Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Strawberry Blonde(1941).

The Strawberry Blonde(1941). Directed by Raoul Walsh. Cast: James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth, Alan Hale, Sr., Jack Carson and George Tobias. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1941 for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. The film features songs such as "Bill Bailey", "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie," and "The Band Played On".

In this wonderful period film, New York dentist Biff Grimes, remembers past wrongs done to him, after he receives a telephone from Hugo Barnstead, asking him to pull his bad tooth:

Their rivalry begins when both men fall in love with the same woman named, Virginia Brush. Hugo, makes plans to meet Virginia in the park. Virginia, decides it is best to bring her outspoken friend, Amy Lind and Hugo brings his friend, Biff. When they arrive by carriage, Hugo pairs off with Virginia, leaving Biff with Amy.

The following week, Biff dates Virginia, taking her to all the expensive places in town. When he asks her for another date, she turns him down, but.. Biff keeps trying and Virginia finally agrees to meet him in the park. When Biff hears that Virginia and Hugo eloped earlier that day, he is devastated and Amy does her best, to make him feel better.

Eventually, Biff and Amy fall in love and marry. One evening, Virginia invites Biff and Amy to have dinner with her and Hugo. Hugo spends the evening bragging and offers Biff job. Biff accepts his offer, but.. is disappointed when he finds his only job is to sign his name to papers. His place in the firm becomes clear when Biff, is held responsible for Hugo's crimes and Hugo goes free.

Just when Biff does not think things could be any worse, his father, who is working on one of the firms projects, is killed when a building collapses because of the use of inferior materials. Biff, is once again held responsible and is sent to jail.

By the time he is released, he has completed a correspondence school course in dentistry. Meanwhile, Hugo has gone on to a career in politics. Will Biff, get even with Hugo, for all he has done to ruin his life?

Fun Fact:

Even though it is for only a few seconds, we hear Rita Hayworth sing with her own voice. This is believed to be the only time in a film when this happens.

The film has a wonderful turn of the century atmosphere and a wonderful tribute to American culture.

Una O'Connor (October 23, 1880 – February 4, 1959). For many years, she worked in Ireland and England as a stage actress in, The Starlight Express at the Kingsway Theatre in London (1915–1916). She performed in Alfred Hitchcock's, Murder! (1930). She had not attracted much attention until she perform in, Cavalcade (1933).

O'Connor's, best remembered roles are:  The Invisible Man (1933), Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and The Informer (1935).


  1. Thanks for this review, Dawn. It sounds really good. TCM just aired it a couple days ago, so I have it on my DVR...just waiting for time to watch it. (Between the World Series and college football, I've been losing out on the TV alot lately.)

  2. I love that film..Olivia De Havilland is just great in it.. well, the whole cast is..

  3. Patti, my husband is a surveyor and I have been working with him. So, I have had a hard time keeping up with my classic movie watching too.

    Irene, I'm not really a James Cagney fan. But, I have wanted to give him a 2nd chance. I also, wanted to see Olivia De Havilland, in a musical.. and not to forget the amazing, Rita.