To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
Live Statistics
English Articles
Improved in 24 Hours
Added in 24 Hours
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

The Strawberry Blonde

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Strawberry Blonde
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRaoul Walsh
Screenplay byJulius J. Epstein
Philip G. Epstein
Based onOne Sunday Afternoon
1933 play
by James Hagan
Produced byHal B. Wallis
StarringJames Cagney
Olivia de Havilland
Rita Hayworth
Jack Carson
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Edited byWilliam Holmes
Music byHeinz Roemheld
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • February 21, 1941 (1941-02-21)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Strawberry Blonde is a 1941 American romantic comedy film directed by Raoul Walsh, starring James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland, and featuring Rita Hayworth, Alan Hale, Jack Carson, and George Tobias. Set in New York City around 1900, it features songs of that era such as "The Band Played On", "Bill Bailey", "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie", "Wait Till The Sun Shines Nellie", and "Love Me and the World Is Mine". It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1941 for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. The title is most often listed beginning with the word The (as it appears in the opening credits), but the film's posters and promotional materials called it simply Strawberry Blonde.

The film was a more lighthearted remake of the 1933 non-musical movie One Sunday Afternoon, directed by Stephen Roberts and starring Gary Cooper. Unlike that earlier picture, it was a hit. In 1948, Walsh directed a third version of the story, also called One Sunday Afternoon, featuring early 20th-century songs combined with original musical numbers.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    19 692
    25 066
    39 749
    8 804
  • The Strawberry Blonde (1941) -- Exactly
  • The Strawberry Blonde (Raoul Walsh, 1941) Trailer
  • Strawberry Blonde, The - Original Trailer
  • The Strawberry Blonde - Song
  • Olivia de Havilland & James Cagney - Scene from 'The Strawberry Blonde' (1941)



The movie runs as a long flashback in the 1890's in New York City and opening with Biff Grimes (James Cagney) as an unsuccessful dentist on a Sunday without work. Hugo Barnstead (Jack Carson), an old partner, nemesis and rival makes a desperate appointment to see him. As Biff considers killing Hugo when he gives him nitrous oxide, the flashback begins.

Biff falls in love with strawberry-blonde society girl Virginia Brush (Rita Hayworth). However, Biff's more enterprising "pal", Hugo, wins Virginia's affections. Biff ends up marrying Virginia's less-glamorous best friend, Amy Lind (Olivia de Havilland), who Biff eventually realizes was the right one for him all along.


Development and production

Both the director of Strawberry Blonde, Raoul Walsh, and its star James Cagney came to the project looking for a change of pace.[2] Walsh had just completed the dark Humphrey Bogart/Ida Lupino vehicle High Sierra, shot largely on location, and the good notices the film received had Walsh "as fired up as Jack Warner to keep the ball rolling on projects in development and production."[3] The transition between the outdoorsy film noir and the light and sentimental studio-centered Strawberry Blonde "proved no problem" for Walsh.[3]

Cagney usually played tough guys at Warner Bros. in the early 1930s, but he had shown his talents at lighter, musical material in films like Footlight Parade (1933)[4] He left the studio in mid-decade, then returned in 1938 with a contract that gave him more control in choosing roles and brought his younger brother William Cagney as assistant producer and informal buffer between himself and studio executives.[5] However, Cagney soon found himself getting slotted into tough guy parts. and by 1940, he "wanted a nostalgic part—any part—to take him away from the gangsters he was now loathe [sic] to play."[6]

A property on the lot that might fill that bill was One Sunday Afternoon. It had started early in 1933 as a successful Broadway play by James Hagan[7] and had been adapted later that year by Paramount as a vehicle for Gary Cooper. It was "the only real flop of Cooper's stellar and carefully orchestrated career"[8]—and the only Cooper picture ever to lose money. James Cagney had qualms about it because it would be a remake,[6] and Jack Warner knew it needed "complete retooling."[8] It was a "pet project" of William Cagney, who saw it as a "gift to [the brothers'] mother, Carrie Cagney, who would live only a few more years",[8] and Warner recognized the inside track this leverage would give him with his often recalcitrant star. Warner screened the 1933 film and wrote a memo to his production head Hal B. Wallis telling him to watch it also: "It will be hard to stay through the entire running of the picture, but do this so you will know what not to do."[8]

Wallis knew the trick was to tailor the script as a vehicle for Cagney, who had yet to commit either to the project or even to his brother. Wallis had a first draft of a screenplay done by Stephen Morehouse Avery that satisfied no one;[9] he called in the Epstein brothers, Julius and Phillip, for another vision—one that might hook Cagney into the project. The brothers and William all concurred that the first thing to do was move things from the play's midwest setting to New York City because "they all knew it so much better."[6] Said Julius: "We thought the reason [the Cooper film] lost money was it was too bucolic. It took place in a little country town. We said 'Change it to the big city. Put it in New York.'"[10] The Epstein version quickly took shape, aided by the objective of making it a Cagney picture. "When we went on the rewrite," Julius said, "we knew it was for Cagney. That was a help."[10]

Cagney still was reluctant. Wallis was getting impatient; he considered the emerging John Garfield for the role of Biff Grimes. By July 1940, concern about the impasse stretched all the way to New York, where Harry Warner cabled brother Jack that he was willing to give Cagney 10% of the gross,[6] and then Cagney began to budge. One issue was that he didn't want to play scenes with the much-taller Jack Carson; he would prefer the shorter Brian Donlevy or the shorter-still Lloyd Nolan. The difference was that Nolan commanded $2,000 per week and that Carson got $750 per week.[6] Despite Cagney's misgivings, Carson was cast as Hugo Barnstead.

More problematic was the casting of the Virginia Brush role, which was originally created for Ann Sheridan, the studio's "Oomph Girl".[11] Sheridan was in one of her contract disputes with the studio and refused to do the film. Jack Warner asked Walsh to talk Sheridan into it, but she still refused.[6] Wallis tested actress Brenda Marshall for the part, but Walsh spoke up about "a girl" he had seen in several Columbia pictures: young Rita Hayworth. "He thought she was perfect for the part, and after she was signed without a hitch, from then on he always referred to Hayworth as his 'find' (despite [the splash she had made in] Only Angels Have Wings released in 1939)."[6]

Hayworth received $450 per week for the film and began work immediately with makeup man Perc Westmore to find the look for the title character in what would soon be retitled Strawberry Blonde. After shooting test footage and many stills of his makeup experiments, Westmore memoed Wallis: "Her head is so large and she has so much hair that it will practically be impossible to put a wig on her. Whatever color you decide on, she will be happy to have it made that color. Then at the end of the picture, we will dye it back to its natural color."[12] This film marked the first time Hayworth was seen as a redhead and the only time that audiences heard her real singing voice.[12]

The shooting of Strawberry Blonde began on October 21, 1940. Wallis and Walsh quickly came to problems. The producer thought his director was coming in too close on the actors, that the close-ups decreased the nostalgia by obscuring the period backgrounds. Wallis's October 29, 1940 memo chided "You have so much opportunity on this picture for atmosphere and composition...and I hate like hell to see them go by without full advantage being taken of what we have."[12] (Several months later, with Michael Curtiz on Yankee Doodle Dandy, Wallis's complaints would be just the opposite: "Mike, get the story from the actors' faces, instead of going all over the place.")[13] Walsh in reality had "memorized the entire script and had worked out every camera angle and move—a visual map of just how he would shoot."[13] As the footage continued to flow, the memos slowed, then stopped.

Olivia de Havilland had no idea of the friction between the two, no problem with the closeups, and she debunked Walsh's reputation as a tough guy. "I loved working with Raoul. He seemed to understand perfectly the characters we were playing, and to understand, too, the 'actor' approach to them. It was a happy, harmonious set, a happy picture to make."[13] The screenwriters too found Walsh a good boss. Julius Epstein said he "was great. He was very businesslike. He didn't change a word on The Strawberry Blonde. Some writers complained about Walsh. My experience with him was very good."[10]

When Warner Bros. released Strawberry Blonde on February 21, 1941, "the studio knew it had a hit on its hands."[14] Walsh considered it his most successful picture to date, and he called it his favorite film.[14]


From the 1941 trailer:

Critic Bosley Crowther praised Strawberry Blonde in a New York Times February 1941 review, calling it "lusty, affectionate, and altogether winning."[15] Part of its "amiable, infectious quality", he wrote, came from its cast: "James Cagney, true to form, is excellent as the pugnacious and proud little guy who 'don't take nothing from nobody' cause that's the kind of hairpin he is. Olivia de Havilland is sweet and sympathetic as the girl he marries and Rita Hayworth makes a classic 'flirt' of the one who got away." Part of it also came from the screenplay by Casablanca writers Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein: they took "the little play, One Sunday Afternoon... and fashioned from it a gas-lit comedy, laced with sentimental romance, about a fellow who thinks he's been played for a chump, but, in the end, discovers that he's the winner." Crowther also liked the supporting performances of George Tobias and Jack Carson.[15] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an aggregate score of 100% based on 9 critic reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10.[16]

The entertainment trade publication Variety liked it as well: "Cagney and de Havilland provide topnotch performances that do much to keep up interest in the proceedings. Rita Hayworth is an eyeful as the title character, while Jack Carson is excellent as the politically ambitious antagonist of the dentist."[17]

In Halliwell's Film Guide (1994), reviewer Leslie Halliwell describes the production as a "pleasant period comedy drama" and recognizes its three stars and cinematographer James Wong Howe for their outstanding contributions.[18]

In 1998, Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader included the film in his unranked list of the best American films not included on the AFI Top 100.[19]


Home media

Strawberry Blonde was released on both VHS and in a DVD edition through the Warner Archive Collection.


  1. ^ Hagen, Wagner, Tompkins "Movie Dubbers",
  2. ^ Moss, Marilyn Ann (2011). Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood's Legendary Director. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-3393-5. p. 198
  3. ^ a b Moss, p. 198
  4. ^ Warren, Doug, and James Cagney (1986). Cagney: The Authorized Biography. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-90207-7. p. 101
  5. ^ Warren, p. 124
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Moss, p. 200
  7. ^ Halliwell, Leslie with John Walker, ed. (1994). Halliwell's Film Guide. New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 0-06-273241-2. p. 894
  8. ^ a b c d Moss, p. 199
  9. ^ McGilligan, Patrick (1986). Backstory: Interviews with Screenwriters of Hollywood's Golden Age. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05666-3. p. 180
  10. ^ a b c McGilligan, p. 180
  11. ^ Katz, Ephraim, Fred Klein and Ronald Dean Nolen (2005). The Film Encyclopedia. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-074214-3. p. 1284
  12. ^ a b c Moss, p. 201
  13. ^ a b c Moss, p. 202
  14. ^ a b Moss, p. 203
  15. ^ a b Crowther, Bosley (February 22, 1941). "James Cagney in a Nostalgic Comedy of the 1890s, Strawberry Blonde, at the Strand". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Strawberry Blonde". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  17. ^ Variety, February 12, 1941
  18. ^ Halliwell, p. 1140
  19. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (June 25, 1998). "List-o-Mania: Or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love American Movies". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on April 13, 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 24 May 2024, at 20:28
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.