And now, for my last review of 2019, we have the classic 1938 comedy Vivacious Lady starring Ginger Rogers and James Stewart!
Professor of botany Peter Morgan (James Stewart) comes to New York City in search of his cousin Keith Morgan (James Ellison), in an attempt to bring him back to the university at Old Sharon. He finds him at a nightclub waiting for a girl he likes, but before Peter can get him out of there, he meets and is instantly smitten with Francey (Ginger Rogers), the lady Keith was waiting for. After one date, Peter and Francey are married, and she comes back with him to Old Sharon. However, Peter hasn’t told his parents yet, nor his fiancee, which leaves him apprehensive of how everybody will react. Before he can tell his father (Charles Coburn), he assumes her to be there with Keith, and disapproves. Peter hopes to tell them at the university’s prom, but things go wrong when his now former-but-doesn’t-know-it-yet fiancee Helen (Frances Mercer) starts a fight with Francey, which Peter and his father come upon at a poor time. When he gets frustrated from his failed attempts at being alone with Francey, Peter manages to tell his father, who disapproves and doesn’t want Peter to tell his mother. However, his mother (Beulah Bondi) soon finds out accidentally, and she approves. However, Mr. Morgan comes to tell Francey that either she will divorce Peter, or he will have to demand Peter’s resignation, which angers Mrs. Morgan and results in her leaving her husband. Francey doesn’t want to cause trouble for Peter, so she decides to leave.
This wonderful comedy was directed by George Stevens, who was working with Ginger again after previously directing her in the Astaire/Rogers film Swing Time. His comedy pedigree came from working with comedy team Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy on some of their classic short comedies. James Stewart was chosen for this movie by Ginger herself, since they had dated previously, and she had gained enough starpower to make that choice. And of course, this was one of several times that actress Beulah Bondi would portray James Stewart’s mother, including in the previously reviewed Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
Overall, this is a wonderful comedy, with at least two particularly wonderful comic bits. The first one would be when Ginger’s Francey and Frances Mercer’s Helen butt heads at the prom. They start out calmly discussing things before they start slapping each other, then kicking, then brawling (and Jimmy bringing his father out to meet Francey only to see them still going at each other just makes it that much funnier)! Then of course, there would be the moment where Francey and James Ellison’s Keith teach Mrs. Morgan the Big Apple dance. It’s so much fun to watch all three of them really getting into it, and then in comes Mr. Morgan, who is incensed at seeing what was happening! While these are two of the more memorable moments for me, the whole movie is a lot of fun, and one I would very much recommend for a good laugh!
This movie is available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection.
Seeing as how this is my last review for 2019, I want to wish you all a happy New Year (and of course, I hope you’ll tune in again tomorrow to see my 2019: Year In Review + Top 10 Movies Watched)!
Film Length: 1 hour, 30 minutes
My Rating: 10/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Swing Time (1936) – Ginger Rogers – Having Wonderful Time (1938)
After The Thin Man (1936) – James Stewart – You Can’t Take It With You (1938)
A Damsel In Distress (1937) – Jack Carson – Having Wonderful Time (1938)
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