|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Index||12 reviews in total|
This is a very good film that manages to entertain even though one of
the characters was atrociously written. The film begins with a cocky
young playwright (William Holden) being discovered. Although he's
managed to offend a famous Broadway star (Ginger Rogers), he's also
impressed her with his talent and good looks. The problem is that she
wants to star in his play--even though she is WAY too old for the part.
Even though they re-write it for her to play a character 10 years
older, she still is too old for the part. But he wants the play to be
produced and he's also in love with her. What's he to do?! And, what's
he to do about Sally Carver--a spunky young actress who would be
perfect for the part?
While Holden, Rogers and Paul Douglas all did great because they were real professionals and their parts were well written, I couldn't say the same for Pat Crowley (who played Sally). Although her character was supposed to be very eager and raw, she often came off as annoying and obnoxious. Her constant use of the word 'Siamese' and brash persona really turned me off--as I am sure it did for the audience. It's surprising, since the studio appeared to be grooming her for stardom--and the film's credits point out that she's a new discovery. But, if you can block out her character (at least until she evolves into a REALISTIC person later in the film), you will see a cool film--one that gives Rogers a chance to stretch herself and play a riskier role--an actress whose vanity is getting in the way of common sense. Well worth seeing.
This is reminiscent of the theatrics in "All About Eve" but with a
sympathetic, light comedic twist to it. There is Ginger Rogers as Beatrice
the mature, aging actress who is intent on impressing everyone with the
that she is 29, no more, no less, and capable of taking on the new female
role that's in the works. It doesn't go over too well with a young actress
named Sally, played by Pat Crowley, who is willing to charge into every
obstacle on her way to 'reaching the top' as an actress. She is very adept
at changing her stage name to suit the occasion and meet the needs of the
It is great seeing Paul Douglas in top form, here as Beatrice's "ex" yet still devoted to her and her career, but sometimes he does reach the limit of his patience with her. One wonders what other fine, maturer roles he may have had in his career but unfortunately his life was cut short through illness.
William Holden as Stanley the playwright is, as ever, one handsome leading man. He gets entangled emotionally with the two actresses, not sure what to think or which way to turn.
This is an age-old comment of the times that's still prevalent in society, of women's role in life being most appealing when young but having no place when they reach "a certain age." I think these days society is more accepting of the mature, older woman, thanks to woman's lib activity of past decades as well as some outstanding actresses who have influenced opinions and flourished in their senior years, such as Angela Lansbury, Maureen O'Hara, Lauren Bacall, Joan Collins and Kate Hepburn.
This film was made in the shadow of ALL ABOUT EVE, and paints a more
benign view of that film's central situation. Ginger Rogers plays a
leading Broadway star, who retains a close relationship with her former
husband (Paul Douglas), and works closely with playwright William
Holden (possibly a softer build-up for his play director in Bing
Crosby's/Grace Kelly's THE COUNTRY GIRL). Pat Crowley, a younger woman
of some acting talent, is trying to break into the circles that cast
and produce Broadway plays (she is doing mostly off-Broadway work). The
relationship of these four characters are the basis of this comedy.
There are differences between the situation here and the situation in EVE. There was more of an atmosphere of the theater and it's traditions in EVE (because Joseph Mankiewicz writes literate scripts, and was determined to show what goes on behind the stage curtains). But there Bette Davis has gotten trapped into a lonely greatness on stage, and she turns out to be willing to vacate her pedestal if she can have a human life with Gary Merrill. She just does not like the way Anne Baxter is trying to replace her in her parts - Baxter's underhanded methods are despicable. Crowley is not Baxter. She genuinely admires Rogers, and just wants entry (which she may get through Holden). It is just that Rogers is still clinging to her youth - Holden is her last chance for such a cling when they go out together. But even Rogers realizes that she is beyond the point of return. In fact, towards the end of the film the audience and Holden and Crowley discover that Rogers actually gives herself a long summer vacation where she can wear softer, easier clothing and eat as much as she wants to. In the end she accepts that the scepter is passed, but she still has her old husband/friend/and continuous argument partner Douglass to play with.
Charming, slight piece of entertainment sold by it top lined stars and
almost scuttled by its featured player.
Ginger Rogers and Paul Douglas are most happily matched as the formerly married couple who are still best friends, a great Broadway star and her producer. Their interchanges are expertly played by two pros who are easy in each others company and really seem like they would have been together for years. Her gentle ribbing of him over back alimony is sweet and believable and actually provides a bit of insight into her character. She doesn't really expect to ever get it but neither does she ever plan to write it off either nor does she let get in the way of their relationship.
William Holden's part is secondary to the story although he is prominently featured due to his star status. He is his usual charismatic self making the minor part much better than it is. One ironic note is that in a story about Ginger Roger's character realizing she's too old for the ingénue role in Holden's play they cast an actor who is too old for his part. The playwright the way he is referenced should be in his early twenties, Holden extremely handsome and youthful though he may be is 35 if he's a day. He can't be held responsible for that since contract actors were routinely assigned parts at the studios whim.
Where the picture runs into trouble is the performance of Pat Crowley in what clearly was planned as a star making part. That didn't happen most probably due to the fact that as directed a more annoying, grating, jejune enactment of a character couldn't be possible. As she constantly proclaims that she is a great talent and better than anyone could imagine you want to push her out of the frame. The actress who did go on to some degree of fame, most notably as the star of TV's Please Don't Eat the Daisies, has proved to be an enjoyable presence elsewhere so the direction must be at fault but she really is hammy and unpleasant here.
Many fine character actors, James Gleason, Jesse White, George Reeves, Maidie Norman etc., add nice little touches throughout and hey look in one short scene its the future Mrs. C herself: Marion Ross just starting out.
A good comedy played by experts just ignore the ham-bone on the side of the action.
In Forever Female, Ginger Rogers is a Broadway star, still at the top
of her game, but not realizing that the times are a changing. Like
Norma Desmond she won't believe that there's nothing wrong with being
50 unless you try to act 25.
As this is a comedy, the consequences are not quite as tragic as they are in Sunset Boulevard. Forever Female is however Ginger's reality check.
New playwright William Holden has written a play that's got Ginger excited, a great role for her, maybe 10 to 15 years ago. She insists the role by revised from a 19 to 29 year old. She hasn't lost hold on reality that much.
There's a young ingénue on the scene who might be right for the part and she proves it in a way you have to see Forever Female to find out about. That would be Pat Crowley who was 'introduced' here. Though she never became the bright star of tomorrow, she plays a kinder, gentler Eve Harrington here. Pat Crowley's greatest success would be in the television version of Please Don't Eat the Daisies in the part Doris Day did in film.
All this is proving quite amusing to Rogers's ex-husband and producer Paul Douglas who has some of the best lines in the film.
There's nothing earth shattering about Forever Female, but it did no harm to any of the folks associated with it and still has some laughs for today's audience.
This 1954 film features Ginger Rogers and William Holden with a nice supporting role played by Paul Douglas as Ginger Roger's ex-husband. Ginger Rogers was in her early forties at the time of this film and played an actress not totally accepting of her age. The public still loved her but playing a 29 year old was beginning to strain credibility. William Holden played an unknown playwright with a play featuring the relationship of a 19 year old and her mother. The role was rewritten so that Ginger Rogers could play a 29 year old, once again. Won't go further into the story but I found it interesting that Ginger Rogers was brave enough to play a role like this where age was a focus. It was a surprise to see an older Ginger Rogers after only having seen her earlier movies. Overall this film was entertaining with a nice mix of comedy and drama. Well worth the time to watch.
An aging stage star tries to hold on to ingénue roles. The screenplay is by the Epstein twins (Casablanca) based on a play by Barrie (Peter Pan). Given such pedigree, this comedy falls short of expectations but it is fairly enjoyable and has witty dialog. It's helped by good acting from Rogers as the actress in denial about her advancing years, Douglas as her supportive ex-husband, and Holden (on the verge of super-stardom) as a writer. A screen shot at the end of the film touts Crowley as a future star at Paramount. She never became a star, but she went on to have a long TV career, and she is winning here as a perky young actress.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An aging Broadway star, Beatrice Page, receives an interesting proposal
from an aspiring playwright, Stanley Krown. While loving the play
Stanley has written with her in mind, the fact remains she is much
older than what the role calls for. Unfortunately, she is put in a
dilemma. Because of her position in the theater community, she cannot
accept anything but a starring role.
Harry Phillips, Beatrice former husband, has remained in friendly terms with the actress. He sees the possibilities with the play, and although he realizes the basic age problem, he goes ahead with the plans for bringing it to Broadway for the next season, something that he has no idea of the problems he will encounter. For one thing, the piece needs a lot of reworking. One problem with Stanley, he is a working man, who must work for a living, making it even harder to work on the revisions.
When Beatrice falls in love for Stanley, Harry is beside himself. To make things worse, an aspiring actress, Sally Carver, who had auditioned for the younger woman part, keeps turning up uninvited, and she too has a strong opinion about Stanley's play, which she wants to see it gets the right production.
This comedy was written by Julius and Phillip Epstein, the authors of that classic, "Casablanca". Irving Rapper, the director, gives the film a good pace. Some of the comments compare the situation with the much better "All About Eve", something that is far from being the case. The take on the theatrical world of Broadway of that era offers a nostalgic trip back to when the New York stage presented more serious work, now dominated by musicals and Disney fare.
This was a Ginger Rogers' vehicle. Although not one of her best appearances, she makes us believe she was the star at a crucial point of her career, perhaps something Ms. Rogers was experiencing herself. Pat Crowley plays the perky young actress who gets on everyone's nerves. William Holden's Stanley was not exactly a great role for him; he is seen as the playwright being manipulated by the star and everyone else. The excellent Paul Douglas is seen as Harry, the patient man that loves his former wife in a peculiar way.
The supporting cast shows some of the best character actors working in movies at that time. James Gleason and Jesse White do their reliable contribution. Kathryn Grant, who went to become Mrs. Bing Crosby, has a small part; also Marion Ross, who made a splash on television in "Happy Days", plays a hopeful actress.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The topic of aging actresses seemed to be in the Hollywood air of the
early fifties, perhaps because the great generation of thirties'
actresses had reached middle-age by then, an age poisonous to their
career arcs whether justifiably so or not. There are many parallels
between the real life of Ginger Rogers and the character that she plays
(Beatrice Page) in FOREVER FEMALE, a real Hollywood rather than a
fictional Broadway female. Ginger was then in her early forties, had
often played younger than she was but was at the point where that
wasn't plausible anymore, had just married a considerably younger man
(Jacques Bergerac), would retreat to her ranch in Oregon to rest and
recuperate from the pressures of stardom, and had no intention of
retiring from the acting profession even if she realized that things
would be different for her in the future. The similarities could hardly
have escaped her attention when she studied the script.
However, on a deeper emotional level she probably wasn't playing herself. As I recall it, Ginger played divas at least three times, in WEEKEND AT THE WALDORF, FOREVER FEMALE and BLACK WIDOW. They are variations based on a similar template, and she seems to have approached these characters from the outside, as if they were the products of her observations and mimicry abilities, which were considerable. The chorus girls and radio singers and shop girls of her earlier career she seemed to grasp from within; in any event, she seemed more suited to such roles. But like for Beatrice Page, those days were over for Ginger whether she wanted them to be or not. There's a sense of vague desperation to her performance here, and genuine emotional depth is only reached towards the end, a rather greater depth than the Epsteins provided in their writing, I think.
The script and the production of the film are marred by a lot of odd contradictions. Rogers intentionally plays Beatrice somewhat over- the-top, as is mandatory for any proper diva, but the hammiest performance by far comes from Patricia Crowley, who practically shouts her way through every line. Between her idiotic 'Siamese' this and 'Siamese' that, and her repeated silly name changes, she is, indeed, about as irritating a character as I have ever come across. Trying to sell that character as a great young actress was as impossible as trying to sell Patricia Crowley as Paramount's hottest new star. FOREVER FEMALE probably never had the 'oomph' to be a major success, but the publicity campaign that it received concentrating on Crowley's prowess surely served as a final nail in its coffin.
William Holden played the kind of naive doofus that he'd been saddled with for most of the 1940s, but after SUNSET BOULEVARD such roles seemed terribly inappropriate for him and I believe that he's miscast here. In fact, Holden was much closer in age to Ginger Rogers than he was to the much younger Patricia Crowley, so how is Ginger making a fool of herself in going after him while he winds up naturally paired to Pat? The casting works against the themes of the film. Paul Douglas, however, is rock solid as always.
I'm really being too hard on FOREVER FEMALE, wishing for what it might have been rather than appreciating it for what it is. The writers of CASABLANCA, a trio of leads with enormous accomplishments, an interesting subject which is handled with some wit, FOREVER FEMALE is a decent movie. It's just that it should have been a whole lot more than decent.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are two story lines in this film: A, the birth of a play; B, the
love story between an actress(Bea) and a playwright(Stanley). I suppose
B is the main line since the film is called Forever Female. But then
Stanley struggle so much with the play, and Sally took up so many
scenes(while the love line between Philip and Bea was relatively
neglected), it seems A would be the main line? But then the story ended
with Philip and Bea getting married again, so that means B is the main
But it's not really important as which story to follow as how well the characters are developed thru the story. All the characters in this film are wonderfully colorful:
Sally, a young actress with a lot of drive and passion, is one of the most annoying characters I've seen in movies. She has all the confidence/arrogance in the world god knows where she gets it. Then she changed to a complete different person in the course of 2 months? Less than that? And Stanley, a refreshing farmer turned playwright, a very strong character in the beginning of the film, fell in love with Sally for whatever reason, and didn't realized it until he saw her transformation, lost his character towards the end of the film. Both of the characters and their relationship seem impractical and irrational to me. (William Holden does fall for strange women doesn't he? Network 1976?)
On the other hand, Bea the amazing actress with a heart of gold and her ever so supportive husband Philip, are very likable people. Bea literally made Sally a star, even tho nobody mentioned it or thank her for it. She's sensual, understanding, a character made of blood and flesh(like the scene at the airport). Philip is always her guardian angel. It's corny that they got back together in the end, nevertheless their relationship is admirable.
In all, the film is packed with interesting refreshing details(strawberries, celery..) and some wonderful lines, the story is a bit disappointing, and definitely not enough Ginger Rogers (way too much Pat Crowley, whose acting could be improved largely too).
|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|