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Monday, 18 July 2011

Box Set Monday #4: Ginger Rogers (Special Guest Post)

For the fourth "Box Set Monday" post, I am super duper excited to introduce to the first guest poster this blog has ever had, the marvellous Audrey of Fedoras and High Heels
Hello, readers-of-Sophie’s-wonderful-blog! I am honored to be doing a guest post on here this week for the “Box Set Monday” feature! The subject of my imaginary box set will be six of my favorite films starring the multi-talented Ginger Rogers.

As you can probably imagine, it is difficult to select six essential films from an actress who appeared in over seventy films (or was it eighty?). I tried to pick a variety of roles that showcase Ginger’s many talents and give viewers a good introduction to her filmography.

Ginger Rogers’ Box Set

Carefree, 1938
Bachelor Mother, 1939
Primrose Path, 1940
Stage Door, 1937
The Major and the Minor, 1942
I'll Be Seeing You, 1944

Although Ginger is best known today as being the dancing partner of Fred Astaire, you’ll notice that Carefree is the only one of their collaborations to make this list. While I do (by all means, do!) recommend viewing the other nine films they made together, I chose this one because the plot largely showcases Ginger—especially her comedic talents. Of course, there are also some wonderful dances between her and Fred, so you get a sampling of what made their iconic pairing so great.

In Bachelor Mother, when Ginger’s character gets stuck with a newborn baby, her boss at work assumes that she is an unwed mother. Basically, this film is just a great deal of fun. The plot is ridiculously delightful and David Niven has wonderful chemistry with Ginger.

You’ll notice that while Ginger’s Oscar-winning role of Kitty Foyle did not make the list, her other 1940 film—Primrose Path—did. That’s because I actually like this one better, and I think Ginger gives a finer performance. (I realize that may be an unpopular opinion, so feel free to disagree!). Considering that the Production Code was in effect, this film deals with some taboo subjects. But it manages to do so without resorting to a lot of stereotypes. Ginger gives a really natural, subtle performance that I consider one of the finest of her career. As an interesting side note, she dyed her hair brunette to de-glamorize (is that even a word?) for the role.

Stage Door is a marvelous drama (with some comedy thrown in) about a boarding house of aspiring actresses. I especially love Ginger in this because she gets some great lines and goes toe-to-toe with Katharine Hepburn without blinking an eye. The dynamic between the actresses in this is is snappy, sometimes catty, but always entertaining. How could it not be with a cast that, in addition to Ginger and Kate, includes a young Ann Miller, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, and Gail Patrick?

Okay, so Ginger really doesn’t look twelve here, but The Major and the Minor is such laugh-out-loud funny comedy that it’s okay (plus, it’s all kind of explained in the story). I especially love how Ginger has to bounce between her real age and pretending to be a twelve-year-old (as you can see in the photos). Oh, and there’s even a scene where she pretends to be her grandmother!

I'll Be Seeing You is a tender and unlikely love story of a shell-shocked WWII veteran and a wrongly accused convict. I love this film because it has a very quiet and honest feel to it. Some people may call it sentimental, but I think the the strength of the performances brings a depth to the characters and keeps it from being too sappy. I’m not really sure how else to describe this film...except that you need to see it! Though it takes place during Christmas, don’t expect a typical holiday movie. :)

So that's it for my imaginary box set. Be sure to chime in with your favorite Ginger films in the comments! 
That was a lot of fun! Thanks for having me, Sophie. I love reading your blog and especially enjoy your contagious enthusiasm for classic films! :D

Thank you so much for such a great post, Audrey :) I loved reading your summaries and, being shamefully lacking in knowledge of Ginger films, I'm looking forward to watching those that I haven't seen - especially Bachelor Mother and Primrose Path! It's been a real pleasure having you, Audrey! :D

Like always, if any of you would like to write a "Box Set Monday" post, just leave me a comment, send me an email, tweet me, send a carrier pigeon etc. and we'll see what we can do! ;D 

Thanks for reading and please check out my 5 mini film reviews post from yesterday!


  1. Audrey, that's a perfect box set.

    I don't think there is another character in all filmdom that makes me as angry as the grandmother in "Primrose Path".

  2. Thanks for having me, Sophie! :D

    Caftan Woman: ugh, I totally agree! There are quite a few moments in that film where I was just going 'oh no!'.

  3. Audrey, you know from my Ginger Centennial post I highly approve of these titles!! Thanks for letting me know about your guest post. I love your ideas for a Ginger boxed set!

    Best wishes,

  4. @Laura: Yeah, it's funny that we picked virtually the same titles as favorites!

  5. Audrey, Caftan Woman is right, that truly is the perfect GR box-set.

    Sophie, I'd love to do a Box Set Monday for Debbie Reynolds.

  6. @Amada Cooper - That would be great! I couldn't find anyway of contacting you on your blog so hopefully you'll see this and get in touch with me so we can work something out. :)


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