IMDb > The Major and the Minor (1942)
The Major and the Minor
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The Major and the Minor (1942) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.6/10   3,633 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Charles Brackett (written by) and
Billy Wilder (written by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Major and the Minor on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 March 1943 (Sweden) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Is She A Kid - Or Is She Kidding?
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Wilder's Directing Debut - "Su-Su you're a knockout!" See more (45 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ginger Rogers ... Susan Applegate

Ray Milland ... Major Kirby
Rita Johnson ... Pamela Hill
Robert Benchley ... Mr. Osborne

Diana Lynn ... Lucy Hill
Edward Fielding ... Colonel Hill
Frankie Thomas ... Cadet Osborne
Raymond Roe ... Cadet Wigton
Charles Smith ... Cadet Korner
Larry Nunn ... Cadet Babcock
Billy Dawson ... Cadet Miller
Lela E. Rogers ... Mrs. Applegate (as Lela Rogers)

Aldrich Bowker ... Reverend Doyle
Boyd Irwin ... Major Griscom
Byron Shores ... Capttain Durand
Richard Fiske ... Will Duffy

Norma Varden ... Mrs. Osborne
Gretl Dupont ... Mrs. Shackleford
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Anderson ... Train Passenger with Esquire Magazine (uncredited)
Stanley Andrews ... Conductor #1 (uncredited)
Vangie Beilby ... Woman in Train Station (uncredited)
Marie Blake ... Bertha (uncredited)
John Bogden ... Cadet (uncredited)
Carl R. Botefuhr ... Cadet (uncredited)
Ralph Brooks ... Train Passenger (uncredited)
Dick Chandlee ... Cadet (uncredited)
Bill Clauson ... Cadet (uncredited)

Ethel Clayton ... Cadet Ball Guest (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Officer (uncredited)
Stanley Desmond ... Cadet Shumaker (uncredited)
Tom Dugan ... Con Man in Railraod Station (uncredited)
Jay Eaton ... Man Coming Out of Elevator (uncredited)
Mary Field ... Wilbur & Margie's Mother in Railroad Station (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Guest at Cadet Ball (uncredited)
Ralph Gilliam ... Cadet (uncredited)
Kenneth Grant ... Cadet (uncredited)
Lynda Grey ... Cadet Ball Guest (uncredited)
Bradley Hail ... Cadet (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Cadet Ball Guest (uncredited)
Dell Henderson ... Doorman (uncredited)
Carlotta Jelm ... Margie - Little Girl in Railroad Station (uncredited)
Payne B. Johnson ... Boy in Dancing Scene (uncredited)
Alice Keating ... Nurse (uncredited)
Milton Kibbee ... Station Agent (uncredited)
Stephen Kirchner ... Cadet (uncredited)
Carl M. Leviness ... Man in Apartment Hallway (uncredited)
Jack Lindquist ... Cadet (uncredited)
Ken Lundy ... Elevator Boy (uncredited)
David McKim ... Cadet (uncredited)
Freddie Mercer ... Wilbur - Little Boy in Railroad Station (uncredited)
Edmund Mortimer ... Cadet Ball Guest (uncredited)
William Newell ... Ticket Agent #2 (uncredited)
Buster Nichols ... Cadet (uncredited)
Billy O'Kelly ... Cadet (uncredited)
Emory Parnell ... Conductor #2 (uncredited)
Edward Peil Sr. ... Stationmaster (uncredited)
Jim Pilcher ... Cadet (uncredited)
Billy Ray ... Cadet Sommerville (uncredited)
Shirley Jean Rickert ... College Girl (uncredited)
William Roy ... Cadet Summerville (uncredited)
Archie Twitchell ... Cadet Sergeant at Main Gate (uncredited)
Gloria Williams ... Cadet Ball Guest (uncredited)
Don Wilmot ... Cadet (uncredited)

Will Wright ... Ticket Agent #1 (uncredited)
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Directed by
Billy Wilder 
 
Writing credits
Charles Brackett (written by) and
Billy Wilder (written by)

Edward Childs Carpenter (suggested by a play by)

Fanny Kilbourne (from a story by) (as Fannie Kilbourne)

Produced by
Arthur Hornblow Jr. .... producer
 
Original Music by
Robert Emmett Dolan (music score)
 
Cinematography by
Leo Tover (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Doane Harrison (edited by)
 
Art Direction by
Roland Anderson 
Hans Dreier 
 
Costume Design by
Edith Head (costumes)
 
Makeup Department
Wally Westmore .... makeup artist
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles C. Coleman .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Don Johnson .... sound recordist
Harold Lewis .... sound recordist
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ernest Laszlo .... camera operator (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Conrad Salinger .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Walter Scharf .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Andrea Setaro .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
100 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Certification:
Australia:G | Finland:S (1964) | Finland:K-16 (1943) | Portugal:M/12 | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #8270)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Actress Diana Lynn appeared in The Major and the Minor as Lucy, the science-obsessed teenage sister of Pamela (Ginger Roger's on-screen nemesis). Thirteen years later, Diana Lynn starred in that film's remake, You're Never Too Young, this time as Nancy Collins, a female version of the role originally played by Ray Milland.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: 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 »
Quotes:
First Conductor:If you're Swedish, suppose you say something in Swedish.
Susan Applegate:I vant to be alone.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Shadows of Suspense (2006) (V)See more »
Soundtrack:
Isn't It Romantic?See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
19 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
Wilder's Directing Debut - "Su-Su you're a knockout!", 29 March 2006
Author: theowinthrop from United States

Billy Wilder, like his contemporary Preston Sturgis, gained attention in Hollywood at Paramount Studio as a screen writer. And oddly enough both decided to become directors because of unfair feelings towards the work of director Mitchell Leisin with their scripts. Wilder did not like Leisin's work with MIDNIGHT, and Sturgis did not like his work with REMEMBER THE NIGHT. It was unfair because Leisin did not have the cynical edge of Wilder and Sturgis, but Leisin was into bringing a more human element into his films (oddly enough, in later years, Wilder would too). They both got permission from Paramount to direct - Wilder a little after Sturgis did, because Sturgis had demonstrated he could be quite successful as a director.

THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR is Wilder's first film as director, and his first comedy. He demonstrated in it that he was above average in his ability to direct, getting the first good performance he got out of Ray Milland and an equally good one out of Ginger Rogers. He and his partner Charles Brackett did the screenplay here - a simple story of a woman who gets fed up with her failing life in New York City, and decides to return (however regretfully it may seem) to her small mid-western town. But Susan Applegate has a problem - she hasn't enough money for her ticket by train. Then she discovers she does have enough for her ticket if she can convince everyone she is a very tall teenager. So she does, as twelve year old "Su Su Applegate". Complete with pig-tales and a balloon (and temporarily accompanied by Tom Dugan, who agrees to be her "father" for a price) "Su Su" gets her ticket, only to be cheated by Dugan out of most of the remaining money she was carrying (she does kick him though!).

She ends up hiding from suspicious conductors in a private sleeping compartment with Major Philip Kirby (Milland), who is returning to his job at a military academy after a fruitless attempt to get into the war effort (it is 1942). Kirby is engaged to the daughter of the commandant of the academy, Pamela Hill (Rita Johnson). What he doesn't know is that Pamela is determined to undermine every attempt he makes to get a war job. She has connections through her father's friends, which she uses like an expert. It helps that Philip has an eye problem (though not a major one).

Because she is traveling alone, Philip takes Su-Su to the academy until they can have her picked up or driven to her home. She becomes an instant social success with all of the cadets - most of whom test out their young libidos on her by demonstrating how the Nazi blitzkrieg by-passed the Maginot Line (you have to see it to believe it). Only one person is not taken in - Pamela's sister Lucy (Diana Lynn). Lucy is going to be a scientist, and she can tell that Su-Su is just too well developed to be her age. But Lucy and Su-Su soon develop a close friendship (as Lucy eventually admits, Susan is far more of a sister to her than Pamela ever was). So Su-Su's secret is safe - and she and Lucy soon are trying to figure out how to counteract Pamela's efforts against Philip.

The film has many lovely touches, like Su-Su taking over the switch board (the cadet who is caught as a result, and who has been listening to "My Mother Done Told Me", looks angrily at her and yells out "A woman's a two-face!"). There are also the appearances of Robert Benchley as the amorous Mr. Osborne, who knew Susan as Susan in New York, but meets Su-Su at a dance at the military academy (Benchley's son is a cadet there). He goes crazy trying to figure out where he met this girl before.

But best is the interaction between Milland and Rogers, one highlight of which shows Wilder at his wickedest (and would not be repeated in 1940s comedies again). Trying to get little Su-Su to be careful with the cadets, "Uncle Philip" gives her a "birds and the bees" lecture. She asks him if he thinks she is attractive. He looks carefully at her, and says, "Why Su-Su you're a knockout!' She leaves, and he shuts the door smiling. The smile has a touch too much teeth in it - almost a sensual smile. And Milland realizes it...and a moment later he cringes thinking that he is becoming a potential child molester.

Will Philip get his wartime commission? Will Pamela get defeated, and Susan eventually reveal herself to Philip as a grown woman (she likes him very much)? You have to see the film to see how it works out. It also has the added attraction of Ginger Roger's mother Leila playing Susan's mother. Altogether a capital film, and a good directorial debut for Wilder.

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