Fly Away Baby (1937)

Passed   |    |  Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Fly Away Baby (1937) Poster

Torchy Blane solves a murder and smuggling case during a round-the-world flight.


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10 August 2006 | tedg
The Redheaded Storymaker
Its rather amazing that this series isn't more widely seen.

Superficially, they are B movies and at the cheapy end. They have incredibly uninteresting stories, stuff about the mob.

But they're really impressive in a way. I guess it doesn't register today, but these were either important in their day or if you wish reflected something important.

For non-US readers, you have to know that women couldn't vote until very late in the history of the US. Blacks first, then women. The time of this movie is five times further away from us than it is from the first national election where women voted.

A woman could be a wife, a nurse, teacher, secretary, whore.

Or, in movies if she was bright, a newspaper reporter. You have to understand also that the thirties was a period of great experimenting in narrative folding: stories that in some way included the making of stories. One common fold was the newspaper guy who "got the story" just as we are. He was our avatar, our representative in the thing.

These experiments from the thirties played with different notions of storygetter, some comic, some inverted.

So here you have a bright woman reporter. Feisty. Pretty. She's engaged to an "official" detective, a cop. But she keeps missing the wedding because she goes off chasing the story.

Together, they get the crook and solve the case, but always with her in the lead. He protects and she loves him, the "big lug." Though this is black and white, the audience would know (from posters, fan magazines and her name) that she is redheaded.

It was a long-lasting sequence of movies, as many as, say, the Charlie Chan ones and with far more than the celebrated "Thin Man." So I invite you to watch this — or any of the series. She's an icon that's all the more fascinating because it has ceased having power. Now that's interesting.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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