Plot: As she has cracked more than one case of late, reporter Torchy Blane (Glenda Farrell) has gotten a lot of attention and not all of it has been positive. Some of her rival reporters dismiss her success as being based on talent, instead they claim favoritism, since her boyfriend Steve (Barton MacLane) happens to be a detective. Of course, Torchy has proven to have the sharper mind for clues, but her critics refuse to admit it and instead, plan to take her down a notch or two. The wild plot involves a fictional murder case intended to prove that Torchy’s stories are due to her connections not her skills as a reporter. But the elaborate hoax takes an unexpected turn when a criminal uses the fake murder to commit a real one. As if preparing for a potential wedding wasn’t enough, now Torchy has to navigate the traps her rivals have set and in the process, try to solve the actual murder case.
Entertainment Value: This third installment in the Torchy Blane series is still a brisk, fun murder mystery, but it does have a more serious slant at times, despite an odd, even ridiculous premise. The whole murder hoax is outlandish, even by the light rules in the series’ world, especially as it gets deeper and deeper, but once the real murder happens, things get back on track. The mystery is quite good too, with some nice twists and even some unexpected turns, so while I didn’t love the set up involved, the end result is well worth the questionable start. I did like the inspiration for the hoax however, as Torchy’s male rivals stew over her success and refuse to give her the respect she deserves, which prompts the ridiculous narrative. Seeing Torchy one up her doubters is always fun, so that aspect of The Adventurous Blonde more than delivers, especially since Glenda Farrell knows how to make those moments shine. The pace is super brisk and as with the other movies in this series, runs about an hour and makes every minute count, in a lean, efficient approach. I had a lot of fun with this sequel and the mystery itself was a nice step up, I think.
The murder mystery tends to get all the ink in this review, but you can’t discount the romance either, as that supplies the banter between our leads. Torchy and Steve are still in love and on the brink of marriage, but the two have a fun back & forth, which adds a lot to the movie. I’ve said this in other reviews countless times, but I love good banter and these two have it in spades. I appreciate that the romance feels believable and lived in, two longtime partners who know each other so well, but still have that passion and spark. Glenda Farrell would play Torchy seven times and by this third turn, she has the role down quite well. Her previous efforts were good as well, but I think the banter and chemistry Barton MacLane seems to improve a little with each movie, as the two settle into the roles. As frequent readers know, I am not a big fan of romance, but when done right, it works and that is the case here. The cast also includes Anne Nagel, Natalie Moorhead, Tom Kennedy, and William Hopper.