Saturday, February 26, 2011
Ginger Rogers Film Review #5: Honor Among Lovers
Run Time (approximate): 75 minutes.
Directed by: Dorothy Arzner.
Screenplay by: Austin Parker and Gertrude Purcell.
Based on a story by: Austin Parker.
Also Starring: Claudette Colbert (as Julia Traynor), Fredric March (as Jerry Stafford), Monroe Owsley (as Philip Craig), Charles Ruggles (as Monty Dunn), Avonne Taylor (as Maybelle Worthington), Pat O'Brien (as Conroy), Janet McLeary (as Margaret Newton), John Kearney (as Inspector), Ralph Morgan (as Riggs), Jules Epailly (as Louis (headwaiter)), Leonard Carey (as Forbes (butler)), Grace Kern (as a party guest), Winifred Harris (as a party guest), Roberta Beatty (as Mrs. Fleming, a party guest), Charles Halton (as Wilkes), Granville Bates (as Clark), Si Wills (as a club waiter), Betty Morrissey (as a party guest), Nathan Rozofsky (as Dr. Nathan Rozofsky), Robert Barrat (as a detective (uncredited)), Elisha Cook Jr. (as an office boy(uncredited)), Charles Trowbridge (as Cunningham (Craig's Attorney)(uncredited)).
Ginger's Character: "Doris Brown"
Ginger 'Screen Time': approx. 3 min, 50 sec. (5.1% of the film)
Ginger Tunes: None
Gingery Goodness Factor (1-10): (1.0) - Ginger used to say, "There are no small roles, only small actors". Well, the role of Doris Brown stretches that axiom to its limit, as Ginger is given 4 or 5 lines for the whole movie... and the character is about as 'airheaded' as you can get, with NO real depth or sassiness whatsoever. In essence, Ginger's role here is for 'brief comic relief', but that occurs in just a few short scenes. This role is honestly Ginger's 'least', thus will most likely hold down the lowest GGF ranking for the duration of these reviews - well, I suppose 'zero' would be the LOWEST, but I give it a one just for the simple act of casting Ginger in ANY capacity.
GingerFilm Ranking: #5 of (5) Reviewed
Film Quality (1-10): (7.5) - Pretty fuzzy, but fair audio, and not many noticeable 'skips'.
Available From: eBay (maybe)
Huey's Review for Gingerology: Ginger's fifth film is, as mentioned, has Ginger in a VERY limited capacity. The movie itself is not bad, as it is the old 'love triangle' theme, as two dudes vie for the affection of lovely Miss Julie Traynor (Claudette Colbert). In one corner is Julie's boss, Jerry Stafford (Fredric March), and in the other corner is Philip Craig (Monroe Owsley), who has been Julie's 'steady' for some time.
Jerry takes Julie's title 'personal secretary' quite literally, as he is all up in her business constantly; Julie just dismisses it as part of the 'work experience'. Meanwhile, Philip has finally gotten up enough moxie to ask for Julie's hand in marriage, which she accepts. Of course, upon hearing of this, Jerry congratulates her, then promptly fires her.
But in a weird connection, Jerry entrusts gobs of his money to Philip to invest...and it pays off well, for awhile. Of course, the bottom falls out (as most stock-trading stuff seems to do in early 30's cinema, natch) and Philip is freaking out since he lost all of Jerry's clams in a bad deal.
Julie goes to Jerry to plea bargain, as only she could... but Jerry somehow keeps things 'above board' since she is now a married woman... from there, Philip just freaks out further, gunfire occurs, stories are corroborated, and all the usual suspects are rounded up... and the ending is for you to discover.
Overall, a pretty fair movie, but Ginger is just not well utilized at all... even in her 'comedy relief' role as Doris 'what's-her-name' - the 'fiancee' of Jerry's employee/broker/yes-man Monty Dunn (Charlie Ruggles), there should have been a bit more 'dialogue' or whatever... but the film itself was definitely a 'melodrama', so her scenes were few and far between. Again, I really dig Claudette, so it's definitely a good watch... but Ginger moves on to MUCH greener pastures after this role, y'all...
Favorite Ginger Line(s) / Moment(s): Of the four or five lines Ginger is allowed to utter in this film, the 'cutest' is when someone asks her what her last name is, and she goes into a detailed background of her family tree and the variations of surnames, before Monty cuts her off and succinctly announces,"Her last name is Brown."
...Ginger's first (and to my knowledge, ONLY) 'silent' scene... no dialogue at ALL in her first appearance...a foreshadowing of the remainder of her role in the film, unfortunately...
"...hmmm...wonder if those guys from RKO-Pathe will be calling again soon..."
"...I hope Lelee will be willing to move to Cali..."
"...I think she'll be OK with it...as long as they don't make me bleach my hair or anything..."
...And another smooch on the snoot for Ginger...was there some kind of law back then that you couldn't kiss a female on the lips until she reached 21? Hays wasn't afoot then, so, maybe a mandate from Lelee? No matter, as it's pretty cute anyway...
As usual, here are a few 'promo' pics gleaned from various books...a big 'source' for me is 'The Films of Ginger Rogers' by Homer Dickens...it's an awesome book, a MUST for any Gingerologist... again, they are on the 'grainy' side, but hopefully are 'clear' enough to be discernible - DEFINITELY better than some screen shots...
...as a 'side note', doesn't Charles Ruggles remind you just a bit of William Powell?
Other Reviews: "Claudette Colbert and Fredric March in the leading roles have been provided with ideal roles and give finished performances. Other outstanding players are Charles Ruggles and Ginger Rogers." -Motion Picture Herald.
"Mr. March makes his part as believable as it is humanly possible. Mr. Ruggles furnished some good comedy when he had the opportunity. Mr. Owsley does good work and Miss Colbert is excellent." -The New York Times
From Ginger: My Story: "The fifth film I did for Paramount was Honor Among Lovers with Claudette Colbert and Fredric March. Charlie Ruggles and I were the comic relief in the story of a business executive and his secretary. This time, the director was the talented Dorothy Arzner, one of the few female directors in the movies at that time."
--- The movie was shot in French and Spanish versions.
--- Fredric March was reported to be very taken with Claudette Colbert, to the point of being a 'burden' for Colbert when working with him.
--- Working titles for the film included 'Strictly Business', 'Sex in Business', and 'Another Man's Wife'.
GingerFilm 'rankings' through FIVE reviews:
#1: Queen High;
#2: Young Man of Manhattan;
#3: The Sap from Syracuse;
#4: Follow The Leader;
#5: Honor Among Lovers.
Up Next: "The Tip-Off" - Ginger's first movie with RKO (well, at that point it is RKO-Pathe) is, as I remember, a GOOD bit more Gingery, so looking forward to it... it's her transition from Broadway to Hollywood, which seemed to work out quite well... the film is a typical 'light gangster' movie from the late 20's - early 30's... and is ultimately more of a comedy. Eddie Quillian and Robert Armstrong co-star.