Blonde Inspiration


1h 12m 1941
Blonde Inspiration

Brief Synopsis

A pulp-fiction writer hires a curvaceous blonde to be his muse.

Film Details

Also Known As
Fools Rush In, Four Cents a Word
Genre
Comedy
Adaptation
Release Date
Feb 7, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Four Cents a Word by John Cecil Holm (unproduced).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Film Length
6,499ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Aspiring novelist Jonathan Briggs, whose book Wagon Tracks to California is his passion, has recently had three stories returned unread by the pulp magazine Smoky Trails . Jonathan is despondent until his kindly uncle, Reginald Mason, tells him to leave him and his overbearing aunt Victoria, barge into the magazine's office and demand that they buy the stories. With a $2,000 loan from Reginald, Jonathan goes to the New York office of publisher Phil Hendricks. Unknown to Jonathan, Hendricks and his partner, "Bittsy" Conway, are on the brink of financial ruin. A large company that wants to buy the magazine will not go through with the deal if the next issues fail, while their printer is demanding payment of a large past due bill and their sole writer, "Dusty" King, has apparently gone on a bender. Their only hope is a three hundred dollar bet on a horse, but even that fails. Although a desperate Phil accepts Jonathan as his new writer, he is soon dropped when Dusty shows up. Jonathan and Phil's secretary-girl friend, Margie Blake, go to lunch and his Jeffersonian ideals so impress her that she urges him to approach Phil again. Because Dusty has meanwhile refused to surrender his stories without pay, Phil takes Jonathan as their new writer when Jonathan offers his own money. They take Jonathan's stories and want his novel as well, but when he refuses to give that up, they take him to the company penthouse and order him to deliver a complete novel the next day. An exhausted Jonathan finishes the manuscript, but to Phil's and Bittsy's chagrin, it contains no murders. Now Phil orders Jonathan back to work and tells Margie to take dictation. Using Dusty's "plotter," a device that indicates plot moves at every turn of the wheel, Jonathan is able to finish the novel on time. Two days later, however, he wants to quit because his published stories have Dusty's name on them, but Phil reminds him of his contract and tells him he will get his money back when the magazine is sold. Meanwhile, Reginald needs his money because Victoria is furious, and Dusty, who has secretly been watching Jonathan from the ledge of the penthouse, is furious that his name has been misused. Although Jonathan wants to quit, Margie asks him to stay with Smoky Trails until the sale and secretly forces Phil to sign over one-third interest to him. After the novel is finished, Dusty sneaks into the penthouse and takes the manuscript onto the ledge while Jonathan and Margie are sleeping. Upon awakening, they try to retrieve it, but the pages fall to the ground. Now too exhausted to continue, Jonathan falls asleep and cannot be roused. Phil finds Wagon Tracks to California and decides to print it, over Margie's protests. After writing a note, she then leaves, and Jonathan is awakened by Victoria, who demands that he return the money or pay it back by working for her for five dollars-a-week. Just then Jonathan discovers that the manuscript is missing and thinks Margie has stolen it. He goes to the printer to stop the presses, but destroys the wrong machine and is jailed. Margie visits him in jail and reveals that she has put his name on the novel. As they are confessing their love for each other, C. V. Hutchins, head of the company that wanted to buy Smoky Trails , offers Jonathan a job writing the kind of "sentimental hoakum" at which he excells. Finally realizing that he is a pulp writer and not a great novelist, Jonathan demands four cents-a-word and proposes to Margie.

Film Details

Also Known As
Fools Rush In, Four Cents a Word
Genre
Comedy
Adaptation
Release Date
Feb 7, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Four Cents a Word by John Cecil Holm (unproduced).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Film Length
6,499ft (7 reels)

Articles

Blonde Inpsiration (1941) -


A mere blip on the radar of Busby Berkeley's overall career, Blonde Inspiration (1941) nonetheless may have had special significance for Hollywood's premiere dance and film director, who often felt undervalued by an industry that profited from his vision and technical innovations. Having abdicated Warner Brothers for the more appreciative climate of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Berkeley displayed a gift for light comedy with Strike Up the Band (1940), MGM's follow-up to Babes in Arms (1939), prompting the studio to pitch him the similarly bantamweight Blonde Inspiration (1941). The non-musical tale of a fledgling writer (perennial Hollywood bit player Johnny Shelton, elevated temporarily to the majors) who sells a story to a big city magazine publisher (Doctor Cyclops' Albert Dekker) only to find his yarn attributed to another, more established writer (Donald Meek), the film made comic hay of Berkeley's plight of seeing his best work (the Scarecrow dance in Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz [1939], the bravura finale of W. S. Van Dyke's Bitter Sweet [1940]) go uncredited. The February 1941 release failed to find favor with American moviegoers, who remained confused by the title, given that leading lady Virginia Grey spends the entire run time as a brunette. Berkeley had better luck when he reteamed with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney for the hit musical Babes on Broadway (1941).

By Richard Harland Smith

Blonde Inpsiration (1941) -

Blonde Inpsiration (1941) -

A mere blip on the radar of Busby Berkeley's overall career, Blonde Inspiration (1941) nonetheless may have had special significance for Hollywood's premiere dance and film director, who often felt undervalued by an industry that profited from his vision and technical innovations. Having abdicated Warner Brothers for the more appreciative climate of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Berkeley displayed a gift for light comedy with Strike Up the Band (1940), MGM's follow-up to Babes in Arms (1939), prompting the studio to pitch him the similarly bantamweight Blonde Inspiration (1941). The non-musical tale of a fledgling writer (perennial Hollywood bit player Johnny Shelton, elevated temporarily to the majors) who sells a story to a big city magazine publisher (Doctor Cyclops' Albert Dekker) only to find his yarn attributed to another, more established writer (Donald Meek), the film made comic hay of Berkeley's plight of seeing his best work (the Scarecrow dance in Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz [1939], the bravura finale of W. S. Van Dyke's Bitter Sweet [1940]) go uncredited. The February 1941 release failed to find favor with American moviegoers, who remained confused by the title, given that leading lady Virginia Grey spends the entire run time as a brunette. Berkeley had better luck when he reteamed with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney for the hit musical Babes on Broadway (1941). By Richard Harland Smith

Virginia Grey (1917-2004)


Virginia Grey, one MGM's lovliest, but underused leading ladies of the late '30s and '40s, died in Woodland Hills, California on August 1 of heart failure. She was 87.

She was was born in Los Angeles on March 22, 1917, and was exposed to the film industry at a very young age. Her father, Ray Grey, was a Keystone Cop and acted in several other of Mack Sennett's comedies with the likes of Mabel Normand, Dorothy Gish and Ben Turpin. When her father died when she was still a child, Virginia's mother encouraged her to join the acting game and audition for the role of Eva for Uncle Tom's Cabin, a big budget picture for Universal Studios in the day. She won the role, and acted in a few more pictures at the studio: The Michigan Kid and Heart to Heart (both 1928), before she decided to temporarily leave acting to finish her schooling.

She returned to films after graduating from high school, and after bouncing around Hollywood doing bits for various studios, she hooked up with MGM in 1938. Her roles in her first few films were fairly non-descript: In Test Pilot and Ladies in Distress (both 1938), she did little more than look pretty, but in the following year she had scene-stealing parts in The Women (upstaging Joan Crawford in a delicious scene as a wisecracking perfume counter girl) and as the suffering heroine in Another Thin Man (both 1939).

Despite her versatility (she could handle comedy or drama with equal effectiveness), MGM would cast her in some above-average, but hardly starmaking movies: Whistling in the Dark, The Big Store (both 1941), and Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942). She left MGM in 1943 and became a freelance actress for several studios, but her material as a leading lady throughout the '40s were mediocre: Swamp Fire, House of Horrors (both 1946), and Mexican Hayride (1948) were sadly the more interesting films in her post-MGM period. But by the '50s she was a well-established character actress, appearing in fairly big-budget pictures: All That Heaven Allows, The Rose Tattoo (both 1955), Jeanne Eagels (1957).

In the '60s, Grey turned to television and found work on a variety of hit shows: Wagon Train, Peter Gunn, Bonanza, My Three Sons, I Spy, and several others; plus she also captured a a couple of notable supporting parts in these films: Madame X (1966), and Airport (1970), before retiring completely from acting in the early '70s. She is survived by her sister, Lorraine Grey Heindorf, two nieces and two nephews.

by Michael T. Toole

Virginia Grey (1917-2004)

Virginia Grey, one MGM's lovliest, but underused leading ladies of the late '30s and '40s, died in Woodland Hills, California on August 1 of heart failure. She was 87. She was was born in Los Angeles on March 22, 1917, and was exposed to the film industry at a very young age. Her father, Ray Grey, was a Keystone Cop and acted in several other of Mack Sennett's comedies with the likes of Mabel Normand, Dorothy Gish and Ben Turpin. When her father died when she was still a child, Virginia's mother encouraged her to join the acting game and audition for the role of Eva for Uncle Tom's Cabin, a big budget picture for Universal Studios in the day. She won the role, and acted in a few more pictures at the studio: The Michigan Kid and Heart to Heart (both 1928), before she decided to temporarily leave acting to finish her schooling. She returned to films after graduating from high school, and after bouncing around Hollywood doing bits for various studios, she hooked up with MGM in 1938. Her roles in her first few films were fairly non-descript: In Test Pilot and Ladies in Distress (both 1938), she did little more than look pretty, but in the following year she had scene-stealing parts in The Women (upstaging Joan Crawford in a delicious scene as a wisecracking perfume counter girl) and as the suffering heroine in Another Thin Man (both 1939). Despite her versatility (she could handle comedy or drama with equal effectiveness), MGM would cast her in some above-average, but hardly starmaking movies: Whistling in the Dark, The Big Store (both 1941), and Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942). She left MGM in 1943 and became a freelance actress for several studios, but her material as a leading lady throughout the '40s were mediocre: Swamp Fire, House of Horrors (both 1946), and Mexican Hayride (1948) were sadly the more interesting films in her post-MGM period. But by the '50s she was a well-established character actress, appearing in fairly big-budget pictures: All That Heaven Allows, The Rose Tattoo (both 1955), Jeanne Eagels (1957). In the '60s, Grey turned to television and found work on a variety of hit shows: Wagon Train, Peter Gunn, Bonanza, My Three Sons, I Spy, and several others; plus she also captured a a couple of notable supporting parts in these films: Madame X (1966), and Airport (1970), before retiring completely from acting in the early '70s. She is survived by her sister, Lorraine Grey Heindorf, two nieces and two nephews. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Four Cents a Word and Fools Rush In. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, Lloyd Nolan was to be in the cast. Although Nolan's name also appeared on production charts, he was not in the released film. The news item also noted that actor Albert Dekker was borrowed from Paramount and B. P. "Bernie" Fineman was producing his first film for M-G-M.