Havana Widows is a 1933 American pre-Code comedy film directed by Ray Enright, starring Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell. It was released by Warner Bros. on November 18, 1933. Two chorus girls travel to Havana in search of rich husbands. Their target is Deacon Jones, a self-appointed moralist who can't drink without getting drunk.
The film is the first of a series of five movies by Warner Bros. where Blondell and Farrell were paired as blonde bombshell comedy team, throughout the early 1930s. The other films in the series include Kansas City Princess (1934), Traveling Saleslady (1935), We're in the Money (1935) and Miss Pacific Fleet (1935). Four of the five films were directed by Ray Enright. Farrell and Blondell also co-starred in other Warner Bros. movies: Three on a Match (1932), I've Got Your Number (1934) and Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936).
When Mae Knight (Joan Blondell) and Sadie Appleby (Glenda Farrell) lost their jobs in a burlesque show, they decide to follow the advice of a former showgirl and travels to Havana to find a millionaire husband. Pretending to visit Mae's sick mother in Kansas, they borrow the money from Herman Brody (Allen Jenkins). Herman does not have the money himself, but convinces his boss, Butch O'Neill, to loan it to him the money. Unfortunately, Herman loses the money gambling and decides to forge Butch's name to an insurance policy in order to replace the missing funds.
In Havana, Sadie and Mae pretend to be rich widows. They think they have it made when they meet Deacon Jones (Guy Kibbee) a wealthy man who cannot afford a scandal. However, Mae is smitten with Deacon's handsome son Bob Jones (Lyle Talbot) but finds out that Bob has no money of his own. When Mae and Sadie are introduced to Deacon's wife, they realize that a marriage proposal from him is out of the question. Their lawyer, Duffy (Frank McHugh) advises them to trap Deacon in a scandalous situation and blackmail him instead. Meanwhile, the bank calls to verify the forged check. Herman tries to collect his payoff from the agent who sold him the policy, only to discover that he has left town. When he tries to track down Sadie and Mae to get his money back, he learns that they are not in Kansas.
Herman decides to follow them to Havana. He meets Duffy in a local bar, and Duffy talks Herman into playing Mae's outraged husband, which he agreed because it was the only way to get his money. Duffy has Deacon kidnapped, but he resists Mae's seduction attempts. Nevertheless, a photographer catches him wrapped in a sheet with Mae and the photos help Deacon's wife to get a divorce. Butch finds Herman, but he only wants him to return to work because his luck has been bad ever since Herman left. Bob gets a job in New York and married Mae, and Sadie marries Herman.Joan Blondell as Mae Knight
Glenda Farrell as Sadie Appleby
Guy Kibbee as Deacon R. Jones
Allen Jenkins as Herman Brody
Lyle Talbot as Bob Jones
Frank McHugh as Mr. Duffy
Ruth Donnelly as Mrs. Emily Jones
Hobart Cavanaugh as Mr. Otis
The New York Times movie review said: "It is still possible to enjoy the old reliables in a mild way. Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell, as the flip and caustic sisters of the chorus; Guy Kibbee, as the thick-skulled business man with a confused ambition to see life; Allen Jenkins, as the dead-pan gangster; Frank McHugh, as the perennial drunk who can slant in several directions at once; Ruth Donnelly, as the prim wife out of tank-town burlesque—they are staple commodities. They are amusing and likable players; they deserve a better fate than comedies like "Havana Widows". The new film is an aimless attempt to wring some new humors out of the breach-of-promise racket. Mr. Kibbee is the subject of the extortion scheme in which almost the whole cast is involved. The Misses Blondell and Farrell, down on their luck and badly in need of a grub-stake, arrange with Mr. McHugh for the amiable Mr. Kibbee to be found en déshabillé in a hotel room. Unfortunately, Miss Blondell loses her heart to the victim's handsome son. That confuses matters. Let "Havana Widows" rest there."
Warner Archive released a double feature DVD collection of Havana Widows (1933) and I've Got Your Number (1934) on December 13, 2011.