Havana Widows (1933): 3/5
Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell star as spunky stage buddies Mae Knight and Sadie Appleby in this pre-code comedy. Down on their luck financially, the girls fake an illness in Mae’s family to con money out of male friend. The catch is, there is no illness to be found — the girls really use the money to head down to Havana and essentially become gold diggers.
This isn’t the best Blondell flick. She’s was a phenomenal comedic actress, especially during the pre-code era, and she has a whole lot of films that top this one by far.
Blondell and Farrell are a fantastic pair, however, matching each other in terms of both sass and wit.
Neither of them stand out as the star of the show, which is usually not the case in Blondell’s films. She nearly always takes the cake and wins the audience over, stealing many of the scenes. Miraculously, Farrell is able to compete. They work very well together.
The film also boasts quite a few great dance numbers. The opening number is the greatest of them.
With no stand-out plot elements or big laughs going for it, Havana Widows is a pretty typical pre-code comedy. It’s still a fun watch, and a very enjoyable way to spend a little over an hour of your time.