We’re back for some more fun with the 1935 Ginger Rogers movie In Person, also starring George Brent and Alan Mowbray!
Coming Up Shorts! with… Rocket To Mars (1946)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)
Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.
(Length: 6 minutes, 35 seconds)
While touring a museum, Popeye and Olive accidentally start a rocket that takes Popeye to Mars. Fun little cartoon, possibly one of the first to feature an alien invasion (or so I’ve read). Admittedly, Olive’s presence is so quick, you almost wonder why they bothered. The fighting between Popeye and the Martian Bluto (and his troops), especially after Popeye has his spinach, is fun as always (even if it is a little one-sided). Obviously, realism goes down the drain here, but that’s the fun, and I definitely enjoyed this cartoon!
And Now For The Main Feature…
After being mobbed by a group of unruly fans, movie star Carol Corliss (Ginger Rogers) developed a fear of crowds and people. Wearing a disguise of a wig, glasses, buck teeth and a veil, she tries to go back out under the guise of “Clara Colfax,” with limited success. On one attempted outing, she is nearly in an accident, but is helped by Emory Muir (George Brent). When she later overhears him talking with his uncle Judge Thaddeus Parks (Grant Mitchell) about going to a mountain retreat, she tries to get in on the idea. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Aaron Sylvester (Samuel S. Hinds), a friend of the judge, reluctantly signs off on the idea, but doesn’t tell Emory who “Clara” really is. When they arrive, Emory lets “Clara” stay in the cabin by herself, while he goes to a nearby shack. In the morning, while bird-watching, he spies Carol swimming in the lake, and follows her wet footprints back to the cabin. Going into town for an errand, he finds a few pictures of Carol Corliss in the magazines and realizes who she is. Upon returning to the cabin, he finds that Carol has abandoned her disguise and decides to tell him who she is. He fakes a lack of knowledge of Carol Corliss, and has her work around the cabin, doing cleaning and cooking chores instead of letting her sit around doing nothing. As Carol tries to convince him of the truth, she starts getting through her fear, even taking him to a local screening of one of her movies, where she has to deal with another mob of fans. There, she also runs into her co-star, Jay Holmes (Alan Mowbray), who has come after her to bring her back to Hollywood. Emory threatens to leave, but Carol manages to con the local sheriff into forcing a marriage between the two. However, the sheriff catches Jay instead, resulting in some confusion until Emory shows up, and the two are reluctantly married, with plans to divorce before Carol goes back to Hollywood.
Based on a novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams (who wrote It Happened One Night), the movie was originally conceived as a potential Astaire-Rogers film. Fred Astaire turned it down, but Ginger decided in favor of it, and was joined by others who had worked on the Astaire-Rogers films, including director William A. Seiter (who had directed the 1935 Roberta), regular writer Allan Scott, choreographer Hermes Pan and lyricist Dorothy Fields. The new music was written by Oscar Levant. Honestly, the Astaire-Rogers connection makes it a bit more fun, with Easter Eggs such as the song “Lovely To Look At” playing on the radio when they first get to the cabin, or Alan Mowbray’s line of “I’ve co-starred in every picture that Carol Corliss has ever made” (which probably fit Ginger better, as she had had a movie career apart from Fred, but, outside of his small debut in Dancing Lady, she had co-starred with him in every movie he had done up to that point).
Now, I had first heard of the movie when I read the book Astaire And Rogers by Edward Gallafent most of fifteen years ago. According to that book, it was said to be a difficult movie to find, so when I found it listed on the schedule for the Turner Classic Movies channel a few years later, I jumped at the chance and recorded it on my DVR. I ended up enjoying it very much! With only three new songs, it really barely qualified as a musical (especially since the first song doesn’t really happen until more than halfway into the movie), but they were still fun! Admittedly, the song “Don’t Mention Love To Me,” sung by Ginger for the “movie-within-a-movie,” was rather forgettable. However, the song “Got A New Lease On Life” was fun, giving Ginger a chance to dance around the cabin while she was still preparing the food (and if I have any complaints about that one, it’s that the dance was too short). But I REALLY enjoyed the tune “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind,” which starts with her walking on a revolving bar while she sings, before getting off to dance with the male chorus. While her dancing may not be as polished as it would be when she danced with Fred Astaire, it’s still a fun dance number! I do admit to having mixed feelings about George Brent’s character. On the one hand, Ginger’s character is a bit selfish and too proud to do work to start out, but then again, I do feel that his thing of making her do domestic chores is pushing it a little. Still, I will readily admit to enjoying this movie, and I very heartily recommend it!
So, as you can imagine, after seeing it that first time, I very patiently waited for this movie to be released on DVD, and finally, the Warner Archive Collection announced it for release on DVD on March 19, 2019, much to my happiness (and it certainly took long enough to come out)! Now, do I wish it could have been given a full restoration and released on Blu-ray? Yes. But I’m no fool. As I said before, this movie has been described as rare and hard to see, which makes me question what shape the film elements might be in or what’s available, and, since the movie has been (to quote my favorite song from this movie) “out of sight and out of mind,” it certainly wasn’t likely to be popular enough to warrant what might be a costly restoration, so I’m definitely glad to have it on disc, so that it is that much easier to see!
Film Length: 1 hour, 27 minutes
My Rating: 10/10
*ranked #5 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2020
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Alan Mowbray – Rose-Marie (1936)
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