Classic Hollywood’s consummate scene-stealing sidekick, Joan Blondell enjoyed a successful screen career for nearly five decades, but it was during the anything-goes pre-Code era of the early 1930s—when dames, gold diggers, and good-time girls were cinematic staples—that she reached her zenith. Her vivacious energy and wisecracking persona were perfectly suited to the punchy, fast-paced style of her home studio, Warner Bros., where she was often paired with the similarly brash, dynamic James Cagney in popular hits like the mob film HE WAS HER MAN, the delightfully risqué romantic comedy BLONDE CRAZY, and the kaleidoscopic Busby Berkeley musical extravaganza FOOTLIGHT PARADE. Whether lending snappy comedic support to a dramatic heavy hitter like Barbara Stanwyck in NIGHT NURSE or showing her range playing a mob boss in the all-too-rare starring vehicle BLONDIE JOHNSON, Blondell exuded an irresistible, naughty-but-nice irreverence that was pure pre-Code.
Directed by Howard Hawks • 1932 • United States
Starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak
Director Howard Hawks brings a dynamic punch to this high-speed thrill ride set in the world of race-car driving. The fastest man on four wheels, Indy champ Joe Greer (James Cagney) has strong ideas ...
Directed by Lloyd Bacon • 1933 • United States
Starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler
FOOTLIGHT PARADE is sheer cinematic joy. In this Depression-era romp, a timid stenographer (Ruby Keeler) removes her glasses and—wow!—she’s a star. A gee-whiz tenor (Dick Powell) asserts his independ...
Directed by Lloyd Bacon • 1934 • United States
Starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Victor Jory
For their final screen pairing, Joan Blondell and James Cagney left behind the lighthearted comedy of their six earlier outings together for a decidedly darker tale of crime and doomed romance. Made ...