Plot: Torchy Blane (Glenda Farrell) always has a scoop in her sights and her latest assignment is to profile Mayor Dolan (John Miljan), who has built quite a powerful political presence. As she looks into the mayor, she discovers that his rise to power is steeped in corruption and he isn’t alone, as other politicians have also fallen in with less than reputable forces. Of course, taking down an entrenched power group is no small task and Torchy knows it will take a lot to make a difference. The chance to take the power away from Dolan soon arrives, but the rival politician is targeted and it becomes clear it will take a fearless opposition. This leads to Torchy running herself, but will she be sworn in or run down by the corruption?
Entertainment Value: This was the eighth movie in the Torchy Blane series, but it would serve as the curtain call for leads Glenda Farrell and Barton MacLane, who starred in seven of the nine volumes. The narrative here is a slight change of pace for the series, as the tone is much more serious and the story is more involved. This means less of the romance and comic relief, though both elements are still present, just in smaller doses than usual. I do think the pace feels slower as well, as Torchy Runs for Mayor takes a while to build up steam and even at around an hour in length, some stretches do come off as drawn out. Not to say the film is dull however, just not as snappy as the other movies in the series and the lack of a mystery is also part of the reason for that. The absence of a mystery to unravel isn’t a real concern however, as it means a more well developed villain. Some twists and turns would have been nice of course, but the shifts in approach at least mix things up a little. In the end, I wouldn’t call this one of the strongest adventures for Torchy, but it is a brisk, enjoyable watch, so I’d recommend it to anyone interested.
As someone who was in all nine Torchy Blane pictures, Tom Kennedy was a welcome presence throughout the franchise, providing effective comic relief as the dense, but lovable Gahagan. In this sequel however, the more serious tone means less of his usual routine, which is a shame. I do appreciate that he gets a few scenes to shine in, including a scene stealing moment in the finale, but I missed his banter with Torchy and wish he was around more here. Glenda Farrell brought Torchy to life seven times and while I wasn’t thrilled with the character’s kind of passive presence at times, her performance is rock solid as always. I just wish there was more of the independent, firebrand Torchy here, but the series seemed to have toned down that after the first few movies, so that is no surprise. I think she was terrific in all of her efforts in this series, so I was sad to see she was replaced for the film that followed this one, as I would have liked to have seen her close out Torchy’s run herself. The cast also includes Barton MacLane, Frank Shannon, and John Ridgely.
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