Who says film noir can’t be funny? Leigh Jason’s 1943 Columbia “B” production DANGEROUS BLONDES goes well out of its way to present a most arguable case.
Evelyn Keyes and Allyn Joslyn are the stars here: he plays Barry Craig, a rather timid writer of best-selling mystery novels, she’s his pretty but slightly daft wife Jane whose ditzy ideas wind up getting both of them knee-deep in a real life, grisly murder case. What could have been a pretty dreary affair winds up not only being a howlingly funny screwball romp, but a nasty and gnarly murder tale as well — with a body count that could hold its own with any RKO production of that era.
Boasting a supporting cast that would be the envy of any “B” picture — including Edmund Lowe, William Demarest, Anita Louise, and Ann Savage (her grisly send-off presages her demise in Edgar Ulmer’s classic DETOUR just two years later) — DANGEROUS BLONDES is indeed a noir comedy in serious need of rediscovery.
The story centers around a series of killings at a fashionable photography studio run by Edmund Lowe. Women keep turning up dead and when the evidence seems to point to one particular dame, the cops smugly declare the case closed. But then she suddenly winds up murdered and the fun really begins. And that’s when the Craigs step in. The laughs come fast and fairly furiously and are generally well-earned.
When I last ran this film, at the Roxie several years back, it was wildly well received by a crowd well-heeled in the hardest boiled noir films.