Thursday 15 November 2007

Torchy Gets Her Man (1938) William Beaudine

After an inexplicably poor entry in the Torchy Blane series which suffered from having almost the entire regular cast missing, everyone thankfully returns for Torchy Gets Her Man. Rather than some exotic adventure involving stuffed leopards and parachuting onto moving boats, we're back on something a lot more down to earth. Torchy has been running stories on Hundred Dollar Bill Bailey, which is a bit of a tired story because he's been doing his thing for 14 years. However the federal secret service reckon he's finally made a mistake and enlist the help of Steve McBride to close in.

Naturally this being a Torchy Blane movie, we know a few things: firstly, nothing is as it seems; secondly, Torchy is hot on the case snooping into everything; and thirdly, Gahagan is the weak link in the chain giving everyone the chance to get one over on everyone else. To avoid him screwing up such a big case, the department puts him on two weeks vacation but of course he ends up in the same place as everyone else: the track, where Hundred Dollar Bill Bailey is working his racket.

It's not too difficult to work out what's really going, but how we get there is managed very nicely indeed. While merely thinking about how artificial Torchy Blane in Panama was makes this one look like Citizen Kane in comparison, it is done pretty well. Torchy has less to do than usual for half the film but she makes up for it whenever she's on screen. The jokes are mostly funny ones and even Gahagan is more enjoyable than annoying. The only weird parts are that Torchy and McBride are working completely separately and there's less actual detective work than you'd expect, merely plot progression.

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