Reviewin’ the Box: Blondie Vol. 2

Last year, I reviewed the Blondie Vol. 1 box set from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. Today, I’m back with a review of the second volume, which I purchased at the same time but completely forgot to watch… for an entire year. I’m a terrible blogger!

(Image via Amazon)

(Image via Amazon)

Beginning with Blondie in 1938, this series would run for a total of 28 films. These films were based on a popular comic strip created by Chic Young, which is still published today, though it is now written by Chic Young’s son, Dean.

Available from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment are two DVD sets which together include the first 10 films of the series. They sell for only $3.00 each and can be found at Echo Bridge’s web store. A set that contains the first ten Blondie films all together is also available for just $5.00, and a set containing the ten films PLUS a collection of 40 cartoons is available for $8.00.

Since the Vol. 2 set is on par with the quality of Vol. 1, this post won’t include the usual “Reviewin’ the Box” criteria (which judges the packaging, DVD quality and special features). Instead, I’ll just be providing brief reviews of each film included in the set.

The Cast

Penny Singleton as Blondie Bumstead
Arthur Lake as Dagwood Bumstead
Larry Simms as Baby Dumpling
Gene Lockhart as C.P. Hazlip
Ann Doran as Elsie Hazlip
Jonathan Hale as J.C. Dithers
and Daisy the pup as himself

The Films

(Image via tmdb)

(Image via tmdb)

Blondie Has Servant Trouble (1940) – Blondie’s feeling overwhelmed by the work of keeping up the Bumstead house, so she insists that she and Dagwood should hire a maid. Dagwood asks for a raise in hopes to pay for the extra help. Rather than offering the raise, Mr. Dithers offers the Bumsteads a two-week stay at his country home, which is equipped with servants. When they arrive, the Bumsteads get the surprise of their lives: the place seems to be haunted! As usual with these Blondie films, we start out with a little spoiler scene: the Bumsteads arriving at their new, haunted home. This made me immediately excited to watch the film. I love haunted house stories! It lives up to its promise of spooky fun for the most part. There is, sadly, one of those wide-eyed, easily spooked and stereotyped black characters, portrayed by Ray Turner – a distressingly common occurrence in ‘40s mystery-comedies. But otherwise, it’s a good installment in the series, a break from the usual domestic problems faced by Blondie and her husband. Major cute puppy bonus for this one, too. Daisy is more adorable than ever in the scaredy-pup role.

Blondie Plays Cupid (1940) – Glenn Ford guest stars in this seventh installment in the Blondie series, which has the mishap-prone Dagwood attempting to help a young couple elope. Naturally, he causes a whole lot of trouble in the process. This installment in the series doesn’t quite make the most of its guest star. The bumbling beginning goes through a wet paint gag, a big argument about firecrackers, and a wrong-train debacle before finally getting to the eloping-couple plot. Glenn Ford doesn’t really enter the film until it’s more than half over! On the bright side, there’s another cute puppy bonus to be had here. A lot of screen time is devoted to Daisy and other pups. Early on, a whole pack of dogs chase Blondie around the house!

(Image via Flickr)

(Image via Flickr)

Blondie Goes Latin (1941) – With a title like Blondie Goes Latin I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this one. The potential was there for it to go terribly wrong. Luckily, it’s your standard, light Blondie installment – a tale of a trip south of the border with Mr. Dithers, wherein silly ol’ Dagwood must disguise himself as a member of the ship’s orchestra after he nearly misses the boat. Fun musical numbers keep the boat afloat in this slightly-more-dramatic (but still quite funny) eighth film in the series. Guest starring Ruth Terry and Tito Guizar, with music and lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest.

Blondie in Society (1941) – Dagwood finds himself in trouble at home when he loans $50 to a pal, promises to get the money back, and instead returns to the Bumstead home with a Great Dane in tow! He promises the dog can help make the money back by winning dog shows… but Blondie is none too happy when the pup begins eating whole pots of stew in one sitting. This installment contains one of the more creative takes on the running mailman joke that happens at the beginning of each Blondie film: The mailman hides from Dagwood in a tree, only to fall from the branch and have his mail spilled from a greater height than usual. Penny Singleton has several funny lines as well. (“We can win a whole set of dishes at the movies and that only costs a quarter!”) Light and enjoyable, as many of the Blondie films are, obviously with a major puppy bonus.

Blondie Goes to College (1942) – Blondie and Dagwood start a new adventure by going back to college. While on campus, they pretend they’re not married, which of course leads to a bit of trouble. (Does anything ever avoid trouble for this pair?) The star athlete of the school turns out to have an eye for Blondie, and Dagwood’s got an admirer of his own, too. This episode is quite delightful. It’s a lot of fun to see Blondie and Dagwood in such a different environment, back in school rather than running a home and raising a child. The guest stars all do a great job of bringing the lively college environment to life, and there are plenty of laughs to be had throughout the film.

 

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