Film & Water #63 – Battle Circus/Blondie of the Follies



It's a double feature courtesy of Warner Archive! First up, Rob and returning guest Dr. Anj tackle 1953's BATTLE CIRCUS, starring Humphrey Bogart as a Korean War MASH surgeon! That's followed by Paul Spataro (TWO TRUE FREAKS NETWORK) joining Rob to talk about 1931's BLONDIE OF THE FOLLIES, an early talkie starring Marion Davies!

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5 responses to “Film & Water #63 – Battle Circus/Blondie of the Follies

  1. Both of these films were blind spots to me. Kind of interesting to think what would have happened had Battle Circus kept its M.A.S.H. 66 title. Would M.A.S.H. have had a different title? Who knows.

    I figured we were going to hear about Dagwood in the Blondie discussion, but I think I’m a bit early.

    Despite not knowing one thing about these movies, the discussion with Anj and Paul was great.


    1. Quite frankly, Battle Circus was the more evocative title.

      I saw this on the old WTBS, back when the programming mostly consisted of reruns of the Beverly Hillbillies and The Andy Griffith Show, a whole lot of movies, NASCAR, fishing shows, and Georgia Championship Wrestling (Human chess at its finest!)

      What would have been more interesting was of Robert Altman had actually filmed Richard Hornberger’s (under the pen name Richard Hooker) actual MASH book. They film uses bits and pieces; but, the book has a different flavor. The film started the trend of it being about Vietnam, instead of Korea. The book is more anti-authoritarian than anti-war, though there is a bit of overlap.

  2. FYI: Battle Circus just aired on TCM about a week ago. I have it sitting on my Tivo and will catch it ASAP now that I’ve heard your commentary.

    As for Blondie of the Follies, this another one with which I was unfamiliar. I believe Orson Welles once commented that he felt regretful as to how Susan Alexander (the Marion-inspired character) helped create the lasting impression that Davies was untalented. When she died in 1961, she left an estate of $20 million. Here’s a brief video on the Davies Hearst relationship:

    I was glad to hear you praise character actor James Gleason, who was a welcome addition to any movie in which he appeared be it comedy or drama. I’d recommend these as among his top 3 films:

    1. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) Remade in the 1970s as Heaven Can Wait. Gleason was Oscar-nominated.
    2. Suddenly (1954) This taut thriller stars Frank Sinatra as a would-be presidential assassin.
    3. Night of the Hunter (1955) This classic starring Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish, & Shelley Winters was the only film ever directed by Charles Laughton.

  3. Thanks for a hugely enjoyable show chaps, I’ve not seen either film. So Blondie of the Follies had nothing to do with the comic strip? It sounds a fun watch, I love fast-talking chorines a la Gold Diggers of 1933, I must see this film.

    And as for Battle Circus, it sounds a fascinating watch. It’s funny, when you were talking about the grenade scene I was thinking, didn’t I see that on M*A*S*H? And of course I did.

    (Talking of the TV show, did it always have the incongruous laugh track in US screenings? It vanished after a couple of years in the BBC transmissions, and I recall reading that it was removed because Brits hated it. That seems a lot of trouble to go to for just us!)

    Purely in the basis of Rob saying Nightmare Alley is nuts, I’ve

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