The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend
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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

As Famous Flops Go, Not Bad

6/10
Author: Eric Chapman (caspar_h@yahoo.com) from Pittsburgh, PA
18 June 2001

Zany, scattered and at times downright demented, it is perhaps not so terribly surprising this was considered such a disaster when it came out that it instantly vaporized Preston Sturges' Hollywood career. I guess this sort of loose, free wheeling parody (and at times it has a Coen Brothers inspired kookiness about it) just wasn't the sort of thing audiences took to in 1949.

That very looseness, that daffy unrehearsed quality can give one the impression that the film is simply not as good as it could've been, but my God it isn't THAT bad. There are sparks of originality throughout and while it may never quite catch fire, this is still Sturges and still superior to a good number of tame, vanilla comedies that came out around this time.

It may not have been the case but it certainly looks like many of the actors were having a ball during filming, particularly Cesar Romero. Watch the one scene where he is quizzing some hayseed local about his sweetheart's (Betty Grable) whereabouts. He can barely keep a straight face and happily lets this character actor steal the scene with a funny, one man "who's on first?" routine. I thought Grable did a fine job as well and showed pretty fair comic timing, though I wonder if Sturges really wanted that other Betty (Hutton) for the role and couldn't get her for some reason. Sturges may have allowed those two freaky brothers (one of whom is played by Sterling Holloway) to take things too far; I'm sure audiences at the time watched their crazed antics with stone faces. In fact, they're not even recognizably human which may have been the point. I'm not sure.

An odd, not terribly satisfying movie, but watchable, never boring and with spurts of that famous snappy Sturges dialogue.

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

yes demented, yes vulgar

7/10
Author: ptb-8 from Australia
16 February 2004

About 55 years ahead of its time and as rude and silly as if it were made today. It does have a very modern feel about it and shows really how staged other 40s films were. Occasionally when loose behavior and honest rudeness was allowed, or got through or whatever, the films looks and sounds like 2006 not 1949. Just like this one. It very funny and like an 80's Zucker Bros western..or as someone else said here, very Coen Bros....anyway, as I was saying, modern, vulgar and silly. Later, in the late 50s similar cartoony western comedies like LI'L ABNER with censorship busting names (eg: Appollonia Von Climax) and characters appeared (Julie Newmar stepping from a rocket clad in almost nothing) and of course all of BLAZING SADDLES in the 70s. We are in that territory, folks.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

lacklustre musical western

6/10
Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom
14 October 2009

When you hear the name Preston Sturges you expect great things, but this isn't one of his best efforts. Yes, for the gentlemen viewer it has Betty Grable in a range of corsets playing a pseudo Annie Oakley, and for the ladies it has Rudy Vallee (admittedly rather past his prime). For comedy value it has the peerless Sterling Holloway, but this isn't his finest hour.

Plotwise there isn't much here. Grable has an on-off relationship with Cesar Romero which sometimes causes her to go off toting a gun. Twice in a row Porter Hall's judge is in the way, and off she goes on the run with her Mexican friend to impersonate a schoolteacher. And that's it.

There's a couple of songs, but Grable and Vallee's musical talents are wasted and the only real pull of this film is the fact it is in Technicolor. Given the number of second-rate features which were at the time this was made, that's no draw. And even Grable misses her target here.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

now is the perfect time to see it!

8/10
Author: alexandre michel liberman (tmwest) from S. Paulo, Brazil
8 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Seeing this film's title might bring to mind all those unfunny western spoofs which used to show up once in a while. But here they hit the bull's eye. This film is great fun from beginning to end. It starts with a young Freddie (Betty Grable) being taught how to shoot by her grandfather. She becomes a dead shot. Next she is singing in a saloon a nice melody "Every Time I Meet You". Problem is, she is carrying a gun with the intention of getting even with her boyfriend Blackie (Cesar Romero) who is betraying her. She shoots the wrong person and has to flee the town. She becomes a school teacher and has the most terrible pair of pupils, the Basserman Boys. Those boys are just as terrible as they are funny. There is a final shootout where at a certain point there is no reason for fighting. I always thought Preston Sturges was ahead of his times, but if you want to have fun with a great comedy, the time is perfect now.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Colorful Farce With Grable Having Some Nutty Fun

7/10
Author: museumofdave from Paradise, California
28 May 2017

I came onto this film as one of a large purchased collection, and after reading a batch of reviews on various film sites didn't expect much from it; there were numerous citings that it was perhaps Grable's worst film, that it wasn't vintage Sturges, that it was loud farce devoid of virtues except for an expert use of full Technicolor.

And color it has, And it is a loud farce. But although it completely lacks the soft focus turn of the century costumer that Grable so often appeared it, and barely gives the viewer time to absorb the nutty humor, Beautiful Blonde, from it's initial scenes with Grandpa Russell Simpson teaching his little curly-haired granddaughter to reduce bottles to smithereens with a careful aim to the last mad gunfight, a loud and vulgar and often screamingly funny parody of dozens of final shoot-outs in hundreds of western hero epics, this film exudes a sense of madness, of a cast nearly out of control in the spirit of farce.

One critic mentions how often Olga San Juan as "Conchita" the dark- skinned servant, is insulted—but failed to remark on her hilarious comebacks, a few surely cut off mid-sentence by censorship concerns. If a careful viewer listens carefully (often hard to do in this raucous unendingly noisy film), there are ample double-entendres as well as the beginnings of a limerick that rhymes with "Nantucket." Surely most alert viewers will fill in the blank. This film demands your attention, and if you do not have the patience for noise and chaos as part of your experience, you may actively dislike it.

Grable seems to be having a great time, especially as the substitute teacher with a golden gun, confronted by a pair of demented youths out of some clueless Beavis-world, one an off-the-wall Sterling Holloway. And the film is certainly worth watching just to see so many familiar character actors taking full advantage of their few lines—whether it's Margaret Hamilton, Hugh Herbert or for a brief moment, Marie Windsor in full-on scarlet feather drag—the film is so short, so fast-paced, that co-star Cesar Romero almost seems insignificant, and seems to be plot window-dressing. Which he is!

Of course this is no Palm Beach Story, that brilliant farce about romance and love and money: nor has it the zany coherence of The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. But it reflects the scattershot, nutty world that Sturges created so often, and seems like his final party before the silence descended--and you are invited.

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She'd get them in the end

5/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
20 March 2013

On its own The Beautiful Blond From Bashful Bend is an OK amusing sort of comedy. Why it has inspired a cult status is beyond me. How often can Porter Hall get shot in the hind quarters and have it still be funny is carrying a joke too far.

Betty Grable raised out on the frontier by her grandfather was taught to be a dead shot at an early age, the better to take care of herself when Gramps played by Russell Simpson is no longer around. She gets real good at it. When she's older and a saloon entertainer she's lost her heart to a no good gambling man played by Cesar Romero.

When she finds Romero dallying with Pati Behrs, she goes hunting for him six gun in hand. Only Betty doesn't check her target and it's the local circuit judge Porter Hall who is getting a little quiet time in one of the upstairs rooms that gets it in the rear. If you were married to Margaret Hamilton you might look for some quiet time also.

Before justice can be served, Betty flees with her sidekick Olga San Juan disguised as a schoolteacher and her Indian maid. But Romero goes after her and all of them get embroiled in a town feud where Betty gets a few time to display her shooting skills. They have to deal with such town folk as Rudy Vallee, El Brendel, Georgia Caine, Emory Parnell, and a pair of oafish juveniles in Sterling Holloway and Dan Jackson.

According to Tom McGee's biography on Betty Grable she was involved in a three way tug of war over the film with director Preston Sturges and studio head Darryl Zanuck. It was not a happy shoot for her though her exuberant performance would not let you think so.

The Beautiful Blond From Bashful Bend is minor league Sturges when you compare it to the hits he cranked out at Paramount like The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels, Hail The Conquering Hero,and Miracle Of Morgan's Creek.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The Lady from Laredo.

5/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
3 September 2013

The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend is directed by Preston Sturges who also produces and co-writes the screenplay with Earl Felton. It stars Betty Grable, Cesar Romero, Rudy Vallee, Olga San Juan, Porter Hall and Hugh Herbert. Music is by Cyril Mockridge and cinematography by Harry Jackson.

When she accidentally shoots a judge in the posterior, sharpshooting dance hall gal Freddie Jones (Grable) escapes the city of Rimpau and ends up in Snake City disguised as a schoolmarm.

In his own words, Preston Sturges would call The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend an unfortunate hodgepodge. Who are we to disagree? From the off nothing sat right for the great writer and director as regards the film, already smarting from the financial disaster that was Unfaithfully Yours, Sturges would end up making a film that wasn't a Sturges movie! Unlike Unfaithfully Yours, which at least received favourable critical notices, The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend was savaged by the critics and lost a fortune at the box office. It signalled the death knell for Sturges' career whilst also becoming the first flop of Grable's starring output at this juncture.

Would the film have had a better reception were it not attached to Preston Sturges? Well it's possible since lesser expectation levels and less attention to the cost of making it would surely have had people view it purely as a Grable starring piece, but quite simply it's just not a good movie, it's uninspiring on the page to begin with, as Sturges' coarse scripting doesn't sit right in the froth, and then the humour falls decidedly flat once the central premise runs out of ideas. Add in some poorly structured characters, such as the moronic Basserman brothers, and the film irritates instead of bringing joy.

Technical attributes do stop it from being an utter waste of time. The Technicolor photography is stunning, the costuming is right out of the top draw, and Grable, who is clearly too good for this sort of stuff, is great value with her effervescence energy and of course those legs! We can also give a modicum of support to the nutty shoot-out that greets the patient amongst us in the finale. Played for scatter shot farce, there is chuckles to be had as Snake City becomes divided and go at it gun for gun. But ultimately these things can't lift the film above the mediocrity that hangs over it during the course of its running time. 5/10

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7 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

So-so lighthearted movie, if you like broad comedy

2/10
Author: lora64 from Canada
9 February 2007

Have seen the movie on video only once and doubt I'd want to see it again. It's just too painfully farcical at times for my liking. As someone says, those freaky brothers are a bit much to see, that's why I wouldn't want to endure the movie again.

Bette Grable is always beautiful, no faulting there.

I rather felt Rudy Vallee got some rough treatment in this movie and didn't have not enough opportunity to shine with his usual suavity as in other films.

Glad I saw it once but that's about it. I really prefer any other Betty G. movies than this one, sorry to say. Most are super.

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This has GOT to be Sturges's worst, Right?

1/10
Author: kijii from United States
4 November 2016

The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend is the last of Preston Sturges's American-made movies. It is also the wackiest of them all. It makes no sense and even the transitions from scene to scene have no flow whatsoever. Let me just post another user's review here and be done with it:

-----------------------------------

Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom 14 October 2009 When you hear the name Preston Sturges you expect great things, but this isn't one of his best efforts. Yes, for the gentlemen viewer it has Betty Grable in a range of corsets playing a pseudo Annie Oakley, and for the ladies it has Rudy Vallee (admittedly rather past his prime). For comedy value it has the peerless Sterling Holloway, but this isn't his finest hour.

------------------------

Plotwise there isn't much here. Grable has an on-off relationship with Cesar Romero which sometimes causes her to go off toting a gun. Twice in a row Porter Hall's judge is in the way, and off she goes on the run with her Mexican friend to impersonate a schoolteacher. And that's it.

There's a couple of songs, but Grable and Vallee's musical talents are wasted and the only real pull of this film is the fact it is in Technicolor. Given the number of second-rate features which were at the time this was made, that's no draw. And even Grable misses her target here.

Wait, there is one thing that was sort of funny: Grable's (and sometimes Romero's) girlfriend in the movie is a girl named Conchita (Olga San Juan) who—due to her dark complexion—plays a Mexican who is often mistaken as an American Indian. She didn't seem to mind which ethnic group people mistook her for, she would just go along with it: She was willing to wear a feather in her hair or argue with Romero in Spanish— whatever.....(this is the sort of slap-stick barnyard humor so prevalent in this movie)

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Achilles had its heel, Pandora had her box, Sherlock Holmes had his Moriarty....

4/10
Author: mark.waltz from United States
29 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

and Betty Grable had "The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend".

While it is extremely difficult to dislike anything Betty Grable ever did, this film really cracks that rule. Every star has an embarrassing moment, and so does every director. In that case, here it is Preston Sturges who spoofs westerns with a crudeness that is sometimes nose-wrinkling as you try to figure out why they even thought this had a chance of being considered entertainment. It is obvious that someone was influenced by the Broadway success of "Annie, Get Your Gun!" (just imagine Grable in that role!), but that at least had good taste, an excellent Irving Berlin score, and stars like Merman and Betty Hutton to help vanish away the corn. What this film ranks is simply insulting.

An elderly man is seen teaching a five year old girl how to shoot a gun after one of the weakest opening credits songs, certainly the first here (and followed by such gem title songs as the credits of "The First Traveling Saleslady" and "Oh, Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet...") . You get the picture. This isn't Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, or Molly Brown. This is an ill-tempered spitfire who grabs a gun first, shoots second, and apologizes third. In three of the cases of her temperament, a hissing judge (Porter Hall) ends up on the receiving end of her sharp-shooting. The first sequence has Hall (as a character named Alfalfa) being chastised by his nagging wife Elvira (Margaret Hamilton) for being caught in a lady's boudoir. After shooting the judge in the derrière (twice), Grable escapes to the middle of nowhere, and like Mae West in "My Little Chickadee", ends up teaching school. She deals with two over-aged class bullies (one played by Sterling Holloway) by shooting ink bottles off their heads in order to keep them in line. Her old lover (Cesar Romero) shows up to find her interested in prominent townsperson Rudy Vallee and of course, another rumpus is forthcoming.

Grable only sings very briefly in this comedy misfire which takes satire too far and turns the country folk of this town into idiots who begin shoot-outs of their own when Holloway and his twin are believed to be killed. Such familiar character players as Hugh Herbert (as a near-sighted doctor), Al Bridge and the annoying El Brendel turn up, although something tells me they (like the others) wished they had turned it down. Olga San Juan suffers racial slurs as the half Mexican/half Native American companion of Grable's. The only really funny sequence are some gags during the final shoot-out (straight out of a 60's sitcom) and the brief exchange between Hamilton and Hall at the beginning. Fortunately short, this film is an albatross in the career of one of our most delightful musical comedy stars who probably knew better the next time to read the script before she consented to appear in her next projects.

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