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|VIVACIOUS LADY (director: George Stevens; screenwriters: P.J. Wolfson/Ernest Pagano; cinematographer: Robert de Grasse; editor: Henry Berman; music: Roy Webb; cast: Ginger Rogers (Francey Brent), James Stewart (Peter Morgan), James Ellison (Keith Morgan), Charles Coburn (Mr. Morgan), Beulah Bondi (Martha Morgan), Franklin Pangborn (Apt. manager), Jack Carson (Waiter captain), Frances Mercer (Helen), Grady Sutton (Professor Culpepper), Willie Best (The Train Porter); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: George Stevens; RKO; 1938)|
screwball comedy that serves its two stars,
Ginger Rogers and James Stewart, very well."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
George Stevens ("Alice Adams"/"Giant"/"Swing Time") directs this lighthearted screwball comedy that serves its two stars, Ginger Rogers and James Stewart, very well. It was made just before Stewart became a big star. It's written by P.J. Wolfson and Ernest Pagano.
Young botany professor Peter Morgan (James Stewart) from Old Sharon, New York, goes to Manhattan on orders from his father to bring back his capricious cousin Keith Morgan (James Ellison), a colleague at the college, and finds him drunk in a nightclub pining over performer Francey Brent (Ginger Rogers). Instead of carrying out his mission Peter falls for Francey and after courting her on a day long sightseeing tour, impulsively marries her. The big joke is that they can't consummate the marriage in a biblical sense on the train back to the college and continue to have trouble being alone when in Old Sharon. Then the couple can't tell of their marriage to Peter's stuffy overbearing reactionary father (Charles Coburn), who assumes the snazzy blonde is Keith's gal. When Peter can't get up a nerve to tell his parents or his snobbish fiancée Helen (Frances Mercer) about his marriage, he pushes her into Keith's arms. While Francey is at the prom dance, she gets into a cat fight with the unaware Helen. When the truth is finally revealed, Peter finds he has a surprising ally in his mother (Beulah Bondi), who has been feigning heart attacks at upsetting news for years to stop hubby from showing his temper and to cover up for her less than perfect marriage--complaining that her hubby is more married to the college than he is to her. It ends on the happy note of both father and son learning a life lesson that love is worth fighting for since it's the basis of life.
Stewart and Rogers had dated prior to the movie, and the good chemistry on the screen can be attributed to their mutual feelings for each other.
Rogers sings "You'll Be Reminded of Me" and dances to "The Big Apple."
REVIEWED ON 3/14/2007 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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