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Blondie Film Series:
#8- Blondie Goes Latin (1941)

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About This Film

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Blondie Bumstead (Penny Singleton)
Dagwood Bumstead (Arthur Lake)
Baby Dumpling Bumstead (Larry Simms)
J.C. Dithers (Jonathan Hale)
Alvin Fuddle (Danny Mummert)
Mailman Mr. Crumb (Irving Bacon)

About This Film:  This is a musical and the only one from the series.  Thank goodness they didn't continue this trend.  There were 28 Blondie movies made and although I like them all, I'd have to say that this film is my least favorite.  Nothing very funny happens.  I'm not overly opposed to musicals, but it just doesn't fit the Blondie formula.  Except for the first scene of the film, everything that happened in the movie was on a boat.

The Bumsteads go on vacation with Mr. Dithers to South America.  They barely get on the boat when Dithers receives a disturbing telegram.  A client of the Dithers Construction Firm wants to close a big business deal on a day that happens to fall on their vacation time.  This vacation is for Dithers' health and the Bumsteads were merely guests, so Dagwood is stuck with the responsibility of going back.  Blondie, Baby Dumpling, and Daisy, however, stay with Dithers and head for South America.  Dagwood tries to get off the boat, but is mistaken for a baggage boy and sent back in.  He meets up with the band and is at first mistaken for being their replacement drummer.  By the time Dagwood realizes what has happened it is too late for him to leave the ship.

As the film goes on we find out that the client of Dithers' firm is trying to swindle them.  A hispanic businessman reveals this to Dithers while Dagwood is hiding.  Dagwood doesn't know about this until the end of the film.  Ironically, Dithers would've been happy if he knew Dagwood WAS on the boat.  In the end, Dithers got a better deal from the hispanic businessman.  Incidentally, this businessman gets a crush on Blondie.  Blondie uses him later in the film when she thinks that Dagwood is having an affair.

So as not to upset Dithers, Dagwood hides from him and his family on the ship.  The band's lady singer helps him out and tries to get him to tell Blondie about the mix-up without having Dithers know.  Unfortunately, Blondie finds Dagwood with the singer before he can explain and she becomes downright jealous!  Before Dagwood can solve his problem with Blondie and Dithers, he has to help out the band by posing as the drummer.  It's a ten-piece band so if they don't have ten members they're out of a job.  Dagwood has to keep his identity secret from Dithers, so the singer dresses Dagwood as a woman and presents him as their lady drummer.

As you might've guessed, Dagwood's disguise is short-lived.  Eventually everything is explained and everyone is happy again.

There are a lot of things in this film that don't ring true for a Blondie movie.  Here's a list:

1.  Baby Dumpling disappears for most of the movie and no one gets too concerned.  In every other movie, Blondie and Dagwood freak out when Baby Dumpling vanishes.  It turns out he's made friends with a little girl playing piano.  Why isn't anyone worried about Baby Dumpling?  It's like he fell off the end of the Earth.

2.  When Blondie finds Dagwood with another woman and mistakenly thinks he's having an affair, she gets a little too mean and spiteful.  The whole tone of the movie changes here from comedy to drama...I don't like that.  I feel sorry for Dagwood because it's really too sad.  Blondie completely disowns him.

3.  Mr. Dithers doesn't threaten to fire him at all in this movie.  Actually, this isn't a bd thing.  It's just odd.  He's always firing Dagwood for lesser mistakes in the other films.

4.  It's almost completely inside filming.  Most Blondie movies show a lot of outside filming mixed in with staged settings.  The vast majority of this film was set on a boat.

5.  The musical numbers are okay, but nothing really outstanding.  I've heard better music and singing in the other Blondie films that weren't musicals.

6.  There are really no supporting actors/actresses that really stand out like in other Blondie films.  No one really takes the spotlight or serves much importance.

7.  This film, for a Blondie movie, is very thin on plot.  Blondie movies typically have very complex plots that intertwine with one another making for really funny situations.  The story for this show is very simple.

There are highlights in this film, too.  It's still worth a viewing if you're a Blondie fan.  Here are things to watch for:

1.  The mailman routine in the first scene of the film.  Mr. Crumb interacts with the taxi driver who is going to take the Bumsteads away.  As with all the mailman scenes in any Blondie film, this is very clever.

2.  Alvin Fuddle.  He appears only briefly in the beginning, but Alvin is always funny.

3.  We get to see Arthur Lake (Dagwood Bumstead) playing the drums, and he's actually quite good at it!

Overall, this isn't a bad, bad movie.  It's just not a very good Blondie film.  Still worth watching, though, mostly for the mailman scene.