And our next movie is the Ginger Rogers film Tom, Dick And Harry, also starring George Murphy, Alan Marshal and Burgess Meredith.
Coming Up Shorts! with… The Island Fling (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: 7 minutes, 9 seconds)
Popeye and Olive end up on an island with a love-hungry Robinson Crusoe (Bluto). Another fun cartoon, with gags galore as Bluto tries to woo the newly arrived Olive, with Popeye getting sent off to do other things, like hunt and search for buried treasure. Personally, I love the joke with Bluto’s “Hope” chest right next to a “Crosby” chest, but the rest is fun, too! The main downside here, though, is Bluto’s man Friday, who is a rather racist stereotype in looks and personality. Still, I had some fun with this one!
And Now For The Main Feature…
Telephone operator Janie (Ginger Rogers) has been going with car salesman Tom (George Murphy) for quite a while now, and he has decided to propose after a recent promotion. Janie tentatively says yes, although she dreams of being able to meet a millionaire. The next day, she sees a big car owned by a millionaire driving by her bus stop, and she decides to get in. She gets a date with the driver, Harry (Burgess Meredith), but finds out on the date that he was not the owner but an auto mechanic who was delivering the car to the owner. After one date with him, he proposes, and she accepts, particularly due to the power of his kiss. The next day, Harry comes across Tom at his business, and Tom, unable to refuse a potential sale, tries to convince him to buy a car instead of going on his date with Janie. Harry, who knew about Tom already, decides to take advantage of the situation and has Tom come to pick up his girlfriend to get her approval. Tom is shocked when he stops in front of Janie’s house, and he ends up leaving them at Inspiration Point (a make-out spot for couples). Harry and Janie end up getting a ride back with millionaire Dick Hamilton (Alan Marshal) and his girlfriend, although Janie really gets his attention. The next day, she disconnects a call between Dick and his girlfriend, which results in them breaking up since each thought the other hung up. Dick asks Janie out, and flies her out to Chicago. On the return trip, Janie tricks him into proposing, but he likes the idea and leaves the offer open (and of course, she says yes). Upon returning to her home, they are met by Tom and Harry, and now Janie must make a choice of who to marry!
After her dramatic turn in Kitty Foyle, Ginger Rogers followed it up with this movie. She returned to a comedy, and was re-teamed with her Bachelor Mother director Garson Kanin. The Oscars took place during filming, when she won Best Actress for Kitty Foyle. Afterward, she was famously greeted by the male cast and crew wearing top hats and tails, in her honor. Tom, Dick And Harry was the last film as part of her seven year contract with RKO studios at the time, and, with her Oscar win, she had more freedom as a freelance actress, making movies for other studios as well as RKO.
I will admit, as I’ve been going through Ginger’s filmography in order (at least, for the movies I actually have), I was very reluctant to return to this one. I saw it once at the beginning of the decade, and it was one that I didn’t take to very strongly. So, imagine my surprise when I found it a whole lot more enjoyable the second time around! A lot of the humor worked much better, and it was fun seeing Phil Silvers in one of his early roles, even if he was supposed to be an annoying character as the ice cream man trying to sell his ice cream at Inspiration Point (and ruining many a good romantic mood at the place, no doubt). What made it weird for me on the first viewing (and, to a degree, it still was again this time) was the dream sequences as she imagines life married to each of the men (and one final one where she was married to all three). Those sequences were funnier this time around, but it still feels weird seeing the “kids” in those dreams (which really amounted to being the actors made up to look younger). Honestly, though, that is probably the main complaint I have against this movie, as it was a lot of fun the second time around! Burgess Meredith does impress me the most as Harry, and is generally worth a few good laughs (especially when he goes to Tom’s workplace and, even though he resisted at first, goes along with the sales pitch to see how Tom would react later during the test drive)! All in all, a very fun movie, and one that is very easy to recommend!
This movie is available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection.
Film Length: 1 hour, 27 minutes
My Rating: 9/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Kitty Foyle (1940) – Ginger Rogers – Roxie Hart (1942)
Little Nellie Kelly (1940) – George Murphy – For Me And My Gal (1942)
Burgess Meredith – Magnificent Doll (1946)
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