Blondie of the Follies is an amusing lightweight little pre-code comedy from 1932, directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Marion Davies, Robert Montgomery and Billie Dove.
Blondie and Lottie have been best friends since childhood, although they fight constantly. And when I say fight, I mean they trade punches. These are rather feisty girls. Life is tough in the depressed neighbourhood of New York where they both live, and finally Lottie can’t take it any more. She heads off for the bright lights, hoping to make it as a dancer in the Follies. And she does. The next time Blondie sees her Lottie has been transformed onto Lurlene, and has a swank apartment, gorgeous clothes and a rich boyfriend named Larry. The rich boyfriend thinks Lurlene’s little friend is rather cute, and offers to get her a job in the Follies as well.
Pretty soon Blondie has her own fancy apartment, provided by her own rich boyfriend, an oil magnate. The problem is that Larry has fallen in love with Blondie, and she feels the same way about him. This causes trouble with Lurlene (and another brawl between the two girls). Blondie doesn’t want to steal Lurlene’s man, but she has great difficulty in avoiding Larry’s attentions. The romantic complications pile up, and it’s all fairly entertaining.
Being a pre-code picture it has a very casual attitude towards sex. Lurlene and Larry are obviously more than just good friends, and Blondie and her oil millionaire are just as obviously cohabiting. It’s all dealt with in a matter-of-fact fashion.
Marion Davies was a revelation for me as I’d not seen any of her movies before. She’s funny and charming. Billie Dove (whose brief moment of stardom sadly ended with this movie) is also absolutely delightful. Robert Montgomery is a perfectly adequate leading man, but the two women dominate the movie.
It’s all good mildly naughty fun, and expertly executed by Goulding. Having Frances Marion and Anita Loos collaborating on the script certainly didn’t hurt either. I liked it quite a bit.