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Monday, January 10, 2022

A Would-Be Precode "Bat"

 


Miss Pinkerton (1933) Is Blondell as Lead Sleuth


Old house mystery gets near horrific preserve of Doctor X, utilizing sets, if not two-colors, of that also 1932 Warners release. Joan Blondell issues screams (are they really hers?) to make Fay Wray's sound like bird calling, and there's enough skulking figures to put Cat and The Canary in the shade. So for all this, shouldn't Miss Pinkerton play better? Unfortunately, it's a precode that misses --- they can't all burn off the roof --- but for 66 minutes it lasts, Miss P gets by as half-heart reprise of The Bat, and by the same author, Mary Roberts Rinehart. Starring Joan Blondell may be a best current reason to watch, this an occasion (there weren't so many) when she was the clear lead and men for once (in this case, George Brent), had to be her sidekick. Precode aspects are muted; the thing could have been done verbatim three years later without losing anything other than JB shucking her nurse's uniform for bed in an opening reel. In fact, the yarn was remade as The Nurse's Secret in 1941, with Lee Patrick in the Blondell part, this one coming near the end of a WB row of nurse-solves-murder B's.

7 Comments:

Blogger Dave K said...

Have seen both MISS PINKERTON and the remake THE NURSE'S SECRET recently. Each painless fun and, yes, the respective and underrated leading ladies are 99% of the reason to tune in. I'd sit through movies a lot worse just to see Lee Patrick play a lead.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Filmfanman said...

I enjoyed this; its brevity makes up for any shortfalls - it just doesn't outstay its welcome.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Your top photo is cool. I bought an authorized replica of Bela Lugosi's DRACULA cloak.

It was irresistible. https://www.monstersinmotion.com/cart/dracula-and-vampires-c-8_206/dracula-1931-bela-lugosi-cape-prop-replica-p-27584.html

8:22 AM  
Blogger aldi said...

Joan had another starrer the following year on the other side of the law in Blondie Johnson playing a crime boss. Neither of these are particularly good but I'm a sucker for Blondell and I'll watch her in anything.

2:38 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Dan Mercer has words of appreciation for Joan Blondell:


What is especially remarkable is that “Miss Pinkerton” was one of nine films released in 1932 that Joan Blondell appeared in. The others included Mervyn LeRoy’s “Three on a Match,” Howard Hawks’ “The Crowd Roars,” such examples of hard-boiled Warner Brothers movie making as “Union Depot” and “Central Park,” and a loan-out to Paramount, “Make Me a Star.” She had been in ten films the year before. She would be in eight films the year after. It suggests what a factory Warner Brothers was, with 56 feature films made in 1931, 52 in 1932, and 50 in 1933. Sets were constantly being created or redressed, screenplays churned out, casts and technical personnel assembled, and costumes prepared, with everything coming together in an early version of “just in time” production and then out the door as quickly as possible to meet contract quotas already signed for well in advance by the theaters. An actress like Blondell had to master a screenplay with scarcely any time for preparation, imbue her character with such nuances as she could, and be ready for the camera almost immediately. And yet she is awfully good in these often quick and nasty pictures, with that sweet and saucy personality of hers, big eyes, and voluptuous figure. She had to be herself because wasn’t time to be anyone else. That is what made a star then, someone the public knew and loved. Certainly, they would have the opportunity to see Blondell often enough because if the Warner Brothers didn’t love her as much, they knew how to make her available to those who did.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Mike Cline said...

My father-in-law had dinner at Blondell's home during WW2. Chester Morris was also there.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

That's my idea of a good dinner!

4:07 PM  

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