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Joan Blondell owns Footlight Parade


slaytonf
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"Outside countess!  As long as they have sidewalks, you'll have a job!"

 

One of the great lines from cinema.  But it's not the only one she has.  Almost every line of her's is a wry comment on the action, or characters.  And she can match anyone for rapid-fire delivery of dialog.  There's a lot to like in this movie, Mr. Cagney, Mr. Powell, Mr. Berkeley's choreography, Mr. Bacon's direction, translucent lingerie.  But it's Joanie who the movie pivots around.  This role, I think, among all her others allows her to demonstrate the range of her abilities better than any.  She's by turns expressive, deadpan, subtle, and broadly slapstick.  Her performance is so good, you just want to hug her for it.  The way she works with James Cagney, it's no surprise they were paired so often.  I seems they must have been great pals.

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I love Joan Blondell.  She has such a presence.  Her skill as a comedienne (among others) is having the ability to crack wise without overdoing it and grating on one's nerves.

 

It's been so long that I can't remember whether or not I've seen "Footlight Parade", but I've put it in my DVD rental queue, with other Blondell titles.  Recommendations greatly appreciated!

 

Huge kudos also to her dramatic turn in "Nightmare Alley", as Zeena Krumbein.  That's when I really sat up and took notice of her range as an actress.

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My DAD was also a Blondell fan, and used to playfully say, "I just LOVED her big---er---EYES!"  :D

 

Sure, movie buffs know otherwise, but many just gave her kudos for acting, and overlook her when the topic turns to the "golden era" actresses who were BEAUTIFUL.

 

My Dad mentioned(eventually) her eyes.  But, can't you just FALL INTO THEM?

 

I can't now remember the movie, but a few months or so ago I had one on when a nephew of mine was visiting.  When she came on the screen, I asked the nephew, who was (and still is) a huge GREASE fan, "Do you recognizeTHAT lady?"  He said he wasn't sure, and he was shocked when I told him it was the waitress in Grease.  "DAMN!" he said, "She was a H O T T I E!" (and WHY would THAT word get bleeped?)

 

Indeed.

 

Sepiatone

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Love Joan! She was always so sassy, young or old.

 

Speaking of her, it was not till a few years back that I realized that Gloria Blondell who played Honeybee on the tv show "The Life of Riley" with William Bendix, was the sister of Joan.

 

I had always thought she was her daughter as she seemed much younger but according to IMDB Joan is only four years older.

 

Gloria did have a movie career but mostly bit parts compared to Joan, but the  resemblance is amazing!

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Sorry, it's the Busby Berkeley choreography and the breathlessly fast talking, high energy Cagney performance which propels Footlight Parade forward.

 

Having said that, I know what you mean, slaytonf, inasmuch as you rightly want to pay special tribute to Joan Blondell's contribution (because Berkeley and Cagney get most of it most of the time) and she is well worthy of it. Blondell has great line delivery (including the best line in the film which you related in the first line in the OP), she's vivacious and has great chemistry with Cagney. She is one of his few leading ladies who could stand up to him, in fact.

 

And Blondell is also actress enough to let you feel for her pining for Cagney, whose character is a jughead in this film when it comes to the ladies, infatuated with that snooty Countess (wonderfully played by Claire Dodd).

 

So if I don't quite agree with you, slaytonf, about Blondell actually owning this film, she is still a doll to watch in it, and the film would not be nearly as much fun without her.

 

6706536251_646a38bcf5_o.jpg

 

Oh, yeh, saucer eyed Joanie was also one sexy girl, too.

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