Chapters 5-7

Chapter 5
Hollywood and Divorce

The Tip Off October 16, 1931

Ginger’s first three movies for Pathe` are only noteworthy because Ginger is in them.  Of the three, this is the best of the lot.  Tommy Jordan (Eddie Quinllan) is a radio repairman who meets Baby Face (Ginger Rogers) in a compromising situation in her bedroom while repairing her jealous boxer boyfriend’s radio.  Kayo McClure (Robert Armstrong) is in training for a big fight and has angered gangster Nick Vatelli.  Tommy saves Kayo from Nick’s clutches and becomes Kayo’s best friend.  While at a dance, Tommy runs from Baby Face and her teasing advances into the arms of Nick’s girl Edna Merino.
Ginger plays her part well as she bosses Robert Armstrong around and finishes his butchered sentences with correct grammar.  Her timing was perfect as the good-looking, fast-talking, wisecracking, and delectable fiancée.  Ginger and Robert Armstrong on screen spontaneity with each other enhance the film.   Baby Face and Kayo would not know how to interact with each other without quarrelling at the top of their lungs, even though they love each other deeply.
In July, Lela and Ginger take the train to Dallas so Ginger can get a quiet divorce from Jack Culpepper but the lawyer leaked the transaction to the papers.  Ginger was always writing lyrics of some sort.  Daddy John was continually composing and had one of his songs published and this might have encouraged his stepdaughter’s creativity.  In between films, Ginger went back East to perform in the Broadway Theatre in New York City as part of a revue.  On the way back to Hollywood via train, Ginger wrote the lyrics to Used to Be You.  A year later, she was asked to perform the song with Jack Oakie as part of Hollywood on Parade.  Fredric March introduces Ginger.  She sings The Girl Who Used to Be You to Jack Oakie from behind a sheet.  You just see their outlines, Jack is in drag with his pant legs rolled up, and Ginger is wearing a man’s hat, jacket, and slacks.  Then they both come out from behind the sheet while Ginger sings and does some fancy footwork.  They sign off by shaking hands and calling each other by their real names, Lewis Delaney and Virginia Katherine.  Ginger records this song on her album “Hello, Ginger” (1965) for Citel Records.  She sings the original lyrics and changes the girl to The Boy Who Used to Be You.

Suicide Fleet November 20, 1931

William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy of the movies and television), Robert Armstrong, and James Gleason are Ginger’s three suitors.  The beginning of the movie is passable.  However, in all honesty I would never watch this movie again if it were not for Ginger being in it.  ‘Baltimore’ Clark (William Boyd), ‘Dutch’ Herman (Robert Armstrong), and ‘Skeets’ O’Riley (James Gleason) pursue Sally (Ginger) on Coney Island and she sings a song about Dream Kisses, but the sign says, “Cream Kisses”.  I found two sources on the internet who credit Ginger with singing an a cappella Dream Kisses music by M.K. Jerome and lyrics by Jack Yellen  but there is also a credit given to another song Cream Kisses music by Arthur Lange. Jocelyn Faris’s Bio-Bibliography of Ginger Rogers does not list a song title but does quote her as singing, “Cream kisses, Cream kisses, Only a dime.”  Ginger says in her book that she sang, “Dream Kisses, Dream Kisses, Only a Dime”.  It sounds like she sings “Dream Kisses, Dream Kisses, Only a Dime”.  Regardless of the song’s title and whether she sings “Dream” or “Cream” it is a cute clip of the early Ginger peddling salt-water taffy.
Well, back to the movie-The Navy calls Baltimore back to active duty while Dutch and Skeets enlist and fight German U-boats together during World War I.  I have just copied the scenes Ginger is in and watch those when I am in the mood to see a very young girl starting to blossom.  Otherwise, this movie should have committed suicide and never been released.  I wish TCM would quit showing it, as it is abysmal.  Plain and simple there is not enough of Ginger to offset the tomfoolery of the three sailors.

Carnival Boat 1932

This movie is not much of an improvement over the previous film.  Honey (Ginger) is a young woman who is an entertainer on a carnival boat that visits a lumber camp where her young man Buck Gannon (William Boyd) works on his father’s lumber crew.  Jim Gannon (Hobart Bosworth) does not approve of his men taking part in gambling, drinking, and fraternizing with the showgirls.  Honey is a singer on the carnival boat and Jim does everything within his power to break up the romance between his son Buck and showboat singer Honey.  Honey sings with chorus girls backing her up How I Could Go for You sometimes called How I Could Love You.
Success can be fleeting.  Ginger is about to learn that you cannot sit on your laurels.  You need to be your best advocate and go after what you want.  These early films allowed Ginger the opportunity to hone and perfect her craft but were nondescript for the most part.  She was now at loose ends and had to choose between going back to Broadway or sticking it out in Hollywood and making a go of it.

Chapter 6
Ginger Decides to Freelance

The Tenderfoot June 11, 1932

Calvin Jones (Joe E. Brown) is a cowboy from Beeseville, Texas.  The movie starts with his arrival in New York City.  He is anxious to invest his hard-earned cash in a moneymaker.  Calvin runs into Sam Lehman (Lew Cody) and Mack (Robert Greig) who are in need of an angel to fund their play.  They look for a chump (angel) to invest in their defunct play so they can run with the dough when it fails off Broadway.  Clavin fits the bill to a "T". Calvin goes to their office and is swayed to invest his money with the help of their coquettish secretary, Ruth Weston (Ginger) as she needs the money.  Ruth and Calvin provide the romance.  The play Her Golden Sin is a flop but Calvin is able to turn it around by starring Ruth while costuming the cast in Shakespearean clothes.  Ginger is her usual vivacious wisecracking self with vim and vigor while looking sleek and gorgeous.

The Thirteenth Guest August 9, 1932 AKA Lady Beware

This is Ginger’s first starring vehicle.  The Thirteenth Guest is a murder mystery with the usual twists, turns, and red herrings.  I like this movie even though the killers’ high-pitched hysterical voice is over the top but Ginger’s performance is engaging.  Phil Winston (Lyle Talbot) is the gumshoe helping the police in the style of William Powell’s Nick Charles.  Lyle Talbot will pop up on the television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as their neighbor Joe Randolph.  I pull this little gem out every so often to watch just to get my dose of a young but expressive Ginger.  Ginger has a duel role as Marie Morgan and a girl named Lela who resembles Marie after having plastic surgery.
Marie arrives at her abandoned family home on her twenty-first birthday in agreement with the family lawyer Mr. Barksdale. As Marie enters the house, two people get out of a car and enter the rear of the house.  The house is eerie with its numerous cobwebs and shadows.  Even though the house has been unoccupied for the last thirteen years, the lights work, and a telephone is operational.  Marie goes into the dining room and reminisces about a dinner held thirteen years ago as she looks over a cryptic message she received from her dead father on her birthday.  There were to be thirteen guests of which only twelve attended.  To top it off Marie’s father dies that night just as they sat down to dinner.  As Marie ponders the situation, she hears creaking floor boards as I see a man’s legs and feet walk down the hallway.  Marie goes into the poorly lit hall to investigate when you hear a girl’s scream and a shot.  Marie is found dead in the chair she occupied at that mysterious dinner thirteen years ago.  She appears to have been electrocuted.
Disappointment plus until I found out that Marie was able to escape but her look alike, Lela, had been killed in her place.  Who wanted Marie dead?  Why did Lela have surgery in order to look like Marie?  Can Winston figure out who the killer is before corpses of the invited guests line the table?  Is one of the guests the killer?  There are two factions at work here.  Who is the elusive thirteenth guest?  Is the thirteenth guest the murderer or the intended victim?  It is a nifty little mystery with snappy dialogue and comebacks along with some humorous situations.

Hat Check Girl September 25, 1932

Gerry (Sally Eilers) and Jessie (Ginger) are hatcheck girls in a nightclub filled with bootleggers, blackmailers, and the rich. 
Buster (Ben Lyon) the playboy millionaire falls for Gerry.  The movie has murder, blackmail, illegal booze, and romance.
We come to the only feature film I do not own and have not seen of Ginger’s.  Fox needs to do some digging and resurrect this film.  It will complete my collection of her feature length films.  I was able to find a review of the movie from the New York Times dated October 8, 1932.  M. H. is the author of the review entitled Hat Check Girl (1932) Night Club Escapade.  The movie was well received and “is undoubtedly, cleverly photographed, well staged and competently acted…Sally Eilers is attractive and vivacious as Gerry.  Ben Lyon is pleasing as Collins.  Ginger Rogers does effective work as Jessie King, another hat-check girl, who undertakes a little bootlegging on the side.  Monroe Owsley makes the blackmailer, Reese, thoroughly vile, and Dewey Robinson is believable as the hat-check girl employer.”

You Said a Mouthful November 18, 1932 New York City, New York

I have never been a big fan of slapstick comedy when taken to excess.  Jim Carey seems to have taken lessons from Joe E. Brown in my mind’s eye.  Their basic shenanigans, facial expressions, and acting styles in this type of genre are quite similar and resemble the antics of Stan Laruel taken up a notch.  The story revolves around Joe Holt (Joe E. Brown) who is the butt of many a joke at The Armstrong Rubber Goods & Swimming Suit Corp where he works as a clerk in the shipping room.  Joe invents a material that would allow you to float in water and not sink.  Joe’s coworkers trick him into showing his new swimsuit material to his boss, which ends badly, and leaves without his miracle material for an unsinkable swimsuit.
Joe receives news of an inheritance from his Aunt Minnie and sets out for Los Angeles.  When Joe goes to see his aunt’s lawyer he finds out that he has inherited his aunt’s housekeeper’s son, Sam, (Farina from the Our Gang series, 1922-1931), some worthless stocks, and other expenses.  He leaves with five dollars and some change.  He goes down to the docks looking for a job while expressing his fears of water to his new charge.
I see my first glimpse of Alice Brandon (Ginger) as she pages a Joe Holt.  Joe answers the page and goes with Alice on the ferry to Catalina Island.  Joe is staying with Alice and her father but does not realize Alice has mistaken him for the Canadian swimming champion Joe Holt until that evening at dinner.  Alice’s father has sponsored the swimming champion in the yearly marathon swim from Catalina Island to the California coastline.  Joe is love-struck with Alice but Ed Dover has eyes for Alice also and happens to be quite the accomplished swimmer.  Joe stays for Alice and the hilarity starts as Joe tries to learn how to swim for her.  I usually skip many of Joe’s antics but his swim from Catalina Island to the shore, which shows off Joe’s humorous behavior to perfection wearing what he thinks, is an unsinkable swimsuit.  Alice delightfully encourages him on.  It is refreshing to see Ginger in a non show business type role.  Instead, we see a young woman with an added softness to her persona.  All ends well as Joe wins the race and the girl.
Johnny Mack Brown announced Wampas Baby Stars of 1932 in a newsreel while book illustrator Willy Pogany drew a compilation picture of all of the actresses features.  The young starlets are introduced as “Stars of Tomorrow”.  Willy Pogany says, “I guess Ginger Rogers would rather dance?”  Gingers replies, “I would much rather dance than do this.”  The two men say in unison, “We knew it.”  People have a tendency to forget that Ginger was a well-known proficient dancer and singer before she ever danced on screen with Fred Astaire December 29, 1933, in Flying Down to Rio.

42nd Street 1933 March 8, 1933 New York City, New York

42nd Street is touted as the quintessence backstage musical because it is the beginning of the musical revolution in the cinema.  The musical has come to the silver screen with a new dimension added and the public loves it.  Busby Berkeley is the new musical guru.  His elaborate dance sequences and unusual formations are filmed from every conceivable angle almost to distraction is a hit with audiences.  Musicals had to start somewhere and Mr. Berkeley was innovative and brought new status to the film musical.  I remember watching Jackie Gleason’s television show with dancing girls ala Berkeley.  It was like looking through a kaleidoscope.
Every Cinderella story has its beginnings somewhere. This just might be the birth of the musical Cinderella story.  Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) is a successful Broadway director who is putting on one last play in spite of his poor health because he has loss his money in the stock market crash.  Mr. Baxter will costar with Ginger in Lady in the Dark in 1944 and star in a series of “Crime Doctor” movies as Dr. Robert Ordway of the 1940s.
The producers of the play have found an angel in the person of Abner Dillion (Guy Kibbee).  He is in love with Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels) who is playing him so she can star on Broadway.  Dorothy is still in love with her old partner, Pat Denning (George Brent) and they meet on the side.  Dorothy finally breaks with Abner and he threatens to withdraw his money from the play.  Julian and company go to Dorothy’s room to patch things up with her.  They find her in a drunken stupor after a fall, which breaks her ankle.  Whom can they get to save the day or will they need to cancel the play?  The next morning Anne ‘Anytime Annie’ Lowell (Ginger) walks in with Abner after sharing breakfast with him as the new star of the play.  However, Annie says no and defers to a chorus girl, Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler).  Ginger should have gone on and she would have brought down the curtain, but Ruby Keeler was the star of the film.
Ginger loss a part in Ziegfield’s musical Show Girl in 1929, because the star, Al Jolson, insisted on Ruby being his co-star.  Ruby and Dick Powell would become the darlings of the Warner Bros. musical.  Ginger has some good wisecracking dialogue in the movie and I have enjoyed finding her in the background and amongst the other girls in this epic musical.  Ginger and Una Merkle are a pleasant addition to the Shuffle Off to Buffalo number.  Ginger seems to have mastered how to sing and eat an apple at the same time.  I have noticed that she eats an apple or some kind of food in more than one of her movies and it comes off very naturally without choking or mumbling.

Broadway Bad February 24, 1933

I first became aware of Joan Blondell on television in the series Here Comes the Brides 1968-1970.  My father had enjoyed watching her movies in the theater when he was growing up and mentioned it every week as I drooled over Robert Brown and my sister drooled over Bobby Sherman.  I had seen Joan Blondell as a guest star on various television shows.  I did not realize how big a star she was in her day. 
I very seldom get this movie out to view and when I do, I just watch the parts with Ginger.  Her part is not very big but her time is coming soon but Ginger was probably wondering when.

Gold Diggers of 1933 May 27, 1933

This is another Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, and Guy Kibbee musical with Warren William.  Warren William will co-star with Ginger in 1934’s Upper World and play opposite her in LUX Radio Theatre’s The Curtain Rises October 12, 1936.  This is Ginger’s first dramatic role on the radio.  Warren will play famous detectives Philo Vance and Perry Mason.  He is also featured as Michael Lanyard, the Lone Wolf, a retired and reformed jewel thief helping various damsels in distress.  Many actors have played Michael Lanyard but I prefer Warren William and Louis Hayward’s portrayals.
Ginger’s shining moment comes in the opening scene with her magnificent interpretation of We’re in the Money.  Ginger sings the second verse in “pig Latin” while the camera moves in for a close up of her face centering mostly on her mouth.  Ginger’s timing and screen presents is at its best.  Her comic ability and timing is perfection.  At one point when the girls are talking about how all the shows are closing down, they mention the success of the Astaires.
Joan Blondell’s rendition of Remember My Forgotten Man needs remembering today.  Her performance at the end of the movie is overpowering.  You cannot help but get goose bumps. The men and women who give up their lives and sanity for love and duty of country are still forgotten today and go unappreciated.  Our country needs to improve its treatment of our veterans.  We should bow down and kiss the ground these heroic men and women walk on.
Ginger was beginning to make her mark in Hollywood.  She is publicized as a natural dancer and an adept comedic.

Chapter 7
A Contract with RKO and Love on the Horizon

Professional Sweetheart June 9, 1933.

I enjoy this early film of Ginger’s and would enjoy it better if she would have been allowed to sing and not had her voice dubbed.  This was the one and only time this happened in her movie career.  The voice they used does not fit her persona and she could have done a much better job.  She can be the sweet and pure innocent or vamp with the best.  She has a veritable and versatile voice whether speaking or singing.  Ginger does a first-rate job as an orphan girl with the quick comeback and hardnosed exterior forced to masquerade as the “Purity Girl” for a radio show peddling dishrags while also showing a vulnerability and naïveté.  Ginger vamps it up quite well while she struts her stuff for the benefit of her husband Norman Foster.  Ginger is one of the few Love Goddesses to rise above the label and become a credible actress and win an Oscar for drama.
      Ginger is glad to have a contract and enjoys working for other studios on loan out.  It is rewarding to know that studios she had worked with previously wanted her for their pictures.  Ginger has nine pictures in release.

A Shriek in the Night July 22, 1933

     This little murder mystery has Ginger working with Lyle Talbot again as rival newspaper reporters.  Patricia ‘Pat’ Morgan (Ginger) has gone undercover as a private secretary to millionaire Adam Harker because of his association with a racketeer named Josephus Martini. The movie opens with a shriek in the night and Mr. Harker plummeting to the ground purportedly from his penthouse apartment.  The custodian who lives in the basement arises and calls the police.  Upon arrival of the police, Pat’s subterfuge is uncovered.  She goes to her bedroom at the first available moment and calls her story into her paper, so she thinks.  Ted Rand (Lyle Talbot) has arrived on the scene and deviously gained access to the murder scene where he is taking down Pat’s load down of the situation on the extension for his paper.  Well, you know you are in for lively dialogue between the two rivals as Ted pursues Pat while trying to protect her from the killer.  Pat puts up the obligatory resistance expected of her but not with any real force behind it, as she likes Ted.  The dialogue is clever and acted well.  You need to keep on your toes and follow the clues carefully and be careful not to come up with the wrong conclusion.  Pat almost comes to a gruesome end after finding herself in an incinerator located in a sinister looking basement by the elusive killer.   Be sure to take note of the Inspector’s helper, Wilford.  This is a good little picture. It would be a good candidate to be restored. This would help with the darkness of the scenes in the basement and the movie in general.  When I watch this movie, I watch The Thirteenth Guest.
Ginger and Lew had started dating a few months before working on their joint collaboration.  Their romance was literally Earth shattering.  When Lew called to ask Ginger out the Earth moved as if it was a sign of something important was going to happen.  During their date that evening, the Earth kept rolling confirming that their romance receive approval from the Gods as Lew held Ginger in his comforting arms and kissed her.  Ginger and Lew were both very cautious because of their earlier failures in the marriage department.  When shooting started, they were in the midst of a grand romance.  At this time, Lew is the bigger star and Universal’s leading man.  Ginger though popular was mainly involved with “B” movies.

Don’t Bet on Love July 1, 1933

Bill McCaffery (Lew) is a plumber who wants to get rich quick by means of the local racetrack.  Bill works with his father in a father and son plumbing business.  Bill spends more time trying for a parlay and big money against his father’s warnings than working as a plumber.  Bill will have none of it because he gets lucky and wins $250.  His girlfriend, Molly Gilbert (Ginger) disapproves of his gambling.  Molly works as a manicurist in a hotel.  Bill takes her out on the town to celebrate his good fortune.  Bill proposes and Molly declines because she has been telling him for two years that he needed to save $1000 and quit playing the horses.  Bill cajoles her to reconsider.  She asks him to put the remaining $200 in the bank and stop gambling.  Bill cannot resist a sure bet and wins $1500.  He is giddy with anticipation of marrying Molly because he has the $1000.  Molly is swayed against her better judgment and agrees to marry him with the stipulation that he quits gambling.  On their wedding day, Molly has learned that Bill has chosen Saratoga for their honeymoon because the races start on Monday.  Molly nicks the wedding and Bill goes to Saratoga and becomes the “Plumbing Phenomenon” known as the “Plunging Plumber”.  He is riding high and the darling of the racetrack.  Eventually Bill is down and out when Molly comes to the rescue and takes Bill back.  Bill has finally realized that gambling was not going to give him the happiness he wants.  Bill’s father has updated and remodeled his plumbing business with the money Bill had given him early on.  Bill and Molly reunite and marry.
There was talk of them costarring in another film years later when his career was floundering but Lew would have nothing to do with it.

Sitting Pretty November 24, 1933

Chick Parker (Jack Oakie) is a player and he only looks out for numero uno, himself.  Pete Pendleton (Jack Haley, the tin man in Wizard of Oz) is his misguided friend.  Pete would do anything for Chick.  Chick composes music and Pete writes the lyrics to songs.  On their way to Hollywood from New York City, they stop at a lunch wagon.  Dorothy (Ginger), the proprietor, was persuaded by the ever so smooth Chick to cash a rubber check made out to him.  Chick and Pete had met a man who said he was Mr. Tannenbaum (Gregory Ratoff) the movie producer and gave them a check to help them get to California.  Dorothy loses her establishment and takes her young brother to Hollywood in order to collect her money from Chick and Pete.
There is too much Jack Oakie and Jack Haley and not enough of Ginger.  There is a charming duet between the duo of Chick and Gloria Duval (Thelma Todd) and Dorothy and Pete singing You’re Such a Comfort to Me.  Pete puts his hand on Dorothy’s shoulder as she plays the piano and sings along with him.  There is a scene where Pete is teaching Dorothy some taps, which is enjoyable as they tease with one another as they dance.  Dorothy begins to fall out of like with Chick and in love with Pete.  One scene has Dorothy and Pete hanging out the laundry on the clothesline.  Dorothy alludes to the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem “The Courtship of Myles Standish”.  Priscilla says, “Why don't you speak for yourself, John?".  Dorothy is trying to get Pete to speak for himself and not always sticking up for Chick because she has begun to fall in love with him.
Dorothy is hired as a dancer and singer by the studio.  Ginger sings Did You Ever See a Dream Walking with Art Jarrett while being filmed for a scene in a movie.  After the scene is over Chick tries to get Dorothy to forget about him and marry Pete.  She declines and says she cannot do that.  She calls Pete over and explains they were married two weeks ago.
Ginger plays the piano while she sings I Wanna Meander with Miranda and You’re Such a Comfort to Me.  When Dorothy arrives in Hollywood with her brother, she sings the ending to Good Morning Glory.  The story needed to show Dorothy’s and Pete’s romance evolving in more detail.  The scenes Ginger and Jack Haley share sparkle with the freshness of a blossoming romance.  The movie would have been better if it would have centered on Ginger and Jack Haley.
Ginger did not care for the song chosen for her to sing.  She was given permission to go through the stacks of music they had and she chose Did You Ever See a Dream Walking.  The song becomes a hit across the nation.  Ginger recorded Did You Ever See a Dream Walking in 1978 for EMI Records Ltd.  The title of her record album is Miss Ginger Rogers.  Bing Crosby recorded the song in 1933.   Others who have recorded the song are The Pickens Sisters, Fats Domino, Frankie Avalon, Sunny Gale, and Lillian Roth.

Rafter Romance September 1, 1933

This is a delightful romantic comedy with Ginger Rogers and Norman Foster.  This film has a very familiar ring to it as various films and television shows have tweaked this tried and true plot.  Mary Carroll (Ginger) has come to New York to find a job and lives in Greenwich Village.  She has fallen behind in her rent while looking for a job.  Jack Bacon (Norman Foster) is a struggling artist trying to make his way while working as a night watchman has fallen behind in his rent, too.  They both live in an apartment building with a kindhearted landlord, Mr. Eckbaum (George Sidney).  Mr. Eckbaum solves this problem by having Mary share Jack’s attic apartment with restrictions.  Mary has the apartment from 8 PM to 8 AM and Jack has the apartment from 8 AM to 8 PM.  They never need to see one another.  Mary and Jack are outraged at the thought of sharing the domicile with someone of the opposite sex.  What can they do?  Mary finally finds a job as a telemarketer for Icy Air Refrigerators.  Mr. Hubbell (Robert Benchley) is Mary’s lecherous boss and has designs on her.
Mary and Jack are writing snippy notes to one another while pulling pranks on each other.  Naturally, they meet outside of the apartment and fall for each other.  Mary leaves $5 with a note for the landlord to pay for her laundry and Jack pockets it.  He takes Mary out to eat on her dime and they even bat the note back and forth to each other across the table at the restaurant.  Jack then buys her a lovely bouquet of flowers with the rest of her money.  It reminds me of the scene in Twenty Million Sweethearts when Dick Powell takes Ginger out to eat with her money but she figures that one out at dinner.
There is a romantic scene at the office picnic while they drift about in a small boat in a nearby lake.  There is the normal bickering when the cat is out of the bag but love is triumphant in the end.  Ginger is appealing with her portrayal of the resilient hard working girl.  You see Ginger’s capacity for comedy and not overplaying her depiction of Mary.
Mrs. Eckbaum is played by Ferike Boros who will show up in a few of Ginger’s later movies with a prominent part in Bachelor Mother as Ginger’s landlady.  There is a bit part as a fellow telemarketer played by Ellen Corby.  Ellen Corby finds fame as the grandmother in the television show The Waltons.  Robert Benchley will costar with Ginger in The Major and the Miner and Week-End at the Waldorf.

Chance at Heaven October 27, 1933

       Marjorie ‘Marje’ ‘Mug’ (Ginger Rogers) Harris is a SAINT.  She has been waiting two years for fiancé Blackstone ‘Blacky’ Gorman (Joel McCrea) to marry her.  Blacky wants to have a chain of gas stations first.  Then along comes high society to Silver Beach, Massachusetts.  Blacky meets Glory Franklyn (Marian Nixon) a bubble headed socialite who plays the damsel in distress superbly.  This type of woman will always win because it makes the young man in question feel heroic and needed. The moment Glory sees handsome Blacky she begins to play with his emotions as she toys with him.  Blacky falls for Glory's deliberate, youthful charms, and he becomes sympathetic to her plight by listening to her teary tales of parental tyranny.
Glory is engaged to be married to a man chosen by her mother.  Glory knows Marje is engaged to Blacky but that does not stop her from going after him while pleading unhappiness at the prospects of marrying Sid Larrick.  She puts on her helpless act and Blacky takes her into his arms to console her but they end up kissing.  Marje walks in and Glory leaves a befuddled Blacky.  Marje can see Blacky has fallen for Glory so she confronts him.  Blacky denies the accusation and offers to marry Marje immediately because he would never have a chance with Glory.  Marje makes a decision to be honest with Blacky even if it means losing him to Glory who has an awful crush on him.  Marje does not want him just because he thinks he does not have a chance with Glory because that would not remove his infatuation with Glory from his heart.  Marje loves Blacky but if she is going to be hurt she would rather it be now than later after they were married. She rationalizes this is Blacky’s shortcut to everything he has ever wanted just waiting for him to grab it.  Marje nobly terminates their engagement freeing Blacky to marry Glory by saying it is “A chance at heaven.  Better grab it.”  Marje turns and starts to walk away but stops at the door beseeching Blacky with a stiff upper lip and a broken heart saying they can still be friends and he can come by and talk to her about his business.  This is Ginger’s best scene in the movie.  You can feel the pain of a young woman in love who sees the reality of the situation.  Her man is in love with someone else and she is willing to give him up.
Although Glory’s status-conscious mother strongly disapproves of Blacky, Glory elopes and moves into Blacky’s small house.  The home Marje decorated for Blacky and her.  Marrying Blacky is Glory’s act of defiance that fuels the gossip columns and makes Blacky an overnight celebrity.  Big-hearted Marje is there upon Blacky and Glory’s return from their honeymoon with a block of ice for their icebox.
Blacky is totally oblivious to how he has been taken in by Glory and that Marje is still deeply in love with him.  Glory plays dumb quite well and it appears that she has also maneuvered Marje to her side.  Marje although is wiser and knows Glory is a young foolish girl out for a lark and used her to be close to the man she desperately loves.  Marje befriends Glory because Marje still loves Blacky.  She instructs the childish Glory on how to be a proper housewife, redecorating the house with her and even showing her how to make Blacky's favorite dish, chicken potpie.  You can see the hurt and humiliation Marje feels when she watches Blacky and Glory kissing and teasing each other.   Marje’s heart is shattering so she flees the scene.
When Glory discovers she is pregnant, however, she panics, suddenly realizing the seriousness of the marriage "game," and flees to New York to be with her mother.  Blacky goes on blithely saving money for the upcoming birth of his child.  Marje receives a telegram from Glory asking to forward her trunks to California.  Marje goes to visit Blacky to see if he is aware of his wife’s travel plans.  Blacky is perplexed and goes to New York to confront his wife and bring her home.  No longer pregnant as the result of an abortion, a coldly matured Glory informs Blacky that the doctor was mistaken and she wants out of the marriage.  Blacky is smacked hard in the face with the cruel truth that Glory did not really love him and was toying with his affections.
Heartbroken, Blacky drifts for a time, but he eventually returns to the welcoming arms of Marje who has waited patiently for him to realize that Marje is who he really loves.  This is illustrated by his affection for Marje’s chicken potpie.  They are content.  Marje lost the battle but in the end, she wins the war.  However, I wonder if another pretty face comes along who plays the damsel in distress would Marje lose Blacky again?  Therefore, do you bend and take back the love of your life or do you live life without him?  That is the gamble every strong and independent woman has to deal with.  Love has no rhyme or reason and makes fools of us routinely, which manifests itself time after time on the screen and in real life.