My personal picks to introduce new viewers to classic Hollywood star Ginger Rogers.
The Gay Divorcee
Mimi Glossop wants a divorce so her Aunt Hortense hires a professional to play the correspondent in apparent infidelity... (107 mins.)
“ What better place to start than with her first co-headlining musical with Fred Astaire? Ginger is probably best remembered for the ten musicals she made with Fred. This one set the tone for the others, striking the right balance between screwball comedy, charming romance, wonderful music, and incredible dancing. All of the pairings are great fun, but this one may be the funniest. Ginger and Fred are great together. ” - Jimmy L.
An American dancer comes to Britain and falls for a model whom he initially annoyed, but she mistakes him for his goofy producer. (101 mins.)
“ Follow that with another Astaire & Rogers star vehicle (fourth pairing overall), which recycles the basic mistaken identity screwball plot of "The Gay Divorcee", but is charming nonetheless. The songs are a bit more memorable in this one, including classics "Cheek To Cheek" and "Top Hat, White Tie & Tails". Ginger is beautiful and charming and the movie is romantic, lighthearted fun. ” - Jimmy L.
A performer and gambler travels to New York City to raise the $25,000 he needs to marry his fiancée, only to become entangled with a beautiful aspiring dancer. (103 mins.)
“ We move to Fred & Ginger's sixth pairing, another all-time classic. The style is a bit different from other run-of-the-mill Astaire/Rogers outings, with a new director and some different cast members. The dancing is superb, Ginger is beautiful, and the songs include some timeless standards ("The Way You Look Tonight", "Pick Yourself Up", "A Fine Romance"). The movie may be the most romantic of the series.
Every Fred & Ginger musical is good fun and worth checking out. The movies introduced many songs which we now consider pop standards, and the dances are often captivating. I won't list all of them here, in order to move on with Ginger's career. ” - Jimmy L.
A boardinghouse full of aspiring actresses and their ambitions, dreams and disappointments. (92 mins.)
“ Ginger shares top-billing with Katharine Hepburn and shows off her talents as a wise-cracking comedienne. She's surrounded by an excellent cast of female talent. The movie works as a comedy about aspiring actresses in a boarding house, but takes a turn for the dramatic. Ginger shows she is a star even without Fred Astaire. ” - Jimmy L.
Mary, a working girl, shares a Greenwich Village apartment with Jack, an artist-night watchman. They share the apartment on a shift basis never seeing each other. Mary develops a hearty dislike for Jack until she meets him. (73 mins.)
“ Ginger is the leading lady in this delightful little story about a struggling working girl who is placed in a scandalous 12-hour/12-hour housing arrangement with a night watchman. She hates her unseen roommate, but falls for the same man when she unknowingly meets him on the street. Ginger is lovely early in her career. ” - Jimmy L.
Kitty Foyle, a hard-working white-collar girl from a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania low, middle-class family, meets and falls in love with young socialite Wyn Strafford but his family is against her. (108 mins.)
“ The pivot point in Ginger's career. A dramatic "women's picture" (about choosing the right man, raising a child as a single mother, etc.) that earned Ginger Rogers a Best Actress Academy Award. Rogers had her hair dyed brown and would go on to make more films in the decade as the sole star (a marquee, Oscar-winning name). Personally, I find her career took a step down in the '40s, as she put her name atop several mediocre rom-coms. ” - Jimmy L.
The Major and the Minor
A woman disguises herself as a child to save on a train fare and is taken in charge by an army man who doesn't notice the truth. (100 mins.)
“ Ginger must pass as a twelve-year-old, even as she falls in love with Ray Milland in this comedy from first-time director Billy Wilder. The premise is ludicrous, but makes for some entertaining viewing. Ginger again shows off her skill at comedy. ” - Jimmy L.
Gold Diggers of 1933
Millionaire turned composer Dick Powell rescues unemployed Broadway people with a new play. (97 mins.)
“ An early Ginger Rogers film where she has only a secondary part. But she starts the movie off with a bang, singing "We're In The Money". This racy pre-Code comedy follows struggling chorus girls during the Depression. Ginger plays the "friend" of the main trio of gals. One of a handful of early-1930s Warner Bros. musicals with larger-than-life Busby Berkeley set pieces. ” - Jimmy L.
On a quick trip to the city, young university professor Peter Morgan falls in love with nightclub performer... (90 mins.)
“ This underrated comedy gem pairs Ginger with James Stewart. Ginger, secretly married to Stewart, must fend off his ex-fiancée and disapproving father. The set-up, with Ginger passing as one of Stewart's college students, allows for all sorts of screwball hijinks. Another comedy highlight for Rogers. ” - Jimmy L.
Polly Parrish, a clerk at Merlin's Department Store, is mistakenly presumed to be the mother of a foundling... (82 mins.)
“ This delightful romantic comedy centers around compounding misunderstandings as shopgirl Rogers is mistaken for the mother of a foundling, which saves her job and starts a blossoming friendship with storeowner's son David Niven. The action takes place around Christmas and New Year's. Ginger is charming as always and the movie is both funny and romantic. ” - Jimmy L.
Dr. Tony Flagg's friend, Steven, has problems in the relationship with his fiancee, Amanda, so he persuades her to visit Dr... (83 mins.)
“ One of the last Fred & Ginger pairings, but this one showcased more than ever Ginger's individual comedic talents. The screwball story of an engaged woman in love with her psychiatrist allows Ginger to be pretty silly. (Hypnotism is involved.) The music and dancing become less of a highlight in this one. ” - Jimmy L.
Week-End at the Waldorf
Anything can happen during a weekend at New York's Waldorf-Astoria: a glamorous movie star meets a world-weary... (130 mins.)
“ Ginger headlines an all-star ensemble in this light drama about the patrons of a ritzy New York hotel. It's a watered-down version of 1932's "Grand Hotel" featuring a new generation of MGM talent. The movie is enjoyable enough and Rogers has chemistry with Walter Pidgeon. This movie is an example of one of the better films Ginger made during the 1940s. ” - Jimmy L.