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  • Bit by bit, I totally believe that the Blondie series is one of the most seriously neglected film series of all time, there were, I don't know, 20? films (actually, 28 now that I've looked it up) and I've seen 5 of them, and they've all be charming, with amazing chemistry with the leads, plenty of humor and smartness, without treating the audience like idiots. In this one, what could have been a one joke movie (Blondie is jealous of Dagwood's old flame popping by for a visit) turns out to be quite a clever and funny series of events. It just so happens the old flame is played by Rita Hayworth in one of those "Before They Were Famous" roles. She's quite magnetic, and actually adds, but surprisingly doesn't distract what is going on. One of the best in the series. Some great shots of an old time movie theatre too.
  • BLONDIE ON A BUDGET (Columbia, 1940), directed by Frank R. Strayer, the fifth installment of the popular family series based on Chic Young's comic strip characters, is notable mostly for an early screen appearance from the up and coming starlet named Rita Hayworth, guest starring as Dagwood's former girlfriend who comes over for a visit on a business deal.

    Saving the typical routines for the finish, namely Dagwood rushing out of the house on his way to work and knocking down the postman (Irving Bacon) on the walk, the story begins at the breakfast table where the Bumsteads are gathered together with Blondie (Penny Singleton) going over the family budget. Marvin Williams (Don Beddoe), the next door neighbor, wants Dagwood to join the Swan Lake Trout Club, and membership fee is $100. The only way to join the club and go fishing with the guys is by asking Blondie for the money, but her heart set on getting a fur coat. Joan Forrester (Rita Hayworth) enters the scene, ringing the front door and attracting the attention of neighbor child Alvin Fuddow (Danny Mummert), whom Joan mistakes for Baby Dumpling (Larry Simms). While her visit is actually regarding a business deal between her and Dagwood, Blondie's jealous nature has her believing otherwise, agreeing to give Dagwood the money to join the trout club. When Dagwood and Joan leave together in her car, complications give way when Joan's car breaks down. It gets tolled to the garage, causing the couple to spend the afternoon at the movies (her treat) until the car is repaired. While at the theater, Dagwood enters a raffle, which he wins, but is in a position not to reveal how or why since he was with Joan at the time. With the winnings, he decides to surprise Blondie with a fur coat she's been wanting, having Joan trying it on for size at the department store the very moment Blondie arrives to witness this. Naturally, Blondie misunderstands, packs up her belongings, leaves a "Dear John" letter for Dagwood, and takes Baby Dumpling with her bound to find an attorney to get herself a divorce.

    Amusing at times, silly at others, BLONDIE ON A BUDGET main asset happens to be youthful beauty of Rita Hayworth, six years before her super-stardom as GILDA (1946). Comedy highlights include Dagwood avoiding from being seen in public with his ex-girlfriend (at one point placing his hands over his face), with guilt setting in when at the movie theater as he sits back to see every woman seated around him in the vision of Blondie; Alvin Fuddow's attempt in pulling out Baby Dumpling's loose tooth from his mouth, demonstrating the method by attaching the tooth to a string tied to a door, with Alvin losing his tooth instead as Blondie closes the door; Daisy the pooch getting drunk by slurping some dripping leftover champagne from the bottle; and Baby Dumpling asking ticket attendants at a bus station for any old dollar bills they don't need. Don Beddoe makes a second appearance in the series as Marvin Williams. As loyal as husbands can be towards their fellow married men, his Marvin helps Dagwood, who is supposed to be at the trout club, by impersonating his voice over the telephone (with Lake's voice in soundtrack) when Blondie calls looking for him. He makes one mistake by addressing Blondie as "Lovey," which Dagwood never does. Marvin's impersonation of voices gets a bit far-fetched when he perfectly impersonates Blondie's voice for Dagwood.

    One of the very few entries not to include Dagwood's boss, Mr. Dithers, nor to take place at the office. It does, however, introduce Alvin's father, Edward Fuddow, played for the only time by character actor John Qualen, appearing during the final minutes of the story. Other performers worth mentioning include Fay Helm (Mrs. Fuddow); Thurston Hall (District Attorney Bryce); William Brisbane (The Theater Manager); and Willie Best filling in for the regular newspaper delivery boy, rushing away on his bike when he sees Daisy chasing after him, believing the dog out to attack him instead of retrieving the newspaper from his hand.

    At this point, the leading actors have grown accustomed to their roles, with the series improving with each passing film. Will Blondie go on with her divorce? Will Dagwood go off with Joan? Will Baby Dumpling be able to collect those old dollar bills? Will Daisy be admitted to Dog-aholics Anonomis? Find out when purchasing this movie either on the VHS or DVD format. BLONDIE ON A BUDGET is another one of the few in the series to not be restored to its original theatrical opening and closing credits when presented on American Movie Classics as part of its lineup of Family Classics every Sunday from 1996 to 2001. With or without Rita Hayworth, BLONDIE ON A BUDGET should be a satisfactory entry for fans of the series. Next installment: BLONDIE HAS SERVANT TROUBLE without Rita Hayworth. (**)
  • Blondie and Dagwood's life is thrown a curve when Rita Hayworth shows up. She used to be "someone he used to know," and came to the house on business with Dagwood, as she works in real estate. As part of the plot, and as the title suggests, they are currently talking about their budget and trying to keep expenses down, despite the fact there's a fur coat she'd like to have and the fact there's a fishing club/lodge he'd like to join. But he doesn't catch any, when he goes fishing anyway, Blondie says, when he goes with the neighbor, who tries to tell him how to deal with Blondie and put his foot down. Aside from the first film, this would be my next favorite. The films centering on their lives at home are better than those which put them in situations away from home. Their home life can get pretty crazy, with miscommunication and people jumping to conclusions. Yeah, Blondie! Rita around really pushes Blondie's buttons, which gives this entry some fire and gives us another fulfilling look into the Bumsteads' far-from-dull existence.
  • Blondie On A Budget deals with the family finances that the Bumsteads are having and the choices that these young marrieds have to make. It almost breaks up the Bumsteads.

    Arthur Lake wants $200.00 to join a club where the pastime is fishing. Blondie wants a new coat. Things are on a friendly level until an old girlfriend of Dagwood's enters the picture.

    Rita Hayworth visits the Bumsteads, she's moved back to town and has a job that will put her in close proximity to Arthur Lake and that upsets Penny Singleton. A series of the usual mishaps and misdirections leave the Bumsteads apart with Singleton going to Reno.

    If you can accept the premise that Rita Hayworth was ever interested in Dagwood Bumstead than you'll find this film a pleasant and enjoyable comedy.
  • In this Blondie film, Daisy the dog gets drunk on champagne and performs some of the most incredible 'drunken' antics ever carried out by an animal on film. There is one scene where we first see a chair from floor level (the dog's eye view) going in and out of focus to show us how drunk Daisy is, and then in a continuous shot, Daisy leaps up onto that chair, slides off, falls, undergoes drunken contortions, and then leaps up onto the chair again. The only clue I could gather as to how this was done is that the seat of the chair seemed to be covered with oil and hence slippery. But that does not explain the miracles of dog training involved. Also, as anyone who watches Blondie films knows very well, Daisy often lifts both long ears in astonishment, but in this film for the first time she lifts only a single ear, a kind of canine variation on the arched single eyebrow of human wags. However, lest anyone think Daisy is the only person on screen, I rush to assure everyone that the usual crowd are there and just as comical as ever. And they are joined by Rita Hayworth who plays Joan, an old girlfriend of Dagwood's. She is as vampish as possible, in a comedic fashion, and Blondie becomes insanely jealous, from which most of the comic situations of the story then flow. This must have just taken only a couple of days' filming for Lovely Rita, who made several films this year including ANGELS OVER Broadway(see my review). The comedy this time is rather more situational than in the preceding five films, with fewer sight gags apart from Daisy's antics. For instance, much of the story revolves around mistaken conclusions drawn from a coat hanging in a closet, and Joan trying on the coat in a shop while Dagwood watches (Blondie assumes the treacherous Dagwood is buying the coat she longs for instead for Joan, whereas Joan is really only trying it on to make sure he gets the right size for Blondie.) So it is a bit more like a French bedroom farce than we have encountered heretofore in the Blondie films. Also, there is a rather wild departure in that characters impersonate other characters and have the real character's voices dubbed over their lip movements. This is overdone, and not as funny as Frank Strayer the director thought. Perhaps he was getting bored on his sixth Blondie film and watched to lash out with something new. Penny Singleton (Blondie) looks a bit tired for the first time, and Arthur Lake (Dagwood) also looks a bit more dazed than usual, as if he is being given no time off from the relentless schedule of the Blondie series. In this film there are no scenes at the office, and we do not see Mr. Dithers. It must have been his time for a break. Larry Simms as Baby Bumpling has many funny scenes with his chum Alvin, mostly with the two of them standing and watching the crazy grownups as they carry on, and making wry cracks about them such as: 'They're doing it again.' Having the tiny tots acting as if they are visitors to a zoo or a madhouse, and being the only ones who keep their heads, in itself hilarious. But we are nowhere near the end of this series. There are twenty more films to go, and plenty of fun in store.
  • Dagwood is trying to sweet talk Blondie, who is working seriously on the household budget, into giving him $200. After seeing his father put too much sugar into the coffee, Baby Dumpling spills the beans and tells his mother that Daddy wants the money for the Trout Club. Blondie wanted a new coat. Alvin walks in to offer social comfort, but when he offers to answer the front door, who should it be but Rita Hayworth. Here's where the fun begins. Isn't that taxi driver talented with impersonations? By the way, Baby Dumpling has his first wiggly tooth. The next film in the series is BLONDIE HAS SERVANT TROUBLE.
  • One of the better Blondie movies, Blondie on a Budget gives one a feeling of nostalgia by being very indicative of its time. The relatively simple story keeps one interested by incorporating stupidly witty dialog with slap stick comedy, truly a great film.
  • Rita Hayworth and Dagwood-that's like pairing Miss America with Daffy Duck-- all for comedy fun of course. It's the usual delightful Bumstead hijinks. Seems Blondie thinks hubby is really attracted to the beauteous Joan (Hayworth) who appears to be hanging around him. Too bad everything poor Dagwood does just seems to get him in deeper with Blondie. But, really, he just wants to go fishing, if only he can get the $200 Trout Club fee. At the same time, Blondie's got her eye on a $200 fur coat. Trouble is where will either get the money since their budget is strapped. Looks like real problems for the lovable couple.

    It's a comically addled Dagwood along with a sternly humorous Blondie. Together they deliver the goods fans expect from the long-running series. But mustn't forget four-footed Daisy who deserved extra kibbles for her great acting, which really is a wonder. Also, the toddlers, Dumpling and Alvin, add happily to the mix. But just as important are how these comedic elements are combined by the director, editor, and writers. Typically, Dagwood will do something silly, Blondie will cast a reproving eye, Daisy will flop over, while Dumpling will say something cute. Thus, Dagwood's funny antic is made more so, thanks to an unsung production crew.

    Too bad a family series like this never got the industry recognition it richly deserved. Blondie On A Budget shows again that the Oscars needed a category for lightweight budget films. Anyway, here's my statuette for whatever its worth.
  • Back in the days of the strict Production Code, Hollywood had a lot of rules about sexuality in films. Kisses needed to be brief and chaste, bad girls needed to ultimately be punished and couples NEVER were in the same bed together...even if they were married. As a result, you see many married couples with separate beds...which makes you wonder HOW these couples ever got children! Well, there are separate beds in this one...and, for once, I would have wanted this as Blondie seemed unusually grouchy in this installment of the Blondie and Dagwood series. Of course, Dagwood gave her some reasons to be grouchy...but didn't he always?!

    In the midst of Blondie and Dagwood disagreeing on how to spend their money (Blondie wants a new coat, Dagwood wants to join a fishing club), an old flame of Dagwood's shows up at the house. Joan (Rita Hayworth*) drops by and almost instantly Blondie is jealous and assumes the worst. And, the rest of the film involves Dagwood telling a couple of innocent lies and Blondie assuming the absolute worst....and stomping off for a divorce (the second time in the series).

    I think I liked this one a bit less than usual...mostly because Blondie just seemed grouchier and very insecure. Sure, Dagwood is an idiot...but that's not new. Not a bad film but just a bit darker and more unpleasant than it should be. Also, the bit with the neighbor imitating Blondie and Dagwood's voices was really stupid.

    *Can anyone on this planet believe that a dope that looks like Arthur Lake could ever catch a woman that looks like Rita Hayworth unless he was, perhaps, a mega-millionaire?!
  • I always thought that male bashing was a relative new fenomenon in hollywood but this movie proves me wrong . I have never seen such a ridiculous dumb character as Dagwood in any movie i have seen so far . Almost all the jokes are at the expense of him and are mostly not funny al all Basicly his character is reduced to a dumb child of 6 even dumber than his own son . And obviously his wife is smart and normal , you wonder why the hell she would stay with such a man . Well Rita hayworth was a nice thing to watch so it was not completely a waist of my time .
  • I don't know if that says how good this movie is or how bad modern "comedy" is but I like this movie more than what they make these days. I like the dog Daisy and the bratty child "Alvin Fuddle." Goofy fun from the "good old days."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Blondie on a Budget" is the 5th film in the series. I have selected it not because it is one of the most entertaining, but because it is the one most of my readers will probably want to know about — since Rita Hayworth no less has the main supporting role.

    Actually, she is not too flatteringly made up, nor is she particularly attractively photographed by Henry Freulich (who lit the first 12 films in the series). Fortunately her gowns are more enchantingly designed than were many fashions of this period. She's our Rita all right — her 26th film — with ultimate stardom just around the corner.

    Yet by and large, although Rita gives an adequate performance as a former flame of Dagwood, she reveals not one iota of the star quality or charisma she was to exhibit for the likes of James Cagney or Fred Astaire. Indeed had she ended her career at this point, she would probably be totally forgotten.

    As usual, Penny Singleton takes the limelight — and here she gives one of her best performances in the entire series! Rita completely up-staged by Penny Singleton — mind-boggling but true!

    Arthur Lake was a bit strained in his earlier films — and "Blondie on a Budget" is no exception. Also somewhat strained is Don Beddoe, who has the unenviable task of pretending to give voice impersonations.

    The plot is not all that strong and winds itself up neatly about ten minutes before the end of the film. An episode has been tacked on introducing John Qualen as Alvin's father — must be one of the most belated entrances in the entire history of the movies. On the other hand, J.C. Dithers doesn't come into this one at all (he wasn't in the third either — "Blondie Takes a Vacation"), but Irving Bacon makes one of his funniest appearances in his long-running confrontation with Dagwood's stampede for the bus.

    Director Frank R. Strayer has not handled the comedy sequences as dexterously as he might (for example, the too-obvious slow-motion antics of the dog), though the film has been produced on a fair- sized budget. The first two films, "Blondie" and "Blondie Meets the Boss", were also rather weakly plotted and Strayer's direction in both those films also was also not up to his usual capable level. Maybe film editor Gene Havlick who was associated with Strayer on these films but not on entries three and four ("Blondie Takes a Vacation" and "Blondie Brings Up Baby") is partly to blame?
  • ericstevenson29 November 2016
    I admit that it's at this point that the "Blondie" movies are starting to become formulaic. Well, I haven't seen most of them of course. This movie features Dagwood once again being mistaken for cheating. Now, it actually does have some interesting variety to it, seeing as how this is the first one I've seen that doesn't feature Dagwood actually at work. That is a nice change and I'm glad they didn't use the plot of him losing his job again. There were definitely some really funny moments in this. Blondie talks about a nightmare she had where Dagwood asked her for money and then she killed him. Wow, that's pretty dark humor.

    It's great to see how smart Baby Dumpling has become. He points out what his parents don't even notice. He even acknowledges that they've tried to run away from home before. I also love it when Marvin impersonates Blondie. I know that's the exact voice they used for this scene, unlike his imitation of Dagwood. This movie features Dagwood trying to get $200 so he can enter a fishing club. That was a lot of money back than. For the most part, everything works out for them. I really do feel sorry for Dagwood at times. ***
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Heck, even Vivien Leigh said to husband Laurence Olivier upon Rita's entrance into a restaurant after the former Scarlet O'Hara had received a polite round of applause and Rita got a standing ovation, "How do you compete with that?". For Blondie (Penny Singleton), having old romantic rival Rita show up for a surprise visit to see old boyfriend Dagwood (Arthur Lake), the temptation is obvious, and Blondie's long-suppressed jealousy returns almost immediately. When Dagwood accepts a ride from his old girlfriend downtown to meet a buddy for fishing, Blondie stews, believing that Dagwood's passions are simmering. In these old sitcom series of big screen movies, when an old flame shows up, nothing sordid happens, but it's fun to see what ensues until the married couple reaches their final clinch.

    Not as funny as other entries but still worth it because of the divine Rita's presence, this has its humorous moments, notably Dagwood's pal's ability to imitate both Dagwood and Blondie (truly a hysterical moment for the later), and Dagwood's guilt has him mistaking every woman he sees (including a Chinese woman) for Blondie (even with dark hair) and the Chinese woman's child for his own baby Dumpling (Larry Sims). Dumpling has a very funny recurring gag involving asking everybody he meets if they have any old unused dollar bills, while dog Daisy gets drunk on champagne after Dagwood returns home for a celebration with his wife (carrying a present she witnessed him buying with Hayworth trying it on) and faces a Sunday hangover with a funny prop. Thurstan Hall has a funny cameo as a businessman Singleton encounters on her way to Reno (a la "The Women") which helps wrap up the whole silly plot. Certainly, if rising starlet Lana Turner can do a Dr. Kildare, the rising Hayworth can do a Blondie movie. Frankly, of all the beautiful pin-up girls of the 1940's, Hayworth was the most gorgeous if Betty Grable represented pin-up girls who were the girl next door. If anything, Blondie owes thanks to Hayworth here for giving her marriage some spark, not blaming her for attempted infidelity.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well, this is the fifth in the Blondie movie series and there's a special treat here as Rita Hayworth appears here as an old girlfriend of Dagwood. (Since in the original Chic Young comic strip, Dag was initially a millionaire playboy, this fits perfectly in the storyline!) Ms. Hayworth is as gorgeous as you can imagine her here which is reflected in the reactions of not only Alvin Fuddle and Baby Dumpling but also in Blondie's jealous nature. Aiding in her suspicions is next door neighbor Marvin Williams (Don Beddoe, in his second appearance in the series as such-after Blondie Meets the Boss) answering her call in Dag's voice (which is actually Arthur Lake's voice dubbed in, same as when he later impersonates Blondie's voice with Ms. Penny Singleton's done the same way). No wonder she later decides to go to Reno when she later sees her and hubby at the clothing store when Ms. Hayworth tries a fur coat actually meant for Blondie! In summary, this was another hilarious ep of the series so on that note, I highly recommend Blondie on a Budget. P.S. Willie Best returns here from the original Blondie movie. He's a lot more funny here than in that one. And this is the second movie I've seen in a row where the male character refuses money from a beautiful rich woman, the other one being Judge Hardy and Son.