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The Strawberry Blonde

(1941 b 99')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on James Hagan's play and similar to the 1933 film One Sunday Afternoon, a dentist was in prison and lost a pretty girl to his friend, but he realizes his marriage is much better.

On Sunday Nick (George Tobias) and Biff Grimes (James Cagney) recall Virginia. Biff quarrels with college men next door. Dentist Biff is asked to pull the tooth of Hugo, who married Virginia. Biff plans to kill Hugo with gas and remembers his father William Grimes (Alan Hale) when he lost his job. Biff works as a bouncer and has to throw out his father. Biff fights the boss and is fired. Hugo Barnstead (Jack Carson) sells boat tickets and walks with Virginia Brush (Rita Hayworth). Biff gives his father laughing gas and pulls his tooth. Hugo takes Biff to meet Virginia and Amy (Olivia de Havilland) in the park. Biff and Amy hear Hugo and Virginia laughing. Amy tells Biff she is a liberated woman, who does not believe in marriage. Hugo and Amy board the boat; but Biff and Virginia are turned away and go to the zoo and a beer garden. They dance to "And the Band Played On," and she kisses him. Biff makes a date with Virginia and borrows money from Nick. Biff waits in the park, but Amy arrives and says she gets lonesome. Nick informs Biff that Hugo married Virginia, asking for his money back. Biff says his date is with Amy. Biff kisses Amy and finds she was all talk. He asks her to be his steady.

After they are married, Biff works and studies to be a dentist. Nick tells Biff to rescue his father from a fight. Virginia sees Biff and invites him and Amy for dinner. Hugo is jealous but agrees to offer Biff a job. Hugo shows off his wealth and says Biff can be an executive. Biff tells Hugo he has nothing to do but signs papers. Construction graft is being investigated. A building falls on William Grimes, and Biff sees him die. A lawyer tells Hugo and Biff that the materials were faulty and that Biff is responsible. Biff socks Hugo and flees but is arrested at home. Biff goes to prison for five years and practices dentistry. Getting out, Biff meets Amy in the park, and Biff says they will move.

Back with Nick, Biff receives Hugo and Virginia, who complains about Hugo. Biff pulls Hugo's tooth without gas, causing Hugo to shout in pain. Seeing Hugo and Virginia quarrel, Biff tells Nick that he is glad he did not marry Virginia. Biff tells Amy how much he loves her. Biff fights with the college men, and then Amy tells him her news.

This romantic comedy has the simple charm of the gay 1890s in which the restricted morals are satirized by Amy's free-thinking talk. Yet she proves to be a reliable and suitable mate for the belligerent Biff, while the wealthy Hugo and Virginia seem to have little happiness.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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