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.
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 <email@example.com>
As a neophyte director, Billy Wilder heavily relied on editor Doane Harrison for guidance. Harrison had edited Hold Back the Dawn (1941), which Charles Brackett and Wilder had written. Unusually for an editor, Harrison was on the set for filming as well as working in the cutting room. Wilder later said, "I worked with a very good cutter, Doane Harrison, from whom I learned a great deal. He was much more of a help to me than the cameraman. When I became a director from a writer my technical knowledge was very meagre." Harrison taught him how to "cut in the camera," a form of spontaneous editing that results in a minimal amount of film being shot and eliminates the possibility of studio heads later adding footage the director deemed unnecessary. In later years, Wilder commented, "When I finish a film, there is nothing on the cutting room floor but chewing gum wrappers and tears." Wilder's and Harrison's unusually close and important collaboration continued for every subsequent film directed by Wilder through The Fortune Cookie (1966). See more »
The cadet left the switchboard to get a radio, and returned with a battery portable valve radio. Although quite expensive to buy and to operate, there was a very large market for battery portable valve radios and they were very common throughout the valve era. Batteries were the only possible power supply, because valves with "heaters" used with AC mains power electricity appeared after the D.C. battery types. Texas Instruments in 1952 demonstrated their all-transistor AM radios, but their performance was well below that of equivalent battery tube models. In August 1953 a workable all-transistor radio was demonstrated at the Düsseldorf Radio Fair by the German firm Intermetall. If you had no knowledge of the existence of battery portable valve radios in 1942, you might mistakenly believe that the portable radio is a fake, because the portable transistor radio was not invented till 1952. 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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