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Preston Sturges' final American film was generally conceded to be a disaster in 1949; even star Betty Grable publicly bad-mouthed the finished product. When seen today, Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, while no classic, seems a lot better than it did five decades ago. Grable plays a western dancehall girl named Freddie, who is forced to take it on the lam after accidentally shooting a judge (she'd been aiming at her faithless boyfriend Blackie Jobero, played by Cesar Romero). Arriving in the tiny burg of Bashful Bend, Freddie is mistaken for the schoolmarm whom the town elders have recently hired. Taking advantage of this mistaken-identity situation, Freddie puts the make on wealthy banker Charles Hingelman (Rudy Vallee, a Sturges "regular"), who owns a valuable gold mine. Before the film's 77 minutes are over, Freddie finds herself smack dab in the middle of a shootout between the Good Guys and a family of dimwitted outlaws.

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FX38632 Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend DVD (1949/Betty Grable) $19.98