One of the cutest, most enjoyable, best-written, all around BEST movies ever made starred three of Old Hollywood’s brightest stars: Rita Hayworth, Olivia de Havilland, and James Cagney. The Strawberry Blonde (1941, directed by Raoul Walsh) is one of the handful of films I call a “perfect movie.”
There is absolutely nothing that would keep this film from being called flawless. Many movies come close to perfect… as in thisclose… but they have one or more “throwaway” scenes or “filler” storylines. There is no scenes – not a single one – in The Strawberry Blonde that is a throwaway scene. Not a one.
How remarkable is that?!
Most of us know that, even with our very favorite films, there is a scene or more where… by gosh, if you need more salt on your popcorn, wait for that particular throwaway scene and make your run to the kitchen. The Strawberry Blonde has no such scene from the moment it begins to the moment it (perfectly) ends.
Some movies fall short of perfection because of a kink in the casting. Again, that certainly isn’t the case with The Strawberry Blonde.
(Continued Below the legends…)
Rita Hayworth and James Cagney
Rita Hayworth and James Cagney are perfectly wonderful in their roles (as they were in every role they ever stepped into), but… and this is coming from Rita Hayworth’s biggest fan… this film gets its magic from Olivia de Havilland and her mesmerizing portrayal of Amy Lind. The character is written so wonderfully – she’s ahead of her time, feisty, fiery, daring, unique, and deliciously original.
Who in the world could play her other than an actress who was all of those things as well?! Olivia de Havilland was as perfect of a fit in the role of Amy Lind as anyone has ever been fit for a role. She knocked it out of the park and seemed to relish the role.
The only hint of a problem is that we are supposed to believe that Amy isn’t quite as attractive as Rita Hayworth’s Virginia (The Strawberry Blonde). Poppycock! Olivia de Havilland was as beautiful as anyone. Yes, EVEN Rita Hayworth.
The Strawberry Blonde is also perfectly directed – as in every scene, every “extra,” every line, every expression. Raoul Walsh was an extraordinary director and this was one of his greatest accomplishments.
In spite of loving Rita Hayworth as much as any star has ever been loved by anyone, I only fairly recently saw The Strawberry Blonde. I think I, ridiculously, kept putting it off because I didn’t think it’d be too good. Seriously, I looked at the costumes and I looked at James Cagney who seemed to me (THEN…not NOW!) to be out of place and I thought, “I’ll save this one for another time.” I had zero idea it would be as hilarious, colorful, and wonderful as it is.
Halfway through the third scene, I told myself, “Girl, you were a perfect twit to wait this long to see this one!”
If you’ve never seen The Strawberry Blonde… please, whatever you do, don’t be a twit like me and put if off another day. It is outstanding.
The Strawberry Blonde