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Troubled with union problems in his business and lonely on his birthday because his wife, Martha, is out with a playboy, millionaire Timothy Borden meets unemployed and hungry Mary Grey in a park and convinces her to help him celebrate at a nightclub. Much to his surprise the following morning, Mary has slept in the guest room for the night. Not unmindful that Martha's interest in Timothy seems renewed, he hires Mary to stay at the house as an employee and they go out on the town virtually every night. Mary meanwhile has a positive effect on other members of the household: daughter Katherine is in love with Michael, the communism-spouting chauffeur, and seeks her advice; and son Tim is forced to take over the neglected business to keep it from running downhill, which Timothy had been trying unsuccessfully to get him to do. Complications arise when Tim falls in love with Mary, but is bothered by the affair he perceives she is having with his father. Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It's obvious when you watch this film that it was strongly inspired by the wonderful comedy "My Man Godfrey", though it never comes close to the quality or zaniness of this earlier hit. This isn't to say I didn't like "5th Avenue Girl"--it just isn't in the same league as "Godfrey".
The film begins with a rich industrialist (Walter Connelly) meeting Ginger Rogers on a park bench. It's his birthday, yet no one in his family cares or took notice. On a lark, he invites this total stranger to go out partying with him. At first, she's hesitant. However, he can afford it and she's not used to this sort of life, so she agrees.
The next day, Connelly awakens with little recollection of all the details of the night before, as he had gotten quite drunk. He's surprised, however, when Rogers turns up in his home--it seems he invited her to stay in the guest room. Now you'd think this would cause a huge problem with Connelly's wife...a strange woman in the house. However, that's the crux of the problem--his family doesn't really care. So, on a lark, he decides to take this to the next step--and pay Rogers to stay and pretend to be his mistress--though there is absolutely nothing between them. He just wants to make his no-good family take notice! As for Connelly and Rogers, they are both excellent in this film. I especially love Connelly, as he was a delightful supporting actor and here he gets a chance to play the leading man--with nice results. However, after these two, the film's cast and writing really falls short. In "Godfrey", the family was kooky--filled with eccentrics and oddballs. However, here in "5th Avenue Girl", the family just seems selfish and a bit despicable--a major problem for the film. The wife and son were just selfish jerks, while the daughter, to put it bluntly, is an annoying idiot--who's in love with a really, really annoying young communist. As a result, the film rests solely on Rogers and Connelly--with no real support from anyone. If this had been worked out, the film would have been more than a pleasant comedy--it could have been something exceptional. Still, it is charming and fun to watch--plus I'd watch Connelly in anything--he's that good.
By the way, listen up for a great final line by Ginger--it's a doozy.
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