CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ginger Rogers - Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month Part Three - The Essential Ginger Films

Here is my list of essential Ginger Rogers films that showcase the actress at her very best.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire

HER FILMS WITH FRED ASTAIRE (1933-1939; 1949) Choose any of the ten films she made with Fred Astaire and you will she her talents on wonderful display. My personal favorite film of theirs was SWING TIME, but I also loved TOP HAT, SHALL WE DANCE, and CAREFREE.
42nd Street
42nd STREET (1933) The much copied musical about a newcomer (Ruby Keeler) trying to make it big on Broadway. Ginger plays Ann "Annytime Annie" Lowell, a chorus girl always ready with a quip or two. She and pal (Una Murkel) make the film for me.
Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Eve Arden
STAGE DOOR (1937) This is one of my favorite films of all time. Almost all the action takes place at a boardinghouse for women called The Footlights Club, who are trying to make it in show business. The all star cast inlcudes Ginger, Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Ann Miller, Gail Patrick, and Jack Carson. How's that for a cast? And Ginger holds her own with every single one of them, including her scenes with the great Kate Hepburn.
Vivacious Lady
VIVACIOUS LADY (1938) On a quick trip to the city, young university professor Peter Morgan (Jimmy Stewart)  falls in love with nightclub performer Francey Brent (Ginger) and marries her after a whirlwind romance. But when he goes back home, he can't bring himself to tell his conservative, ultra-respected family about it. Great screwball comedy.
BACHELOR MOTHER (1939) Ginger is great as Polly Parrish, a department store clerk, who is mistaken to be the mother of a baby. Ginger is strong-willed and determined in this great family movie. She doesn't back down from no one and she gives one of her best performances ever. And has great chemistry with co-star David Niven.

KITTY FOYLE (1940) Ginger won her only Oscar as Kitty Foyle, a hard working girl from Philadelphia who falls in love with a young socialite, but his family opposes their relationship. Good stuff with another standout performance by Rogers.

PRIMROSE PATH (1940) Ginger is Ellie May, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who falls for good guy Ed Wallace (Joel McCrea). She must deal with her free spirited mother, her drunken dad, and a mean grandmother.
Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman
THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR (1942) New York working girl Susan Applegate (Ginger) 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 (Ray Milland), an Army major teaching at a military school. Great comedy from Billy Wilder and a showcase for Ginger's comedic talents.
Tender Comrade
TENDER COMRADE (1943) Ginger Rogers is Jo Jones, a young defense plant worker whose husband is in the military during World War II, shares a house with three other women in the same situation. This is Ginger's contribution to all those patriotic films that were coming out during this time period. And while it's no Best Years of our Lives, Tender Comrade is still a solid piece of work.

I'LL BE SEEING YOU (1944) A soldier suffering from battle fatigue (Joseph Cotten) meets a young woman named Mary Marshall (Rogers) on Christmas furlough from prison and their mutual loneliness blossoms into romance. Heart-breaking romantic film that is one of the very best of it's genre. I had forgot about it when I did a recent poll on Ginger but was reminded by my good friend Renata. And she's right, this film is amazing.

So there you have it, in my humble opinion, the very best films of Ginger Rogers. Other films of hers that I also like include Having Wonderful Time, Monkey Business, and Roxie Hart.


Dawn said...

Monty, What a wonderful post about Ginger Rogers!! I kinda hate to see this month end.

Gordon Pasha said...

Monty: You are certainly right in showcasing “I'll Be Seeing You” and your friend Renata is also to be commended for her taste. I notice the film is getting more attention in the past few years. It is a very moving work, done by Dieterle, who was very good in this mood. And Ginger and Joseph Cotten and the wonderful Spring Byington. Best. Gerald

John Gross said...

Good list! I particularly enjoy Primrose Path!

John Gross said...

The Major and the Minor is also a lot of fun too, but rogers just has a great quality that's hard to put your finger on.


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