Plot: Torchy Blane (Glenda Farrell) has landed scoop after scoop, to the point that her boyfriend Steve (Barton MacLane) is feeling the heat. As he is a homicide detective, his fellow officers feel like perhaps he is giving Torchy inside information, so he is ordered to cease all communications with her when it comes to cases. Of course, Torchy isn’t pleased to learn about this, but she just needs the basics of the cases, then she can solve the mysteries herself. As the police circle the wagons to keep the press out, Torchy is able to break a murder case and scoop even the authorities, which causes some public relations blowback. She seems to always be a step ahead, but can she solve the murder and make sure justice is served?
Entertainment Value: Blondes at Work is the fourth volume of Torchy Blane and while it builds on the developments of the previous movies, this movie takes a much more character driven slant. The mysteries have been a secondary element to this point, but here the focus shifts nearly entirely to the characters, especially how Torchy uses her skills to crack cases. This means the murder mystery is rather shallow, though some time is taken to build some suspense and false leads, just don’t expect a rich, layered mystery from this one. I don’t mind that however, as the characters were the driving force of the series to this point, with the mysteries as an added attraction, so the enhanced focus on character development is a positive, at least to me. In truth, I found this to be the best movie of the run so far, as it plays to the formula’s strengths, though again, mystery fans might be let down on how that is handled here. But Torchy is so fun to watch here and the dialogue is super sharp, allowing the light development to take root and really pay off in interesting ways. Blondes at Work continues the trend of brisk pace in the series as well, while also keeping the run time around an hour, so there’s little filler or wasted time in this one. I had a great time with Blondes at Work, so I can easily give this movie a strong recommendation.
This sequel brings back several of the main cast members, including Tom Kennedy, the lone performer who appears in all nine Torchy Blane pictures. Kennedy has a smaller role in the series, but was a prolific actor with nearly 400 credits under his belt, so he was a reliable, consistent presence. In these movies, Kennedy plays a lovable, but dense police detective that is often the most obvious comic relief, while also having a number of scene stealing moments. In Blondes at Work, his interactions with Torchy are hilarious and his explanations to his fellow cops are quite humorous as well. I love that he is writing poetry, as it might seem strange at first, but it really makes sense, as his character has such a kind heart. His performances are often overlooked in favor of his costars, but Kennedy is a prime reason these movies are so much fun. Glenda Farrell is excellent in her fourth of seven turns as Torchy, once again bringing the heat in the razor sharp banter department. The cast also includes Barton MacLane, Frank Shannon, Betty Compson, and Rosella Towne.