7.5/10
5,377
59 user 36 critic

The Major and the Minor (1942)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 24 December 1942 (Mexico)
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.

Director:

Billy Wilder
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

3 wins. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

During World War II, an undercover British soldier tries get word to the Allies that the Germans have tons of supplies buried in five excavations across Egypt.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Franchot Tone, Anne Baxter, Akim Tamiroff
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi café singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich, John Lund
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A brash American gramophone salesman tries to get Emperor Franz Joseph's endorsement in turn-of-the-century Austria.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Bing Crosby, Joan Fontaine, Roland Culver
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young man-about-Paris, cut off from his father's money, falls in with a picaresque gang of car thieves.

Directors: Alexander Esway, Billy Wilder
Stars: Danielle Darrieux, Pierre Mingand, Raymond Galle
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Jealous piano teacher Orville Spooner sends his beautiful wife, Zelda, away for the night while he tries to sell a song to famous nightclub singer Dino, who is stranded in town.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Dean Martin, Kim Novak, Ray Walston
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Charles 'Slim' Lindbergh struggles to finance and design an airplane that will make his New York to Paris flight the first solo transatlantic crossing.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: James Stewart, Murray Hamilton, Patricia Smith
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A middle-aged playboy becomes fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier
Avanti! (1972)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A successful businessman goes to Italy to arrange for the return of his tycoon-father's body only to discover dad died with his mistress of long standing.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Juliet Mills, Clive Revill
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crooked lawyer persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ron Rich
Buddy Buddy (1981)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California's Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Paula Prentiss
Fedora (1978)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Down-on-his-luck Hollywood producer Barry 'Dutch' Detweiler attempts to lure Fedora, a famous but reclusive film actress, out of retirement.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Marthe Keller, Hildegard Knef
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In West Berlin during the Cold War, a Coca-Cola executive is given the task of taking care of his boss' socialite daughter.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Pamela Tiffin
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ginger Rogers ... Susan Applegate
Ray Milland ... Major Philip Kirby
Rita Johnson ... Pamela Hill
Robert Benchley ... Albert Osborne
Diana Lynn ... Lucy Hill
Edward Fielding ... Colonel Oliver Slater Hill
Frankie Thomas ... Cadet Osborne
Raymond Roe ... Cadet Anthony Wigton Jr.
Charles Smith ... Cadet Korner
Larry Nunn ... Cadet Babcock
Billy Dawson Billy Dawson ... Cadet Miller
Lela E. Rogers Lela E. Rogers ... Mrs. Applegate (as Lela Rogers)
Aldrich Bowker ... Reverend Doyle
Boyd Irwin Boyd Irwin ... Major Griscom
Byron Shores Byron Shores ... Captain Durand
Edit

Storyline

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 <jem3@donuts0.bellcore.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Is She A Kid - Or Is She Kidding?

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 December 1942 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Major und das Mädchen See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$928,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,380,000, 31 December 1942
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett wrote the role of Philip Kirby with Cary Grant in mind. See more »

Goofs

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

Pamela Hill: Oh, good glory, Philip!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Seven Year Itch (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Blues in the Night
(1941) (uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Played on radio and sung and danced by Raymond Roe
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"I'll try and be a better lightbulb, Uncle Phillip."
1 March 2008 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

Billy Wilder began his career in Hollywood as a screenwriter. However, dissatisfied with how directors were treating his screenplays, he yearned to have greater creative control over his films. Though he had co-directed a single film in the past, the ultra-obscure French drama 'Mauvaise graine (1934),' it wasn't until 1942 that he was given a genuine opportunity to display his directorial talent, and a penchant for audacious comedy. On the surface, 'The Major and the Minor (1942)' might easily be mistaken for a silly, fluffy screwball comedy – and it works quite effectively when viewed as such – but closer inspection reveals an abundance of mature, and even slightly scandalous, themes coming into play. Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland co-star in Wilder's improbable but highly entertaining satire of inherent human sexuality, loaded with unsubtle innuendo ("Why don't you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?") and difficult romantic situations. It must have taken a bold director, indeed, to present a grown man falling in love with (what he believes to be) a twelve-year-old girl; a contentious subject even today.

Ginger Rogers plays Susan Applegate, a proud and independent woman living in the city. Wilder doesn't shy away from revealing the darker, even somewhat predatory, sexual nature of most men, and the camera shows countless male heads turning towards Susan as she passes through a hotel lobby, each pair of eyes eagerly passing over her attractive body. When a married scalp-massage client (Robert Benchley) mistakes their appointment for something more than a massage {the early stages of Wilder's preoccupation with marital infidelity}, Susan decides to return to her quaint, uncorrupted hometown, only to find that she lacks the money for an adult train ticket. In a burst of genius, she decides, in order to claim a half-fare ticket, to masquerade as a twelve-year-old, her appearance drastically altered by styling her hair into pigtails, wearing children's clothing and carrying a balloon. That any intelligent human being would actually be fooled by such a scheme is highly debatable, but if the viewer learns to suspend ample disbelief, then many laughs are due to follow.

Ray Milland plays Major Philip Kirby, a handsome and respectable military man, who meets Susan {now using the childish moniker "Su-Su"} on the train, and takes to her almost immediately. After intense flooding brings their train to a halt, Kirby agrees to bring Susan back to his residence at a boy's military school, where she is immediately the sensation of the college. As a young girl, Susan's experiences with male sexual desire change little: the hordes of gawking and opportunistic men give rise to equally-rapacious hordes of gawking and opportunistic boys, and even Major Kirby himself, to his horror, finds himself becoming attracted to Su-Su, as her "mature charm" begins to exhibit itself. In a particular sequence, one that the censors no doubt would have watched warily, Kirby attempts to explain to Susan the "birds and the bees," likening her female attraction to a light bulb surrounded by moths, and, one eye clamped firmly shut, suddenly declares her to be a "knock-out!" Billy Wilder's first feature film is audacious, well-written, brilliantly-acted, and, most importantly of all, very funny; it deserves to be seen alongside the director's other various classics.


6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 59 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed