Ginger, an orphan, is living with her foster-uncle, Rexford Whittington, a broken-down Shakesperian actor. Although denied the love of a mother and father, Ginger looks after her uncle, ...
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H. Bruce Humberstone
Ginger, an orphan, is living with her foster-uncle, Rexford Whittington, a broken-down Shakesperian actor. Although denied the love of a mother and father, Ginger looks after her uncle, gives him lectures, loves him, defends him and keeps house for him. But, through a meddling do-gooder, she is placed in the home of the Parkers, and clashes immediately with the pampered young son, Hamilton. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When other studios were searching the world to find another Shirley Temple (Warner Brothers went as far as South Africa to find Sybil Jason) Fox not only had the original they also had the only other child star who even came close to Shirley's popularity at the time - Jane Withers. She had dark curls and snapping black eyes and when she was given a chance to make good as Joy Smithers, the little brat who made Shirley's life miserable in "Bright Eyes", she came through with flying colours. Critics enthused about her performance and Fox immediately gave her star billing in "Ginger" and teamed her with her male counterpart Jackie Searl.
Shirley Temple may have got Lionel Barrymore as her grandfather in "The Little Colonel" but Jane Withers could boast of distinguished character actor O. P. Heggie, who plays her uncle, Rexford Whittington, an old Shakespearian actor debilitated by alcohol. Ginger is very protective of her uncle and it is a full time job - he carries his book of press clippings around where ever he goes and has just rejected a job as a sword carrier in that lowest of low professions - moving pictures!!! When he is arrested for creating a disturbance, Ginger finds herself in hot water as well - she had hoped that by stealing she could be put in prison with her uncle but the judge has other ideas. He puts her in the care of a daffy do-gooder who is writing a book called "Are Children Really Human"!!! Of course her own little boy, Hamilton (Jackie Searl) is perfect in her eyes - he even plays the harp!!! The only odd man out is the father, who longs for a normal family and Ginger is like a breath of fresh air, even with a make over that includes polished nails and bouncing ringlets. Her slang doesn't change though and it is marvelous - "skip it", "how is the grub in this joint", "I'm gonna blow", "the big lug", "will you put up the dough", "thirty smackers" and the old favourite "for crying out loud" - the vernacular rolls off Jane's tongue as though she has been saying it all her life.
Of course being a Jane Wither's movie there is a big emotional scene - which occurs when Rexford is released from prison but realises Ginger could benefit more from living in such a grand house than by the scanty existence he could provide and so he creeps away only to be run over, resulting in amnesia. But he always remembers the light of his life - Ginger.
In the year that passes a big change has come over the Parker residence. Hamilton, now known by his nickname "Blubber", has taken up Ginger's free and easy way of speaking - even the butler refers to food as "grub"!! and the father couldn't be happier, especially when "Blubber" has an altercation with a street kid trying to steal Ginger's dog and the street kid comes off second best!! By the movie's end Ginger is reunited with her uncle and manages to teach the society matron a lesson in what makes a real child.
Initially Fox did try to find vehicles that suited her peppy personality (in this movie she even imitates Zasu Pitts and Greta Garbo and she is spot on) but after a couple of years she was filming the scripts Shirley's mother had rejected - but that was alright as Jane added her spunk and vivacity to some otherwise less than sparkling movies - movies that Shirley would not have been able to save.
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