Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
New York working girl Susan Applegate is desperate to go home to Iowa but does not have the railway fare so she disguises herself as a child to ride half fare. Enroute she meets Philip Kirby, an Army major teaching at a military school. Written by
Jack McKillop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Pamela arrives at the stopped train, she is directed left to the train car in which Major Kirby has a compartment. However, when she returns to her car which hasn't moved, she approaches it from the right, the opposite direction of Kirby's train car. See more »
Billy Wilder and his excellent collaborator, Charles Brackett, knew what the movie going public of the time wanted to see. So, it's not a surprise they achieved a great hit with "The Major and the Minor". One has to go back to the time this film was made to realize what the creators of this comedy accomplished. This marked the first Hollywood film Mr. Wilder directed and his touch is everywhere. The movie stands the passage of time.
"The Major and the Minor" works because of its two stars. Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland were versatile actors who showed perfect chemistry in the film. Both do excellent work guided by the masterful hand of Billy Wilder.
Ginger Rogers' take on the little girl is fine. Of course, we, the viewers, know what is going on, but to the rest of the people she is nothing but the innocent, and young SuSu Applegate. Ray Milland, on the other hand, is proper throughout the film until the end, when the mystery is solved. Mr. Milland's timing is impeccable and he makes his Maj. Kirby a sort of absent minded "uncle" to the young SuSu.
Billy Wilder showed a flair for this type of comedy. He got wonderful supporting performances from Rita Johnson and the disarming Diana Lynn, as the two sisters with different viewpoints on everything. Also, the opening sequence involving the incomparable Robert Benchley shows us a lecherous man who has hired the grown up Susan for a scalp treatment, that in his mind will lead into something else. Mr. Benchley and Ms. Rogers are hilarious.
This film established Billy Wilder as a director who went far and enjoyed a long career.
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