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Mystery & Crime Series 30's & 40's

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Mysto, Apr 10, 2018.

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  1. Mysto

    Mysto Second Unit

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    marv long
    I'm glad I turned you onto them. I suspect one of the reasons I didn't care for them so much is that I have been marathon re-watching all of these to write the summaries. That can make one hyper critical. Never a good idea when watching B movies. They ain't supposed to be art...just fun.

    BTW - do what the Dr. say - we like having you around.:)
     
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  2. Message #442 of 508 Sep 8, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
    Mysto

    Mysto Second Unit

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    Torchy Blane
    [​IMG]
    Glenda Farrell

    Smart Blonde
    Fly-Away Baby
    Adventurous Blonde
    Blondes at Work


    [​IMG]
    Lola Lane

    Torchy Blane in Panama

    [​IMG]
    Glenda Farrell

    Torchy Gets Her Man
    Torchy Blane in Chinatown
    Torchy Runs for Mayor


    [​IMG]
    Jane Wyman

    Torchy Plays with Dynamite

    The last in our list of female crime fighters, Torchy Blane (Glenda Farrell - for most of the movies) is a feisty, hardboiled, sassy, newspaper reporter.

    This series, with its litany of wisecracks, can sometimes be sexist and racially insensitive by today’s standards (welcome to the 1930’s). Some jokes make you laugh, some make you groan, and some make you wince, but they keep coming. These movies define the word peppy. Her boyfriend is Detective Steve McBride (Barton MacLane) and as expected the tug of war on who is smarter, cops or newspaper reporter, ensues. Torchy spends most of her time trying to give information to a deaf eared McBride or begging to eat. McBride spends most of his time telling Torchy that women and reporters have no business in the crime game and trying to keep her away from the scene of the crime. In between they solve murders and sometimes flirt. Additional comedy is provided by Gaahagan (Tom Kennedy) policeman and chauffer to McBride. His approach and poems can be amusing but as his time on screen is dialed up in later episodes sometimes get annoying.

    In the fifth outing,Torchy Blane in Panama, the studio replaced the duo with Lola Lane and Paul Kelly in the lead (why?) but they were not a hit and the execs in charge put everything back as before for three more movies. Ms. Farrell left the studio during 1939 and the series continued for one more outing (Torchy Blane…Playing with Danamite) with Jane Wyman and Allen Jenkins in the lead. Not bad but it just didn’t have the same spark and the series ended.

    Two of our HTF members have written reviews on Torchy for this thread.
    Vic Pardo (Brian) Who didn’t care for the movie.
    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/posts/4613400/
    Rustifer (Russ) Who I think enjoyed them but felt they were better with a beverage or two (but then isn’t everything).
    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/posts/4633098/


    Truth is, I enjoy most of these but only when I am in the mood to disengage my brain. These are not binge worthy in my view but require a little rest between films. The subtlety is closer to Bowery boys than Charlie Chan but these silly wise ass comedy murder mysteries move along briskly thanks to Ms. Farrell and in spite of their warts can be a fun ride.

    The complete Torchy Blane series is available on a Warner Archives release in decent quality. They also appear on TCM from time to time.
     
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  3. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    Have this set and agree with your review completely...these are fun little films, but I can't watch them back-to-back either.
     
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  4. Message #444 of 508 Sep 8, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
    Rustifer

    Rustifer Supporting Actor

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    As I have been criminally negligent in submitting reviews to this thread, one of my few was "Torchy Runs For Mayor" back on page 15--as Marv pointed out in his above post. I hope the Torchy series returns to TCM soon (I am not of the ilk that buys DVDs in bulk, or even singularly for that matter) as I would like to watch the rest of the episodes. Although I always thought Barton MacLane was totally miscast, and that the romance between him and Glenda Farrell was as believable as marshmallow unicorns, the pothole-filled 'plots' just seemed to take smoothly to a cocktail or three on a rainy Saturday. Brainless activity is generally an anticipated event for me.
    So Marv, I'm checking my TCM schedule daily for any upcoming "series" crime/mysteries from the flannel era so I can relentlessly bloviate on something relevant to the thread. It would be a good diversion to occasionally transport my posting plow from 77 SS to here in order to furrow the field a little more often.
     
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  5. Mysto

    Mysto Second Unit

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    If I remember correctly - there are some Saint and Falcon episodes coming on TCM soon...but we have mentioned several series on Youtube and Archive.org if you are so inclined. We always highly anticipate your return to these hallowed halls.

    And cocktails and movies...DUH!:cheers: Why do you think I built a home theater????
    ADDED - Although here in sunny FL we are more inclined to margarita's than martinis.
     
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  6. Rustifer

    Rustifer Supporting Actor

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    I would never turn my nose up to a properly salt-rimmed margarita, especially if I can plop in an anchovy-stuffed olive. A margatini if you will. My doctor would be aghast at the sodium intake.
    Sober doctors tend to be non-creative and humorless.
     
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  7. Message #447 of 508 Sep 12, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
    Mysto

    Mysto Second Unit

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    Barney Callahan – The Roving Reporters
    [​IMG]
    Michael Whalen

    Time Out for Murder
    While New York Sleeps
    Inside Story


    We just finished with a wisecracking, hard nosed reporter;Torchy Blane. How about a male counterpoint. Barney Callahan movies were billed as the Roving Reporters. Another rather obscure series, Time Out for Murder is out there if you hunt for it, While New York Sleeps is on Youtube, and Inside Story is MIA.

    Michael Whalen plays hard driving Barney Callahan ace reporter and crime solver. His photographer sidekick Snapper Doolan is played by Chick Chandler. The female interest is played by Jean Rogers who also played in Charlie Chan in Panama and is probably better known as Dale Arden from Flash Gordon.
    [​IMG]
    This is another of those films where the same actress plays in all three but each time a different character. She is Helen Thomas in Time Out for Murder, Judy King in While New York Sleeps, and June White in Inside Story. If you remember, HTF member Burt Greene pointed out this same oddity occurred in the Inspector Trent series as well.

    Here’s what Harrison’s Reports 1938 had to say about one:

    "While New York Sleeps" with Michael Whalen and Jean Rogers (20//; Century-Fox, Jan. 6; time, 61 min.) A fast-moving program murder mystery melodrama, with comedy and musical interpolations ; it is the second picture in the "Roving Reporter" series. Although the story is not novel, it holds one's attention well, for the story is developed in an interesting way ; and it keeps one in suspense, too, since both the hero and the heroine are in danger, at one time of becoming involved with the criminals. The romance in this instance is given a new twist, for the hero fails to win the heroine :”

    What Harrison doesn’t say is in While New York Sleeps, Barney pulls a joke that makes him look like a first class jerk and doesn’t deserve to get the girl. These reviews are definitely 1938. It warns: “This movie is not suitable for children because of murders.”

    These are B programmers in every sense of the word. Not terrible but nothing special. They do move along briskly and the acting is acceptable. The first film is probably the best of the lot but nothing stands out. I would say worth a look if you generally enjoy B mysteries. While New York Sleeps is available on youtube in poor but watchable quality.
     
  8. Rustifer

    Rustifer Supporting Actor

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    Well, you mentioned earlier you needed to add a little cheesecake to your reviews. You did well on this one, Grasshopper.
     
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  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Even though I wasn't thrilled with the one Perry Mason movie I recorded off TCM and watched, I got a great deal on the Warner Archive DVD set and it came today. I'll probably dive into it over the coming days (depending on how bad Hurricane Florence hits us).
     
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  10. Mysto

    Mysto Second Unit

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    We know all about that hurricane stuff - batten down the hatches - stay safe mate
     
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  11. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Thanks for the encouragement! Fingers crossed! We lived through this exact same thing 29 years ago with Hurricane Hugo, so it's not alien territory for us, but some people being without power for two weeks (I only lost mine for three days; the mayor's 90-year old mother lived on my street and he obviously saw to it that the street got priority treatment) endured a lot of hardship. Temps are still in the 90s in September around here.
     
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  12. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Last night I pulled a homemade DVD-R of Murder on a Honeymoon off the shelf and watched it (I believe it had been shown earlier in the day on TCM which is what gave me the idea to watch it again). Of the three Hildegard Withers films starring Edna Mae Oliver, this was the only one that I guessed the murderer's identity correctly the first time I saw the film. I have never seen any of the others that don't star Oliver, but I'll get around to them one of these days.
     
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  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yeah I saw it was playing on TCM. One day real soon I need to do a Hildegarde Withers marathon with my DVD set.
     
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  14. Mysto

    Mysto Second Unit

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    The other films are decent B movies but nobody could replace Edna Mae. She was one of a kind.
    Hope you keep power. We have a generator but when our power goes out it gets dedicated to silly things like the fridge instead of essentials like the HT. My wife doesn't understand priorities.
     
  15. Rustifer

    Rustifer Supporting Actor

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    Your HT can’t make ice for cocktails...
     
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  16. Mysto

    Mysto Second Unit

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    Tough Choice. Can we cut the baby in half old wise Solomon?:P
     
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  17. Rustifer

    Rustifer Supporting Actor

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    Sure. Buy a bigger generator.
     
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  18. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Part of this is off topic, but the movie was mentioned in this thread so my response is going here along with a follow-up which does belong.

    I watched The Ex-Mrs. Bradford is afternoon. Made in 1936 (the same year as After the Thin Man), it offers William Powell a nice variation on his sleuthing mantra as a doctor dragged into a murder case by his meddling ex-wife (Jean Arthur), a mystery writer. The case was interesting and the solution pretty tricky (I didn't end up guessing the murderer though I did land on the person midway through the film but had switched to someone else before the revelation). Powell is as always a complete professional and always entertaining to watch. Though I'm sure she was meant to be light, frivolous, and giddily delightful, I found Ms. Arthur's character tiresome and irritating and not very lovable (making it hard for me to understand why he'd want to get back with her). If one has never valued Myrna Loy in The Thin Man films (and I ALWAYS have), this film will help you understand what Nora brought to Nick Charles' investigations.

    To remind myself of that, I put in After the Thin Man and watched it. Wonderful mystery, great characters and superb actors playing them. A joy from beginning to end.
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Matt,

    That's my take on "The Ex-Mrs. Bradford" too. I love Jean Arthur, but she was irritating in this film role.
     
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  20. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    Boy, I couldn't agree with you more on this movie, Matt! I like Jean Arthur too (she's delightful in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Only Angels Have Wings, to name but two outright classics) but I found her very irritating here. Of course, William Powell saves the day (and movie) - he's always great. Agreed about After the Thin Man as well...in some ways, almost better than the first movie...almost. The rest of the series remain polished and entertaining, but none are a patch on the first two entries, IMO.

    Hope you weather the storm without any problems. Take care over there! We had a big typhoon hit here in Osaka last week, and those things can be scary.
     
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