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Blessed Event(1932)

Any fan of the cynical, slyly sexual films that flourished before strict Production Code enforcement arrived in 1934, will treasure this fast-paced comedy starring Lee Tracy. He’s a newspaper advertising man who takes over the gossip column and turns it into a cash cow with his combination of shocking revelations, snide innuendos and the occasional crime story (the character was reportedly inspired by radio gossip columnist and newspaper man Walter Winchell). Tracy spent years as a stage actor before moving into film, later portraying Hildy Johnson in the quintessential newspaper play The Front Page. His stage work helped hone his comedic timing and he was an expert at speeding through dialogue, and he’s almost matched by Ruth Donnelly as his wise-cracking secretary. Other notable cast members are Warner Bros. stalwart Dick Powell, in his film debut as a crooner Tracy’s character hates, Mary Brian as Gladys Price and Ned Sparks as a rival reporter. The film is directed by Roy Del Ruth, who started out writing and directing for Mack Sennett, so he knew how to execute a good gag. His fast-paced, light touch helped set the house style for Warner Bros. in the early 1930s. (d. Roy Del Ruth, 80m, 35 mm)

**Preserved by the Library of Congress.

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