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Professional Sweetheart (1933)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 9 June 1933 (USA)
Radio singer Glory Eden is publicized as the ideal of American womanhood, in order to sell the sponsor's product Ippsie-Wippsie Washcloths. In reality, Glory would like to at least sample ... See full summary »

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(as Maurine Watkins)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Jim Davey
...
Elmerada de Leon
...
Speed Dennis
...
O'Connor
Gregory Ratoff ...
Samuel 'Sam' Ipswich
...
Herbert Childress
Lucien Littlefield ...
Ed, the Announcer
...
Tim Kelsey
Frank Darien ...
Appleby
...
Stu
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Storyline

Radio singer Glory Eden is publicized as the ideal of American womanhood, in order to sell the sponsor's product Ippsie-Wippsie Washcloths. In reality, Glory would like to at least sample booze, jazz, gambling, and men. When the strain of representing "purity" brings her to rebellion, the sponsor and his nutty henchmen pick her a public-relations "sweetheart" from fan mail. But they soon find that young love is not to be trifled with. Includes spicy pre-Code episodes and satirical jabs at a variety of targets. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

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Release Date:

9 June 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Careless  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ginger Rogers was dubbed by Etta Moten; this is reputedly the only film in which Rogers did not do her own singing. See more »

Quotes

Glory Eden: Me, that's what I'm thinking of! Me! Dens of iniquity, gambling, dives... That's what I want!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Love Goddesses (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus
(uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Music by Richard Wagner
Played at the beginning of the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pre-Code funny
14 February 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

PROFESSIONAL SWEETHEART manages indirectly to be a historically important film of sorts. Flashy supporting roles in 42nd STREET and THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 had brought Ginger Rogers to the attention of Hollywood, and Columbia and RKO at least (most of her recent work had been done for Warner Brothers but they may have believed that, with Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell among others already in their fold, there was little room left for a Ginger Rogers) were seriously thinking of signing her to a long term contract. RKO wound up inking her to a 3 film deal which amounted to one film plus a two film option at RKO's discretion. Thus PROFESSIONAL SWEETHEART served as an elaborate screen test for Rogers. It was a modest success both critically and at the box office (which was more than most 1933 films could say) and RKO signed her to a full 7 year contract. Ginger's first assignment under that contract was FLYING DOWN TO RIO, and the rest was history.

PROFESSIONAL SWEETHEART is a clear sign that RKO was very serious about Ginger Rogers. It's a pure vehicle for her comedic abilities, seen here as more 'hard sell' than they would be later on, and she's given every bit of support that could be realistically exoected: A funny, sharp, broadly satirical script from the talented Maurine Watkins of CHICAGO fame, a terrific pack of supporting actors mostly imported from Warner Brothers, and about the best house director that RKO had (William Seiter) were assigned to the project. Ginger already had considerable experience as a supporting actress in big pictures and as a female lead in little pictures, but this was her first starring vehicle, and she makes the most of it.

I'll refrain from running through the plot (if you're reading this you surely already know it) and restrict myself to a few observations. The chasm between a public persona and a private one is the obvious main theme, Glory's radio shtick as "the Purity Girl" being diametrically opposed to her portrayed private desires (a girl who want to have 'fun fun fun', essentially). As in CHICAGO, the press can hardly be more cynical about it all while agreeably playing along with the act. Whether the public is actually fooled by this or is merely willing to tolerate the deceptions for its own amusement remains uncertain. This appears to be Watkins' One Big Idea, and she runs with it.

Otherwise we get a broad satire of radio's inherent deceits, for example, audiences coached on their 'spontaneous' reactions; a nice skewering of the Progressive Eugenics Movement ("Hey, they're white, these Anglo-Saxons!" our naive business magnate from the Old Country notes in surprise); Harlem as a modern jazz-filled Valhalla ("I don't care what color he is as long as he takes me to Harlem!" Glory beams with a racial double entendre), barbed comments on lawyers, clothes designers doubling as interior decorators, business tycoons whose empires consist of washcloths and dishrags, the full gamut.

Gregory Ratoff strikes me as very funny as the genius behind Ippsey- Wippsey Washcloths, ZaSu Pitts is excellent as a 'sob sister' whose interview style consists of her own meandering monologues, Franklin Pangborn, Allen Jenkins, Edgar Kennedy and Frank McHugh are solid in their roles, and Theresa Harris has a more substantial part than is usual for a black maid of the era (oddly, both she and Ginger Rogers, both competent singers in their own rights, get dubbed by Etta Moten). Norman Foster does what he needs to do as the country hick.

And Ginger Rogers was on her way.


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