Monday, December 26, 2016


Broadway star Ginger Rogers has gotten good notices for her latest play—in which at age 40, she's playing 29—but the play itself is lambasted, so she and her producer (Paul Douglas), who is also her ex-husband, are on the lookout for a better play. Young playwright William Holden has such a play; its main characters are a 19-year old girl and her mother, and Rogers would seem suited for the role of the mother, especially with novice actress Pat Crowley hot after the role of the teenager, but Rogers wants to play the daughter, even if that means advancing the character's age to 29, like in her last play. Crowley falls for Holden even as he starts re-writing the play for Rogers. A dalliance develops between Rogers and Holden, despite Crowley's feelings—and despite the still-simmering feelings that Douglas has for Rogers. Eventually, the play in previews is a flop, but Crowley has engineered it so that she appears in the role of the daughter in a summer stock production of the play in Maine, and when Holden sees it, he realizes the error of his ways, both in terms of the play and his choice of love object.

The critic at correctly points out the thematic similarities between this and ALL ABOUT EVE—an aging stage actress having both romantic and professional problems, a young actress ready for the spotlight—but there's no comparison in terms of quality or entertainment value. EVE is a movie for the ages; this one is a light throwaway romantic comedy that could use help in the writing and acting departments. Rogers (pictured with Holden) is adequate, but I've never thought much of her presence aside from in her films with Fred Astaire. Crowley, in her first role, is pretty bad, though part of the problem may be that her character is fairly unpleasant—she has a habit of drawing attention to herself in every situation, hoping she'll get noticed by someone who can help her career, and she changes her name at the drop of a hat for the same reason. An actress with a bit more substance and a bit more edge might have done well here, but Crowley feels at sea. Holden has little chemistry with either of his leading ladies and therefore wilts. Douglas is fine, as is James Gleason in the small role of an agent. This isn't a bad movie, but it feels like a waste of a good idea. [DVD]

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