Monday, March 25, 2013

Tonight's Movie: Traveling Saleslady (1935)

TRAVELING SALESLADY is a fast-paced, entertaining comedy with Joan Blondell as a toothpaste heiress who goes into competition with her father's own firm.

TRAVELING SALESLADY is on a Joan Blondell-Glenda Farrell "double feature" disc from the Warner Archive, paired with MISS PACIFIC FLEET (1935). TRAVELING SALESLADY is much the better of the two films, thanks to an amusing script and a mercifully toned-down performance by ever-present Warner Bros. comedian Hugh Herbert.

Joan plays Angela Twitchell, whose father (Grant Mitchell) refuses to give her a job, believing women are no good at business. Angela teams with "cocktail toothpaste" inventor Elmer Niles (Herbert) and goes to work for her father's competitor, Mr. Schmidt (Al Shean). Angela, under the alias Martha Smith, goes on the road to sell the new toothpaste and has great success against Twitchell salesman Pat O'Connor (William Gargan).

Angela and Pat agree to drop business after 8:00 p.m. each night and fall in love, but gradually their intense competition begins to have a negative effect on their relationship, and Pat resumes his on-again, off-again relationship with drugstore executive Claudette Ruggles (Farrell).

Blondell really has a chance to shine in this one, a quick-talking bundle of energy, and she's backed by a great cast. Farrell has a smaller role than in MISS PACIFIC FLEET, but she makes the most of it, and Gargan does a good job in the male lead.

In addition to the actors already named, the cast of TRAVELING SALESLADY includes Ruth Donnelly (playing Blondell's mother), Mary Treen, Bert Roach, Gordon (Wild Bill) Elliott, Johnny Arthur, and Hattie McDaniel.  Ruth Donnelly's role is relatively small, but she's always a welcome sight in a film; McDaniel only has one scene, but it's funny.

Like MISS PACIFIC FLEET, TRAVELING SALESLADY was directed by Ray Enright. It runs 63 minutes.

The cinematography was by George Barnes, who was married to Blondell at the time the film was made. They were only married for three years, after which she married Dick Powell.

I've now got a copy of JOAN BLONDELL: A LIFE BETWEEN TAKES by Matthew Kennedy and look forward to learning more about Blondell's life and work.

Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell teamed in a number of films. There's another Blondell-Farrell DVD available from the Warner Archive, containing HAVANA WIDOWS (1933) and I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER (1934). Yet another DVD from the Archive contains MERRY WIVES OF RENO (1934), starring Farrell, paired with SMARTY (1934), starring Blondell.


Blogger Vienna said...

This sounds fun and I love the combo of Blondell and Farrell. I must try and get some of their films.
Thanks for the dvd information.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Happy to share the info! I really enjoyed TRAVELING SALESLADY, it was good fun.

The other film in the set had some nice moments but also had flaws -- but Joan and Glenda are always worth checking out.

Best wishes,

11:09 PM  
Blogger Silver Screenings said...

This sounds like fun! I love Joan Blondell in anything, and I'm looking forward to seeing this. Thanks for your review - otherwise, I may not have known about it.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Delighted I could share about this film -- hope you'll enjoy it! I'm currently in the middle of another good Joan Blondell film, LAWYER MAN (1932), which I hope to review soon.

Best wishes,

7:08 PM  

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