Watching 1939: Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film:  Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)

Release date:  Nov. 8, 1939

Cast:  Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake, Larry Simms, Jonathan Hale, Danny Mummert, Daisy the Dog, Peggy Ann Garner, Robert Middlemass, Olin Howland, Fay Helm, Roy Gordon, Grace Stafford, Helen Jerome Eddy, Irving Bacon, Bruce Bennett (uncredited), Willie Best (uncredited), Robert Sterling (uncredited), Ian Wolfe (uncredited)

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Director:  Frank R. Strayer

Plot:
A traveling salesman (Howland) convinces Blondie (Singleton) that Baby Dumpling is a genius after he takes a test. Blondie and Dagwood (Lake) immediately enroll him in school. Meanwhile, at the office, Dagwood flubs a deal when he changes the architecture of an apartment building his company is designing.

1939 Notes:
• The fourth Blondie film of the 28 film series from 1938 to 1950.
• One of two films Peggy Ann Garner made in 1939. The other was “In Name Only.” It was Garner’s third film.
• Three Blondie films were released in 1939.

My review: Searching for the “1939 feature”:
“Blondie Brings Up Baby” is the last of three Blondie films released in 1939. But these three were just a drop in the bucket of the 28 films made based on the Blondie comic strips.

In “Blondie Brings Up Baby,” the plot seems that it would revolve around Baby Dumpling being declared a genius, but the plot shifts to losing Daisy while Baby Dumpling is at school and the genius plot is lost. A smattering also focuses on Dagwood losing his job.

Dagwood’s boss Mr. Ditfor hers always gets mad at Dagwood because he’s not very smart. But let’s face it, Mr. Dithers should take responsibility for hiring such a knucklehead.

The plot and comedy are no different than the other films in the series, however, this film has a special appearance from an actor – future star Peggy Ann Garner.

Just in her third film, Garner plays a little girl who is wheelchairbound after an illness. She is given Daisy the Dog and then she and Baby Dumpling play together. Rather than being goofy, Garner’s scenes were rather sweet because then she walks again.

I think “Blondie Brings Up Baby” may be a little better than others because it’s more focused on the children rather than the adults. Outside of the storyline, Peggy Ann Garner is the bright spot of this short film, even though the film is short.

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Classic film in music videos: Good Boys by Blondie

Norma Shearer and Lon Chaney

This is February’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s classic film references in music videos.

Blondie, rock star of the 1980s, released an album in 2003 called “The Curse of Blondie.” This album included a new wave pop song “Good Boys.”

The music video is in black and white and modeled after a silent film and is very similar to the Lon Chaney movie “He Who Gets Slapped” (1924).

In the music video one clown, dressed in white, is in love with a beautiful circus performer. She laughs at his love and keeps company with a mean clown who wears black. At the end of the video, the white clown gets killed by a tiger.

This is similar to “He Who Gets Laughed” because Lon Chaney is in love with Norma Shearer, who also laughs at his love. She is in love with horseback rider John Gilbert, but is determined to marry an evil rich man. In the end, Lon Chaney dies from a tiger attack like in the video and it is caused by the rich baron.

What do you think?

Check back in March for the next classic film reference in music videos.

February’s beauty tip is also coming soon!

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