Kansas City Princess (1934)
|Content Rating||Passed (Passed)|
|Language||English, French, German|
Kansas City Princess
Kansas City Princess is a 1934 American comedy film starring Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell. The film is directed by William Keighley, with a script by Sy Bartlett and Manuel Seff. In the film, two Kansas City manicurists go on the run after angering the fiancé of one of them.
Following the success of their initial film Havana Widows (1933), Warner Bros. sought to duplicate the success by pairing Blondell and Farrell as a comedy duo of two blonde bombshells; Kansas City Princess was the third film to feature this pairing. The film was released by Warner Bros. on October 13, 1934.
Kansas City manicurist Rosie Sturges (Joan Blondell) is in a relationship with minor gangster Dynamite Carson (Robert Armstrong), much to the annoyance of her friend and roommate Marie Callahan (Glenda Farrell), a fellow manicurist looking for a rich husband. Dynamite and Rosie crash a date of Marie's with a wealthy customer; Dynamite gives Rosie an engagement ring, while his antics scare off Marie's date. Marie urges Rosie to drop Dynamite, and go after the three things a girl really needs "money, jack (fur), and dough (diamonds)." When Dynamite goes out of town, Marie urges Rosie to go on a date with a customer, Jimmy the Duke (Gordon Westcott), who steals the ring. Unbeknownst to the girls, Jimmy is an associate of Dynamite, who is furious to find that Marie went on a date behind his back.
Fearing Dynamite's anger, Rosie and Marie leave Kansas City by disguising themselves as Girl Scouts to get a train to New York. After learning of their escape, Dynamite goes after the girls. While escaping from Dynamite at the New York train station, the girls meet two businessmen, Samuel Warren (Hobart Cavanaugh) and Jim Cameron (T. Roy Barnes), who annoy Rosie. After Dynamite corners them onto a ship to Paris, the girls trick the two men into throwing their purses out the window to borrow money for their fares and new clothes. Meanwhile, Dynamite – who also got caught on the ship – becomes a bodyguard for millionaire Junior Ashcraft (Hugh Herbert), who is going to Paris to confront his wife (Renee Whitney) over her affair with Dr. Sascha Pilnakoff (Ivan Lebedeff).
When Rosie and Marie learn that Ashcraft is on the ship, they pose as French manicurists to persuade him into giving them the money to repay their debt, not knowing Dynamite is his bodyguard. After being briefly convinced by Rosie to go along with their plan, he exposes them to Junior, and the girls fall into hysterics. Junior gives them the money, and asks them to accompany him to Paris to meet with his private investigator Marcel (Osgood Perkins).
In Paris, Junior and the trio meet with Marcel, where Marie convinces them to let Rosie pose as Dr. Sascha's lover, to get Junior's wife to leave him and reconcile with Junior. However, Marcel double-crosses him, and instead leads his wife to find Junior with Marie. Junior decides to get a divorce and marry Marie. Rosie also accepts Dynamite's marriage proposal, but only if he goes straight.
- Joan Blondell as Rosie Sturges
- Glenda Farrell as Marie Callahan
- Robert Armstrong as Dynamite 'Dynie' Carson
- Hugh Herbert as Junior Ashcraft
- Osgood Perkins as Marcel Duryea
- T. Roy Barnes as Alderman James 'Jim' Cameron
- Hobart Cavanaugh as Alderman Sam Warren
- Gordon Westcott as Jimmy the Dude
- Vince Barnett as Quincy
- Ivan Lebedeff as Dr. Sascha Pilnakoff
- Renee Whitney as Mrs. Ashcraft
- Arthur Hoyt as Mr. Greenway
The film was completed three months before its release, but Warner Bros. decided to delay the release of the film until after the birth of Joan Blondell's child, so that Blondell would not be off the screen for too long a period. Before the release, the film was titled "Princess of Kansas City".
Andre Senwald of The New York Times wrote: "If you can imagine the Misses Blondell and Farrell as bogus girl Scouts you can imagine almost anything, a factor which should prove of considerable assistance at Kansas City Princess. In the athletic farce at the Roxy these racy girls, the screen's foremost professors in the study of the female acquisitive instinct, are demonstrating the merry art of getting something for nothing. Like most of the product which wears the Warner Brothers trade-mark, this one is fast and lively even when it isn't funny. Its principal misfortune is that its stock is shopworn. The cynical gold-digger has gone out of fashion lately, and the photoplay suffers the ills of obsolescence. The humor is improved by Hugh Herbert and Robert Armstrong, while Osgood Perkins is attractively loony as a treacherous French detective. But Kansas City Princess is muscular, loud and frantic, rather than impressively hilarious, and even for farce it never makes a great deal of sense."