By accident Dagwood discovers a non-flammable paint. Bad guys Dillon and Stack steal it before he can give it to his boss Radcliffe. To show off his invention, Dagwood paints Radcliffe's ...
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By accident Dagwood discovers a non-flammable paint. Bad guys Dillon and Stack steal it before he can give it to his boss Radcliffe. To show off his invention, Dagwood paints Radcliffe's house with it and disgraced when the house burns down. Blondie discovers the culprits and saves the day. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
BLONDIE'S BIG DEAL (Columbia, 1949), directed by Edward Bernds, is actually a big deal for Blondie's ever loving spouse, Dagwood, considering it is he who comes up with a million dollar experiment that becomes more troublesome for him and his family in this latest theatrical chapter of The Bumstead Family film series based on Chic Young's popular "Blondie" comic strip characters.
After 25 movies in eleven years, the Bumsteads are at it again. Hoping to obtain a business contract from Mr. Forsythe (Stanley Andrews) in building a new school, George M. Radcliffe (Jerome Cowan) agrees to have employee Dagwood Bumstead (Arthur Lake) use his country home as a public demonstration to Dagwood's invention of fireproof paint. After Dagwood spends the entire day painting the cottage, the crowd is gathered together the following morning to witness history in the making. Mayor A.K. Ramsey (Chester Clute) starts off the ceremony by lighting the first match. Poof!!! The house, covered with everything flammable, including gasoline, suddenly goes to blazes, leaving the cottage with nothing more than smoking ashes after its hosed down by the firemen standing by. Naturally Dagwood gets fired (no pun intended), without the notion as to what went wrong. It is later discovered that Dagwood's paint cans were switched with regular paint by a couple of crooks, "Slack" (Ray Walker) and Dillon (Wilton Graff), wanting to take the credit for themselves and make a fortune. With the assistance of Alvin Fuddow's (Danny Mummert) younger cousin, Rollo (Alan Dinehart III), another intellectual, the boy arranges for Blondie (Penny Singleton) to obtain enough evidence against these men by working undercover as their secretary. After Rollo succeeds in having Norma Andrews (Colette Lyons), Dillon's secretary, out of the way by sending her a phony telegram saying that she has won a first prize trip, Blondie steps in and is immediately hired to fill in the vacancy with Rollo, acting as both messenger boy and look-out while standing outside the office window waiting for coded instructions. As Blondie gathers enough evidence needed to clear Dagwood's name, she follows Rollo's plan by switching the paint on them, but in doing that, she is caught in the act, causing Rollo to take the wrong cans back to Dagwood, while the crooks leave Blondie bound, gagged and locked in their office as they go to promote the inflammable paint to Mr. Forsythe, much to the dismay of Mr. Radcliffe.
The writers of BLONDIE'S BIG DEAL make every effort in coming out with something ingenious and original, but while this late entry can be amusing at times, with doses of suspense, the situations, in which the Bumsteads have faced before, are actually recycled and rearranged. Anyone who's come this far viewing this series will notice the similarities. However, this is one of those few instances where Blondie and Dagwood have equal status rather than having much of it going to Dagwood. Blondie takes time away from her household chores to save Dagwood from ridicule at the risk of endangering herself. Rather than having their know-it-all neighbor Alvin Fuddow assisting her, as he has done in the past, the role now given to a boy named Rollo, related to and similar to the likes of Alvin, leaving Alvin to be reduced to a brief scene set in a boys gymnasium. Aside from his ability be show off his smartness, he can defend himself as well, as demonstrated earlier in the gymnasium where Rollo is being taught the method of boxing by none other than Dagwood, with Dagwood returning home with a shiner unwittingly acquired by Rollo.
Larry Simms and Marjorie Kent as Alexander and Cookie, the Bumstead children, have little to do with scenes to call their own while Daisy, the Bumstead pooch and their pups resume their traditional animal antics. Others in the cast include Jack Rice as Ollie Merlon, Radcliffe's "Yes" man and Dagwood's office rival still out for his job; Alyn Lockwood as Mary, the switchboard operator; Eddie Acuff in his eighth and final appearance in the series as postman Mr. Beasley; and George Lloyd as the Fire Chief.
With familiar routines galore, including Dagwood knocking down the neighborhood postman in order to catch his morning bus to work, there's another run-on gag used throughout the screenplay where Dagwood names every invention mentionable credited to Alexander Graham Bell, and being wrong every time. It is only when Rollo points his finger towards the telephone does Dagwood finally get it right, much to Blondie's surprise.
No home run, no foul on this one, otherwise a good recommendation for die hard Alan Dinehart III fans. Formerly available on video cassette through King Features, BLONDIE'S BIG DEAL was one of many in the series to have its successful run on American Movie Classics (1996-2001). And the series continues with its next installment being BLONDIE HITS THE JACKPOT (1949) (*1/2)
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