Blonde Crazy

James Cagney and Joan Blondell sizzle as they work as a con-artist duo robbing hotel guests where they work, in this new 2K restoration of Blonde Crazy. Part of the Belfast International Arts Festival’s 60th anniversary.

When a cheeky bellhop (a young James Cagney, the same year as he made his blistering appearance in The Public Enemy) meets a dishy blonde (the effervescent Joan Blondell) and gets her installed in his hotel as a chambermaid through nefarious means, the pair set a criminal scheme into motion. Here’s the grift: they entrap and blackmail married men who are caught up to no good. The problem is that they’re wide open to being conned by a bigger fish, and Louis Calhern is precisely that fish.

Released under the title ‘Larceny Lane’ in Great Britain, Cagney and Blondell’s fiery and frank chemistry is only made sexier by the uncertainty of their loyalty to each other, both criminally and romantically. Although initially there appears to be a more respectable suitor in the mix (no less than Ray Milland), he, too, shows a penchant for the felonious. In spite of a rather unexpectedly sweet conclusion, it’s pretty obvious no one who made this movie was interested in ‘respectability’….whatever that word’s supposed to mean.

This film is part of Pre-Code Hollywood: Rules Are Made to be Broken, a strand of Cinema Rediscovered curated by film writers and critics Pamela Hutchinson and Christina Newland. Pre-Code Hollywood presents some of Hollywood’s most risqué films made before the 1930s Hays code was enforced.