Well, I originally was going to start this GingerFilm review process with her first 'full length' film, "Young Man of Manhattan"... but, if this is truly a review of EVERYTHING Ginger ever committed to film, then we must start at the beginning (more often than not, a proper location for starting things...) ...AND, this will kind of give ME a 'starting point' for this whole series - a 'test run', if you will, to make sure all the bases will be covered for the 'full-length' film reviews...AND for YOU to give me some 'pointers' as to what else is needed.
The beginnings of Ginger's film career started in 1929, when she was recruited for several 'two-reeler' shorts, from various studios. The introduction of 'talkies' had proved to be very successful, and studios were churning out whatever they could get on film and to the theaters ASAP, to keep the ball rolling. A large portion of these 'shorts' consisted of vaudeville routines that were popular at the time; Ginger's contribution was no exception, as she was 'promoted' as a stage act, with potential to become a film star as well...
It is estimated Ginger appeared in ten to twelve 'shorts' between 1929 and 1931; the most well-known of these are the following:
Campus Sweethearts (1929 - Radio Pictures) - Also Starring: Rudy Vallee, Joe and Jane McKenna, Joey Ray, Leon Leonard, Anne Franklin and Joe Sawyer.
A Night in a Dormitory (1929 - Pathe)
A Day of a Man of Affairs (1929 - Columbia) - Also Starring: Maurice Holland and Mell Ray. BTW...Ginger is DEFINITELY putting the 'shorts' in THIS particular short, eh? Huey is quite interested in obtaining a copy of this one, as if you couldn't guess...
Office Blues (1930 - Paramount)
Of these, only "A Night in a Dormitory" and "Office Blues" are currently 'available'; BTW, if ANYONE has a copy of the other two, OR any other 'early' Ginger short, we can begin negotiations anytime... :-]
On to the reviews of these two 'available' shorts...
"A Night in a Dormitory"
(September 1929 - Pathe)
Run time - approx. 22 minutes
Produced and Directed by Harry Delmar.
Written by Benny Ryan. Also Starring: Morgan Morley, Ruth Hamilton, Thelma White, and Eddie Elkins and his Orchestra.
Ginger's Character - "Ginger Rogers"
Ginger 'Screen Time' - approx. 3 min, 45 sec.
Ginger Tunes - "Why Can't You Love That Way", "I Love a Man in a Uniform"
Favorite Ginger Line(s) / Moment(s) - She has no 'dialogue', just singing...quite cutely throughout.
Gingery Goodness Factor (1-10): (6.5) - Always love Ginger singing, but no dialogue limits the overall Ginger Experience in this one.
Review - A bunch of girls live in (you guessed it) a dormitory (Ginger ISN'T one of them...). The gist of the tale is when one of the chicks sneaks home late one night after a 'night on the town'...she speaks to a friend about the rotund gent she was escorted by, the comedy act she saw (a rather weird slapstick deal with bearded Russian dudes...), a pretty cool dance routine by Thelma White, and of course, the two very cute GingerTunes. In an unrelated story, two other dudes with dames are also at the 'club', and they have cooked up an 'eat-for-free' scheme where they get in a 'take it outside' brawl in order to skirt payment; a few dicey moments ensue, but it works out in the end.. Ultimately, this film is a vehicle for some performers to 'do their thing', and we are fortunate enough to see Ginger in action in her 'vaudeville mode'... a rare find 80 years hence...
GingerFilm Ranking - N/A
Available From - TCM, YouTube (copy/paste the link below).
(November 1930 - Paramount)
Run time - approx. 9 minutes
Directed by Mort Blumenstock.
Written by Walton Butterfield.
Also Starring: Clayborne Bryson, and E.R. Rogers (no known relation)
Ginger's Character - "Miss Gray"
Ginger 'Screen Time' - approx. 9 minutes
Ginger Tunes - "We Can't Get Along", "Dear Sir"
Favorite Ginger Line(s) / Moment(s) - Well, she pretty much sings throughout this one, too... but it is kind of cute how she 'shuts down' the poor sap who tries to ask her out to lunch...the first glimpses of that SassyGinger we all love...
Gingery Goodness Factor (1-10): (7.5) - Pretty much all singing, but with a bit of dialogue... and 'wall-to-wall' Ginger camera time, this one rates a bit better than 'Dorm'.
Review - Well, not much in the way of a story... Miss Gray (Ginger) is a secretary (what administrative professionals used to be called back in the day...) for a Big Cheese, who happens to also appear to be all of 20 years old... She is sweet on this dude - he IS the Big Cheese, after all... so she sings a few tunes that will eventually woo him into her arms. There is another dude who is a co-worker of Miss Gray's, but she dispatches his ill-fated advances in short order. The 'big' number, "Dear Sir", morphs into a 'dream sequence', and Ginger is very cute in it...her singing here, as in most of her 'early years', is a bit 'youngish' sounding, but still just as neat as all-get-out, y'all...
GingerFilm Ranking - N/A
Available From - YouTube...Or, (hopefully) check it out below:
In the meantime - KIG!!!