Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Ginger Marathon

Since moving away from home, I've had to learn how to occupy myself alone on holidays. I try to do something unique to wherever I'm at and then I normally watch movies that no one else I know would be interested in.

So I began Easter 2014 at the Studio City Farmer's Market. I bought the most beautiful blueberries and the sweetest peaches. I also picked up some green chili tamales to have for lunch. Then this afternoon I settled in for the main event: 1930's Ginger Roger movies (without Fred Astaire).

First up: Bachelor Mother (1939)
TCM screened this film a couple weeks ago during it's annual film festival but I was unable to attend. I was sorry to have missed it because I do adore this movie. Ginger Rogers plays a store clerk who by happenstance finds an orphan baby. Everyone mistakes the baby for her's, including the owner of the store where she works. David Niven plays her overworked boss and through the course of the movie, the two of them fall in love (as one does when in the presence of Ginger Rogers for any period of time). I like how the film deals with the subject matter. Rogers is believed to be an unwed mother in 1939! Not only is everyone trying to help her succeed, but they are going above an beyond to make sure she is successful. Rather than ostracizing Rogers, they are embracing her. A very unconventional idea for the time.

It's a sweet movie with a sweet story and isn't melodramatic in the least. In fact, it's quite funny. The on-going gag with the wind up ducks is wonderful.

Second on the agenda was In Person (1935). This time, Rogers is paired with George Brent. This movie isn't near as cute as Bachelor Mother but I do like seeing early Ginger before she found her "grit" so to speak. This was back when the studio was still playing up her sweetness. I think they found out through the course of the 1930s that Ginger was much more than just a pretty face, the woman was dynamic and could act with the best in the business. When I watch In Person, it's to see the career foil of where Ginger Rogers was in '35 and where she would end up in only a few years time. Her character in this movie is a shy, nervous-breakdown starlet who spends her time at a isolated cabin with George Brent. The film doesn't really have any depth and the ending is a bit unresolved but the dance numbers are fun and George Brent really knew how to let his leading ladies shine.

Last up: Vivacious Lady (1938). Ginger Rogers and James Stewart! It doesn't get much better than this! These two made such a wonderful couple on screen. Rogers plays a nightclub singer who marries Stewart, a botany professor. They keep the marriage a secret because they know his father (who is president of the university where Stewart works) wouldn't approve. This movie has one of my favorite all time things: a scene with a drunk Jimmy Stewart! I love when this man plays loaded! He is absolutely adorable. Rogers is at her best balancing her sweetness with a bit of a bite. She even has herself a hair pulling cat fight! Lady isn't to be missed if you are a fan of either Rogers or Stewart.

So I will round out my Easter with church tonight and pizza with friends afterwards. I always miss when I spend holidays away from home but today wasn't a bad day in California after all.

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