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Friday, 1 March 2013

Classic Film Review: Vivacious Lady (1938)

Vivacious Lady stars Ginger Rogers and James Stewart as a couple who have a whirlwind romance, get married and then have to face his domineering father. Francey (Rogers) is singing at a club when Peter (Stewart) arrives to take his cousin, Keith (James Ellison), home to the town they live in. Unfortunately, Keith doesn't want to go because he has fallen for a girl. After five minutes alone with her, so does Peter and they quickly marry. When they travel to Old Shannon, though, they are met at the station by Mr Morgan (Charles Coburn) and Peter's fiance, Helen (Frances Mercer). Peter promises to break the news but finds himself increasingly unable to get past his father's self-importance.

This is a gorgeous little film. With Rogers at the height of her powers, she puts in a fantastic comedic performance as vivacious Francey, a woman who's not ashamed of who she is and doesn't want to feel her husband's ashamed of her. Equally, Stewart is hilarious as the occasionally bumbling professor who really does want to be his own man but frequently makes a hash of it. There are a couple of standout moments in this film. The first is when Francey gets into a rather physical fight with her romantic adversary. Rogers's comic timing in this scene is impeccable. Equally, when Peter decides to teach his father a lesson by getting drunk in front of a class the result is fantastic. Rogers and Stewart spark well off each other, and also off the rest of the cast. The other excellent moment comes with Francey, Keith and Mrs Morgan (Beulah Bondi) dancing along to the radio only to be interrupted by Mr Morgan. Again, Rogers's eyebrows are on their best behaviour.

I laughed out loud in several places while watching this. Yes, it employs the old whirlwind romance trope but it's so much fun that I couldn't help but enjoy it. It's a lovely comedy that I would thoroughly recommend, not least for a look at James Stewart, who seems so young in this one!

1 comment:

patrick lordoew said...

This is hard to find dvd but these sites below seem to have it if anyone has been looking for it. Thanks