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The Major and The Minor

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Sue Sue Applegate
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The Major and The Minor

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 21st, 2010, 7:30 pm

This is one of my favorite films, hence my screen moniker, Sue Sue Applegate. In the movie, however, the character's name is spelled "SU SU." One day in the 70's, I was watching the afternoon movie on Channel 13 in Houston, Texas, and my life was changed.

I had always been a mimic ( doing impressions of my friends, relatives, cartoon characters, and movie stars), but I had
kept much of my repertoire to myself , my immediate family, and a few close friends. After I saw that movie, I was able to embrace my inner impressionist.

Here was Ginger Rogers, a famous movie star, and she could do impressions of her mother, a twelve-year-old, Rita Johnson, and several others within the framework of her character, Susan Applegate from Stevenson, Iowa. I felt that
since Ginger could succeed so well with her ability to mimic, I might as well embrace my "gifts" as well.

Since that afternoon when my mother encouraged me to watch that movie, I was able to delve into my vast internal landscape of archived silliness and make as much merriment as I dared. So not only do I enjoy viewing this movie, but I also relished the liberation it bestowed upon a gawky teenager with big feet and even bigger fears of exposure.

In my family, once it was known that you had any talent at anything, you were required to perform for family gatherings, in doctor's offices, on an airplane, under an umbrella waiting in line for a movie, and anywhere my mother or father
decided to exploit my "talents."

Anyone else have fond memories of Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Rita Johnson, and Diana Lynn in "The Major and The Minor?"
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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby JackFavell » January 21st, 2010, 7:50 pm

Sue Sue - My father had a huge crush on Diana Lynn, from this movie and from Miracle of Morgan's Creek. Her precociousness won his young 12 year old heart. Years later, he got me interested in classic films, and I "discovered" The Major and the Minor for myself. I went to him and told him that I thought that Diana Lynn was just about the best thing in the movie, and he poured out his story of unrequited love for her....

I love this movie so much. It is too, too beguiling!

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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 21st, 2010, 8:20 pm

I thought Rita Johnson was excellent in this. She was a great "heavy" and also "too beguiling." But as Diana Lynn said in the film, she's a "stinker."

As for that Quail recipe with chesnut stuffing, I have tried making it, but with chicken and pecans.

My mom also talked a great deal about clothes, and she loved the little sequined number Ginger donned when she
went to meet Major Kirby that evening after the dance.
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feaito

Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby feaito » January 21st, 2010, 9:19 pm

Hi Sue Sue,

Thanks for sharing your very interesting experiences with respect to "The Major and the Minor" (1942). I first saw it last year -I bought the DVD edition released by Universal- and I loved the film. I had been waiting for a long time to see this particula movie, ever since I saw the remake -I was under 14- with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin and I learnt that there was an original version. Ginger Rogers is superb and so is the rest of the cast, and Wilder's direction is very good -as usual. It's a classic film that I'll definitely revisit many times :D Ginger fared much, much better in this one than in the 1944 "Lady in the Dark" which I also saw quite recently.

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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby JackFavell » January 21st, 2010, 9:30 pm

I have seen Rita in two movies, and I quite agree, she is excellent here... quite awful, but yet with that glimmer of understanding that makes a great villain.... her scene with Ginger at the end is chilling. Before that, you almost feel sorry for her.

I really like Ginger as her own mother. I think it may almost be my favorite Ginger performance. She is so warm and sensible.

Is this the dress?
Image

Here is a pic of Ginger and her mother, Lela with Walter Owens, who I assume was maybe her mother's husband?
Image

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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 22nd, 2010, 12:56 am

JackFavell, thanks for that lovely photo! Yes, that's the "dreamy" dress. It was one that Su-Su supposedly modeled and was able to purchase with her deep discount. I really enjoyed Ginger acting like her own mom, too.

Feaito, so glad you were able to see this Ginger version. :lol:

Remember the scene where she is on the train and she has to hide the cigarette in her mouth while she's smoking?
Ouch! How did she endure such a scene?

Only someone of Swedish stock could stowaway a stogie like that! :shock:
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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby JackFavell » January 22nd, 2010, 7:46 am

Look at this - you can see her skin is flawless. Then check out her grown-up nails:

Image

jdb1

Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby jdb1 » January 22nd, 2010, 9:29 am

I always enjoy The M and the M, but what really impresses me is Rogers' absence of glamour makeup. In fact, in some scenes she really does look like she's wearing virtually no makeup at all. Many other actresses of the period wouldn't have dreamt of downgrading like that, even to play a child. You can see freckles. Very brave.

She forgot about the hands, though. What 12-year-old of that period would have nails like that?

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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby JackFavell » January 22nd, 2010, 10:21 am

Hey, she only had a little time in the ladies room to create her look... I can forgive the fingernails. :D

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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby movieman1957 » January 22nd, 2010, 10:55 am

The most fun thing about this film the last time I saw it was when the shot of the girls with the Veronica Lake hairstyles came up and I didn't have to explain it to anyone. (They knew the reference.)

It is a tough sell trying to pass off a 35 year old woman (or whatever Ginger was) as a 12 year old but if you can put that aside (which is easy enough to do) this is a lot of fun.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby JackFavell » January 22nd, 2010, 11:19 am

"We use em for women...."


I love the fact that the boys of the academy know a good thing when they see one... one of the great parts of the movie is how they all try to hit on her. One look and they swoop. I mean, it's Ginger Rogers! And they really exploited that for a lot of laughs. Long term relationships are mercilessly killed, all those Veronica Lakes are shoved aside, just to get a moment with Ginger. You cannot fool a teenage boy. The scent of a woman. It's a scream!

Image

There is one boy who I swear looks like a young Ryan O'Neal... I had to look him up but he wasn't.

jdb1

Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby jdb1 » January 22nd, 2010, 1:22 pm

JackFavell wrote:
"We use em for women...."


I love the fact that the boys of the academy know a good thing when they see one... one of the great parts of the movie is how they all try to hit on her. One look and they swoop. I mean, it's Ginger Rogers! And they really exploited that for a lot of laughs. Long term relationships are mercilessly killed, all those Veronica Lakes are shoved aside, just to get a moment with Ginger. You cannot fool a teenage boy. The scent of a woman. It's a scream!


Yes, for sure that's part of the joke -- the wilful blindness of the adults and the boys. Rogers is no 12 year old, certainly not in that era. Girls did not mature so quickly then; there weren't common foods stuffed with hormones and other chemicals, and there wasn't an MTv culture to emulate. A 12 year old was still very much a child. Diana Lynn saw it right away, as most in the real world would have. The others saw what they wanted to see. The adults saw a child to patronize, and the boys saw a dream come true: a girl of their own age group who was unmistakably sexually mature (although 12 really would have been too young for that group of boys). Taken in its social historical context, the movie really is quite intentionally risque on many levels.

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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby mrsl » January 22nd, 2010, 6:50 pm

.[color=#004000]
I love the look on Ginger's face in the group photo with all the cadets. It's as if she's thinking "You poor babies, if you only knew. . . . "


Personally, I think Ginger made a better 12 year old in this than Kathleen Turner made a 16 year old Peggy in 1986's Peggy Sue Got Married.

.[/color]
Anne


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* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

]***********************************************************************

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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 22nd, 2010, 9:56 pm

Yes, Mrsl, Ginger made a better 12-year-old than anyone else. And JackFavell, I do forgive her for the lack of attention to
dah nails. And it did take courage to be filmed with no make up. Her skin appears so healthy, jdb1. In some scenes, it looks like it's glowing.

I just love those turtleneck fashion socks, though. Everytime I get ready to retire an old sweater, I always remember,
Hey, I could snip me a new pair of socks! :shock:

I just think about the hair department with 19 million Veronica Lake dos to do. Pass the setting gel, Mr. Sydney. :lol:
(I'm sure they had to enlist help from other studios!)

One of my all-time favorite lines was delivered by Robert Benchley in this film while preparing for a Revigora hair treatment:
"Why don't you get out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini?" :lol:
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Re: The Major and The Minor

Postby JackFavell » January 23rd, 2010, 10:00 am

Sue Sue -

What a great idea! I wish I'd thought of using old sweaters for leg warmers!


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