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Torchy Blane, the Adventurous Blonde

Torchy Blane, the Adventurous Blonde(1937)


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The Adventurous Blonde (1937) was the third of seven Torchy Blane films co-starring Glenda Farrell and Barton MacLane. Described by a reviewer as "even funnier and more exciting than its two predecessors in the series, Smart Blonde (1937) and Fly Away, Baby (1937)," The Adventurous Blonde is a tale of revenge that backfires. With Torchy (Farrell) now engaged to marry Lt. Steve MacBride (MacLane), a group of male reporters, miffed that Torchy always gets a scoop on a story ahead of them, create a fake story about a murder, hire an actor (Leyland Hodgson) to play the corpse and trick her into investigating. When the fake murder turns out to be real, Torchy turns the tables on the reporters by scooping them yet again. In the cast were Anne Nagel, Virginia Brissac, William Hopper, Natalie Moorhead and Carole Landis in an uncredited role of a drugstore clerk. Tom Kennedy was back reprising his role of MacBride's assistant, Gahagan.

As with all of the Torchy Blane films, The Adventurous Blonde was a quick shoot, going into production with director Frank McDonald at the helm and a script by Robertson White and David Diamond on June 25, 1937. It wrapped a little over a month later, on August 1st. The film previewed at the Warner Theater in Huntington Park, California in November 1937, with a reporter from The Herald writing that the audience hadn't come to see the film, but a bathing beauty contest that was being staged at the theater. "We don't know if the audience had seen any of the previous numbers in the Torchy series, but it gave evidence by its attention to the film and applause upon its finale that The Adventurous Blonde amused it."

Series director Frank McDonald later recalled that it was he who insisted that Glenda Farrell be given the role of Torchy Blane. "Nobody could spout lines at a faster clip than Glenda. In fact, she still holds the world's record." Farrell is reported to have reeled off a four hundred word speech in only forty seconds in Torchy Gets Her Man (1938). McDonald was careful to surround Farrell with other talent like Barton MacLane, who "was always well up in his lines and he could speed through an otherwise boring continuity scene like an express train." Lt. Steve "Stevie-Weevie" McBride was a rare "good guy" role for MacLane, who usually played the heavy in a career that included over 150 films. So identified was MacLane with these kinds of roles that for a time, kids used "Don't give me that Barton MacLane" to mean that someone in authority was getting tough with them.

Although the Torchy Blane films were a "B" series, Glenda Farrell appreciated the role because, as she once said, it gave her "a chance to break a Hollywood stereotype. Until Torchy arrived on the scene, women reporters were portrayed as either sour old maids, masculine-looking feminists or twittery young girls." Farrell was proud to have created a character that was "bright, attractive, intelligent, daring and single-minded, able to hold her own. Sure, she loved McBride, but she had her own career and wasn't about to settle for keeping house and raising kids while he brought home the bacon. By making Torchy true to life, I tried to create a character practically unique in movies."

By Lorraine LoBianco

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"Torchy Blane - Manos Feature" Greenburg Daily Tribune 17 Nov 37 The Adventurous Blonde (1937)

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