Bamboo Blonde The (1946)
Directed by Anthony Mann known mostly for working with James Stewart on (primarily) Westerns like The Naked Spur (1953) this film stars singer Frances Langford in the title role Ralph Edwards (from TV’s This is Your Life) Russell Wade (a bit player in films like Bandit Ranger (1942) the Falcon Series and even The Body Snatcher (1945)) and Jane Greer (Out of the Past (1947)). Based on Wayne Whittaker’s story this slightly above average B musical romance features a screenplay by Olive Cooper and Lawrence Kimble.
The film opens with businessman Eddie Clark (Edwards) telling a reporter the story behind his conglomerate of products branded “Bamboo Blonde”. Patrick Ransom Jr. son of “the Ransoms” a wealthy couple in New York is about to join the war in the Pacific as the new Captain of a B-29 crew one that has been together for some time. He is naturally apprehensive about the assignment as their new skipper wondering if they’ll accept him and is also dismayed that his socialite fiancee (Greer) is not there with his parents to see him off. Though his folks don’t really care for her they’ve kept it to themselves. When he phones her she says that she can’t make it; she doesn’t however tell him it’s because she’d rather go to a party … without him.
Wanting to ditch him a member of his crew tells him they are all meeting at Eddie’s club which unbeknownst to him is actually off limits to serviceman. When he arrives he sees that the establishment is virtually empty. Before he is seen by the M.P.’s in Eddie’s office Louise the nightclub singer played by Langford hides him in her dressing room. Much to his enjoyment (and ours?) she sings a song which he is able to watch through the curtains and upon learning that the club is “out of bounds” he then exits out the backdoor. When Louise is leaving the club through same door he is still there having just figured out that he was dumped by his crew. She offers to take him to dinner and does at a down home place called “Mama’s”. They have a wonderful time though when Patrick tells Louise he lives on a farm she assumes he’s a farmer and he doesn’t enlighten her further.
Two hours later Patrick and Louise are back at the station and he notices a photo booth insisting that she sit for an instant picture which she does. Then when he’s kissing her goodbye his whole crew witnesses the event whistling and applauding. Unfortunately the ace crew he inherited has a string of mishaps and fails to succeed immediately under their new skipper. One of the crew hatches an idea to paint the face of (who they assume is) the Captain’s girlfriend the blonde Louise on the body of sarong-clad girl on the nose of the plane … for luck! Since Patrick is too embarrassed that he doesn’t even know the girl’s name the crew dubs her the “Bamboo Blonde”. And of course the good luck charm works. In fact Captain Patrick’s B-29 becomes the most successful bomber in the squadron. Once the news of this reaches the home front Eddie sees it as an opportunity to market his club with Louise as the “Bamboo Blonde” which though she too is embarrassed he does and to great success.
The Armed Forces then decides to bring the “Bamboo Blonde” and its crew back home to sell war bonds across the country. Wanting as much publicity as possible they (including Eddie) arrange a big welcome home party and a reunion for Patrick and Louise who are both thinking they got the other into something undesirable. Patrick’s “fiancee” Eileen (Greer) suddenly becomes interested in him again now that he’s a war hero and decides to get him back. She goes to the festivities with the intent to disrupt things and succeeds by whisking him away. Later though with his mother’s assistance Patrick is able to escape Eileen and return to find Louise at “Mama’s” and the two of them pick up where they left off. There is some more drama however instigated by Eileen who doesn’t give up easily. But things end up pretty much where one expects them to in this one.