Cast & Crew
Photos & Videos
Blondie McClune lives with her parents and her sister Gertie's family in a tenement house in New York. Some time after her girl friend, Lottie Callahan, leaves and moves uptown to a posh neighborhood to join the follies, Lottie visits her mother on Mother's Day and brings Blondie back to her apartment, where she meets Larry Belmont. He arranges for her to go to dinner with oil tycoon Murchenson, which angers Lottie, who has changed her name to Lurlene Cavanaugh. Blondie leaves, but Larry brings her back and promises to take her to the follies to see Lottie perform that night. While they watch the show, Larry gets her a job in the chorus, further angering Lottie, who is becoming jealous of her friend. After a night at a speakeasy, Larry carries a drunken Blondie home, shocking her father, who misinterprets their evening, tells Larry to get out and warns Blondie never to see him again. Angered, she leaves, despite her father's attempts to get her back. She then goes to Lottie's and learns that Lottie really loves Larry. The next morning, Pa goes to Lottie's to apologize to Blondie for being "an old time father" and sadly gives his blessing to her going into the follies and starting a new life. After promising Lottie that she won't go after Larry, Blondie goes with her to Murchenson's yacht. Larry admonishes Lottie for trying to bring a nice kid like Blondie into her type of life, then breaks off with her. Speaking with Blondie, Larry tells her she is too nice a kid to be in this crowd. He leaves after Lottie interrupts them, then the girls fall into the water in a fight and Blondie leaves, promising to find another man. Three months later, Blondie has her own swank apartment and is a follies hit. She invites both Larry and Lottie to her place and tries to get them to reconcile, but Larry only wants to be friends with her. Lottie and Blondie decide to make up, though, and Blondie throws a party, during which she receives word that her father has had a fall at work. When she goes to him, she learns that his heart caused the accident, which leads to his death. Some time later, while Blondie is performing, Larry sends word to meet him at a speakeasy, but Lottie goes instead of telling Blondie. When Blondie does hear about it she goes to him and learns that he is leaving for Europe because he is in love with her. Returning to the show with Lottie, Blondie is thrown from the stage during a whip routine when Lottie lets go of her hand. Remorseful, Lottie goes with her to the hospital. When Blondie is released from the hospital, she decides to go home because of her injuries, and sends Larry away, refusing help from him or his friends. Soon Larry and some gentlemen visit Blondie. Confused, she discovers that they are bone specialists whom he has brought to cure her and that Larry is going to marry her.
Blondie of the Follies
Blondie of the Follies (1932) was a humorous tale set in modern times, but had enough romantic drama to keep Hearst happy. Davies plays Blondie McClune, a plucky working class girl whose childhood friend Lottie, played by Billie Dove, becomes a Follies showgirl. Visiting Lottie uptown, Blondie becomes attracted both to show business, and to Lottie's rich boyfriend, played by Robert Montgomery. Blondie of the Follies was an ideal Davies vehicle. She had been a chorus girl, and was in fact appearing in the Ziegfeld Follies when Hearst fell in love with her. She knew the laughter and tears of a Follies girl's life. Veteran screenwriter Frances Marion was a friend of Davies, and she'd heard her stories. In her autobiography, Marion recalled that in her original script, she'd put in some of the racy and unsavory episodes that had actually happened in the heyday of the Follies. But Hearst removed them from the script. According to the writer, Hearst's attitude seemed to be that "there must be neither spice nor sadness in yesterday's dream."
Anita Loos was also a veteran screenwriter, a good friend of Davies, and the author of the comic novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She was brought in to write dialogue for Blondie of the Follies, and like Frances Marion, faced Hearst's interference. "I want you to curb your inclination toward humor, because I see this story as a great romance," Hearst told Loos. He should have known better than to try to curb Davies' and Loos' natural ebullience. They made Blondie a warm and witty character, even when the plot was at its most melodramatic. Davies had a gift for mimicry, and one of the highlights of the film is a scene in which Davies and comedian Jimmy Durante spoof a scene from Grand Hotel (1932) imitating Greta Garbo and John Barrymore.
Loos recalled that she used to watch the rushes with Hearst every day. Whenever there was a scene without Davies, he would ask, "Why wasn't Muggins [his nickname for Davies] in that scene?" Even when Loos explained that the scene was important for plot development, she claimed that Hearst would insist that the scene be thrown out and replaced by another featuring Davies.
Co-star Billie Dove had also been a Follies beauty, as well as one of the silent screen's most glamorous stars. She easily made the transition to sound, and was playing leading roles when director Edmund Goulding asked her to play Lottie in Blondie of the Follies. Even though it was a juicy part, Dove at first refused, since it was not the lead. But she agreed to take the role when MGM production chief Irving Thalberg asked her to do so. Dove was giving such a good performance that when Hearst saw the rushes, he commented, "well, it's a good Billie Dove picture." Without her knowledge, he cut some of her best scenes, shot new ones, and had the film edited to make her character the heavy. Even though she was disappointed, Dove claimed that Hearst's actions did not affect her friendship with Davies, who was one of Hollywood's most beloved people. Soon after making Blondie of the Follies, Dove retired to marry and raise a family. Blondie of the Follies would be her last film, except for a cameo in Diamond Head in 1963.
Marion Davies made seven more films before retiring in 1937, at the age of 40. She lived with William Randolph Hearst until his death in 1951. Of her nearly four dozen films, the handful of comedies are the ones that hold up, and best showcase her talents.
Director: Edmund Goulding
Producer: Marion Davies
Screenplay: Frances Marion, Anita Loos
Cinematography: George Barnes
Editor: George Hively
Costume Design: Adrian
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: Songs by Harry Tobias, Gus Arnheim, Jules Lemaire, Harry Link, Nick Kenny, Ray Egan, Ted Fio Rito, Walter G. Samuels, Leonard Whitcup, Arthur Freed, Harry Barris, David Snell, Edmund Goulding
Principal Cast: Marion Davies (Blondie McClune), Robert Montgomery (Larry Belmont), Billie Dove (Lottie Callahan), Jimmy Durante (Jimmy), James Gleason (Pa McClune), ZaSu Pitts (Gertie), Sidney Toler (Pete), Douglass Dumbrille (Murchenson), Sarah Padden (Ma McClune), Louise Carter (Ma Callahan).
by Margarita Landazuri
Blondie of the Follies
The pre-production title of this film was Good Time Girl. Jimmy Durante's only scene in the picture is a specialty number in which he describes his experience going to the movies with his girl friend to see one of M-G-M's biggest 1932 films, Grand Hotel, starring Greta Garbo and John Barrymore. Durante then imitates Barrymore as Davies imitates Garbo and recites Garbo's "I vant to be alone" line from the picture.