with Dagwood, a tough sergeant (Edward Gargan), and the military police along with a mysterious individual (Charles Wagenheim) believed to be the one to blow up the local water dam.
Another satisfying episode with numerous comic highlights: Mr. Dithers (Jonathan Hale), Dagwood's boss, having trouble with his eyes, refusing to see an optometrist, involved a slight accident while driving with Dagwood with his car found in a sideway position; Dagwood volunteering as a wounded patient for the volunteering housewives, leaving him bandaged from head to toe; Dagwood having Dithers over to the house for dinner and unwittingly switching canned items leading them to eat dog food instead, resulting to boss and employee literally barking at one another; Dagwood's attempt from getting arrested or taken by the MPs while hiding in the pond of cold water with the assistance of Blondie and Dithers; and Dagwood running through the woods into Bert Crump (Irving Bacon), his former postman now retired, continuously knocking him down as he did during Crump's morning mail delivery.
Adding to the supporting players are Majelle White as Baby Cookie; Don Beddoe in his third and final appearance as Marvin Williams; Eddie Acuff and Dewey Robinson as the husbands; Renie Riano as Miss Cabbler, a snoring baby sitter; Thurston Hall as the captain; Danny Mummert returning as Alvin Fuddow who bribes Dagwood after obtaining his diary with things Blondie shouldn't see; and special guest star, Stuart Erwin, as a country boy raised by his mother and sisters, wanting to break away from his female environment by enlisting as an Army private to feel like a soldier in the company of real men. Being true to his word about avoiding females, he refuses to have his picture taken with the most gorgeous movie starlets, including Rita Hayworth.
While BLONDIE FOR VICTORY might have been handled more seriously due to its wartime theme, it remains relatively amusing throughout until Blondie's patriotic speech followed by the entire Bumstead family standing in front of the waving American flag. As much as this entry in typical situation-comedy, battle of the sexes theme, overall it represents true-to-life Americans doing their part for the good of humanity.
BLONDIE FOR VICTORY, along with 27 others in the series, was formerly distributed on video cassette through King Features, and presented on American Movie Classics from 1996 to 2001. Next in the series: IT'S A GREAT LIFE 1943).(**1/2)
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