Jun 19, 2018

On DVD: Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell in Kansas City Princess (1934)

Throughout decades of movie fandom I’ve seen astonishing sights and transcendent works of art, and yet, if you asked me what I want to see at any given moment, I would probably ask to watch Glenda Farrell and Joan Blondell doing stuff. Whatever production they are in, they never let you down, whether individually or as a team. Pure charisma wins every time. I thought this as I settled down to watch Kansas City Princess (1934), which is now available on DVD from Warner Archive.

This is one of five comedies that Farrell and Blondell headlined together for Warner Bros. In it they follow the familiar plotline of two dames on the make. This time they are manicurists with gold digging ambitions. Blondell loses the diamond engagement ring thrust upon her by a volatile gangster (appropriately named “Dynamite”, played by Robert Armstrong) and so she and Farrell hop a cruise ship to Paris to escape his wrath. They hook up with a millionaire to retroactively fund their trip.

It’s not the best of the Blondell/Farrell pairings; I think that honor goes to Havanna Widows (1933), which was more solidly pre-code, but it’s fun to watch them banter as they slide in and out of trouble. You’ve never any doubt that these ladies could talk any man into anything.

Fans of 1930s Warner Bros. flicks are familiar with the amazing players the studio rotated in and out of productions like a community theater group. Aside from the leads though, the cast is not as typically fantastic here. The exception is Hugh Herbert who is game as the easily manipulated millionaire Junior Ashcroft.

The disc image is essentially clear, though with a fair number of specks. The sound has a bit of crackle and pop, but does the job. There are no special features on the disc.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. This is a Manufacture on Demand (MOD) DVD. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

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