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Blondie Film Series:
#5- Blondie on a Budget (1940)

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About This Film

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Blondie Bumstead (Penny Singleton)
Dagwood Bumstead (Arthur Lake)
Baby Dumpling Bumstead (Larry Simms)
Danny Mummert (Alvin Fuddle)
Irving Bacon (Mr. Crumb, the Mailman)
Rita Hayworth (legendary movie actress)
Willie Best (famous black character actor)
Don Beddoe (popular character actor)
John Qualen (popular character actor)
Fay Helm (plays Alvin's mom)

About This Film: This is the 5th film in the series.  It is one of the few Blondie movies where you do not see Dagwood's boss.  There's no Mr. Dithers or Mr. Radcliffe.  In other words, it's not one of those "Dagwood-gets-fired-and-tries-to-get-his-job-back" films.  This movie is EXCELLENT!  Rita Hayworth's prescence really adds a lot of magic to the movie.  She's drop-dead gorgeous AND fully clothed.  There aren't very many actresses like her anymore.  She was sexy without doing or saying anything sexual.  As much as I admire Penny Singleton, I'd have to say that Rita was definitely the scene stealer in this Blondie entry.

Blondie is going through the Bumstead family budget.  She comes to the conclusion that she cannot buy an expensive fur coat that she's had her eye on.  At the same time, Dagwood wants to join the Trout Club (a fishing club) where the membership costs about as much as Blondie's coat.  Just then, Dagwood's sexy ex-girlfriend (played by the sensational Rita Hayworth) comes to visit.  It's not meant to be a social visit.  Rather, the company Joan Forrester (Hayworth) works for is doing business with Dagwood's company and she is simply coming over to give him some papers.  But Joan is still sweet on Dagwood and Blondie gets jealous.  Blondie coaxes Dagwood into going fishing.  Joan offers to drive Dagwood to the lake, but really takes him to Lover's Lane...their old romantic spot!

Joan is not really trying to seduce him, but rather talk to him about Blondie's unhappiness.  When she learns of Dagwood's financial troubles...she offers to give him some money.  He refuses.  Just then Joan's car breaks down.  They're towed into town and while the car is getting fixed, Dagwood and Joan go to a movie.  Dagwood's fishing buddy Marvin Williams drives Dagwood home and covers for him...lying to Blondie about his "fishing" trip.  Eventually, things keep popping up that prove Dagwood's story to be false.  Blondie gets jealous and begins to think that Dagwood is fooling around.

Late at night, Dagwood answers the phone and learns that he has won a large money prize from the movie theater that he had gone to earlier that day.  He keeps it secret, because he intends to buy Blondie the coat she wants.  Dagwood calls Rita the next day to help him pick it out so he gets Blondie the right size.  Blondie catches the two of them together and thinks that her husband is buying it for the "old flame".  A big misunderstanding, Blondie plans to leave home with Baby Dumpling and contemplates getting a divorce (a common theme in the Blondie films).  When a lawyer with a heart (now you know this movie was made a long time ago) convinces Blondie that jealousy has gotten the better of her, she returns home.  There are a few more misunderstandings along the way, but the movie ends with Blondie seeing the error of her ways and making up with Dagwood.

There are some funny scenes worth mentioning in this film.  One is of the black man (played by character actor Willie Best) delivering newspapers.  Although his character might be considered stereotypical by today's critics, just take it for what it is.  This particular black man just happens to be slow.  Another scene is where Dagwood starts seeing every woman in the theater as Blondie, and pictures Blondie and Baby Dumpling as Chinese!  Even Daisy turns Chinese!  Speaking of Daisy, there is a very funny moment where she gets drunk on champagne!  You have to wonder how animal trainers taught the dog to act intoxicated.  Overall, this is a highly enjoyable film that fans of the series will enjoy.  I hope I didn't spoil it too much for you if you haven't already seen it, but there is much more that wasn't included in this summary.

Extra Stuff:  Don Beddoe, the actor who plays Dagwood's best friend and neighbor Marvin Williams, was also Walt Wallet in the Gasoline Alley movies.  For those who don't know, "Gasoline Alley" was a popular comic strip for most of the 20th century.  He appeared in three Blondie movies in all, but only two as Marvin Williams.  The other was Blondie for Victory (1942) where he plays a man named Mr. Larkin.

This is only one of two movies where you see Alvin's father Mr. Ed Fuddle.  In this movie he is played by John Qualen.  The other movie where Mr. Fuddle makes an appearance is Leave it to Blondie (1945) as played by actor Arthur Space.  In Blondie on a Budget (1940), Mrs. Fuddle is seen and played by Fay Helm.  She has also played Alvin's mom in three other Blondie movies including Blondie (1938), Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939), and Blondie Has Servant Trouble (1940).