Blonde Crazy

Blonde Crazy is a 1931 American pre-Code romantic comedy-drama film by Roy Del Ruth, starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Noel Francis, Louis Calhern, Ray Milland, and Guy Kibbee. The film is notable for one of Cagney's lines, a phrase often repeated by celebrity impersonators: "That dirty, double-crossin' rat!" [1]

Blonde Crazy
Theatrical poster
Directed byRoy Del Ruth
Written byKubec Glasmon
John Bright
StarringJames Cagney
Joan Blondell
Music byLeo F. Forbstein
CinematographySidney Hickox
Edited byRalph Dawson
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Release date
December 3, 1931
Running time
79 minutes
CountryUnited States


Bert Harris works for a hotel as a bellboy. One day, he meets Anne Roberts, who signs up as a chambermaid. He takes a fancy to her and lets her in on his racket, conning people out of money. They arrange for married hotel guest A. Rupert Johnson Jr. to be caught in a compromising position with Anne and get $5000 to keep a (fake) policeman from taking him to jail. From there, they leave town and embark on ever grander crooked schemes.

Anne falls in love with Bert, but he does not realize it until it is too late. By the time he proposes to her, she has transferred her affections to the respectable Joe Reynolds and marries him. Bert travels around Europe for a year. When he returns to the United States, he is no longer interested in crime.

However, Anne tracks him down and asks him for $30,000. It turns out that Joe has embezzled that amount from his employer. Bert does not have that much, but he comes up with a plan. He gets Joe to give the keys to the office and the combination of the company safe. He will break into the safe and steal what is left. Everyone will assume that he also took the $30,000 in negotiable bonds. However, Joe double crosses him; he has the police waiting. Bert manages to speed away in his car, but is shot and captured. When Anne comes to see him in his cell, she informs him that she found out what Joe did. Bert persuades her not to reveal everything to the police, telling her it would not help him anyway. She vows to be waiting for him after he serves his sentence, cheering him up.



Mordaunt Hall, critic for The New York Times, wrote that "Unedifying though the incidents are and feeble as is the attempt at a moral, the greater part of James Cagney's new picture, 'Blonde Crazy,' ... is lively and cleverly acted."[2]

Time felt the ending was out of place with the rest of the film and was only inserted there to provide a moralistic "law and order" ending.[3]

Cagney's line "That dirty, double-crossin' rat!" was nominated for the American Film Institute 2005 AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes[4]

Preservation status

  • A copy is in the collection of The Library of Congress.[5]

Home media

In 2014, Blonde Crazy was released on DVD in a Forbidden Hollywood box set. The cover features a publicity photo of Cagney and Blondell in a risque, pre-Code bathtub scene.[6]


  1. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films 1893-1993:Blonde Crazy
  2. Mordaunt Hall (December 4, 1931). "The Screen". The New York Times.
  3. "Cinema: The New Pictures: Dec. 14, 1931"
  4. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  5. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress, (<-book title) p.18 c.1978 by The American Film Institute
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