Monday 5 November 2007

Blondes at Work (1938) Frank McDonald

Marvin Spencer, proprietor of the Bon Ton department stores, disappears. Luckily for Torchy Blane, ace reporter for the Star, he got into a cab right in front of where she was getting a parking ticket, and she enlists a cop's aid to track him down. She finds him registered in a hotel under a false name, and stabbed to death as well, but she has her leads to follow to investigate his murder. She even leads the cops to the obvious suspect, but she doesn't believe that he's guilty.

Of course her fiance Lt Steve McBride has to investigate too, but his boss, Inspector McTavish, wants to ensure that he doesn't let anything slip to Torchy. This time out they have to do their investigating separately, though of course Torchy finds ways and means to bypass that process every opportunity she gets. What makes this so much fun is that McBride is far from an idiot, yet Torchy gets to trump him at every step and he has to flounder around trying to work out where the leak is.

The early Torchy Blanes seem to be very well written affairs, B movies certainly but ones that speed along with decent plots and witty dialogue. What makes the series really unique is that the late Torchy Blanes seem to have the same going for them too, and there are nine films from first to last. Given that Torchy is very much a hero here, she breaks a lot of ethical boundaries here from breaking into cop cars to scooping jury decisions from the supply closet.

It's hilarious stuff but very dubious indeed, way more dubious than the mock Chinese conversation she has with a laundryman. There aren't too many films I can think of that end with the heroine in jail!

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