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This Day in GINGEROLOGY - April 24th

1899: Charles Sullivan, who starred with Ginger in the films “The Tip-Off” (as Chuck, the Bouncer at Scarno’s), “Suicide Fleet” (as Charlie Sullivan), “Carnival Boat” (as a Logger), “The Tenderfoot” (as Spike – a Thug), “Twenty Million Sweethearts” (as Cabbie), and “Bachelor Mother” (as the Bouncer at The Pink Slipper), was born in Monroe, Louisiana.

1961: Lee Moran, who starred with Ginger in the films “Hat Check Girl” (as Man on Subway) and “Sitting Pretty” (as Assistant Director), died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, at the age of 72.

1984: Fern Aalbu (born Anna Ferne Aalbers), who starred with Ginger in the film “Young Man of Manhattan” (as One of The Sherman Sisters), died in Valley Village, Los Angeles, California, at the age of 72.

2016: TCM aired “The Major and the Minor”.

GingerTelevision...

Next GingerFilm(s) (on TCM - all times Eastern):

April 26, 2017 @ 9:30 A.M. 42nd Street
May 4, 2017 @ 12:45 P.M. Gold Diggers of 1933
May 4, 2017 @ 6:15 P.M. 42nd Street
May 17, 2017 @ 4:15 A.M. Finishing School

Next GingerFilm(s) (on FXM Retro - all times Eastern) - NOTE - the FXM Retro site is kinda 'cryptic' as far as specific times, so please check local listings for 'specific times':

None Currently Scheduled...

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ginger Rogers Film Review #3: The Sap from Syracuse

"The Sap from Syracuse"
(July 26, 1930 - Paramount)



Run Time (approximate): 88 minutes.

Directed by: A. Edward Sutherland.

Screenplay by: Gertrude Purcell.

Based on the play by: John Wray, Jack O'Donnell, and John Hayden.

Also Starring: Jack Oakie (as Littleton Looney), Granville Bates (as Nycross), George Barbier(as Senator Powell), Sidney Riggs (as Nick Pangolos), Betty Starbuck (as Flo Goodrich), Verree Teasdale (as Dolly Clark), J. Malcolm Dunn (as Captain Barker), Bernard Jukes (as Bells), Walter Fenner (as Henderson), Jack Daley (as Hopkins), Kathryn Reese.

Ginger's Character: "Ellen Saunders"

Ginger 'Screen Time': approx. 23 min, 30 sec. (26.7% of the film)

Ginger Tunes: "How I Wish I Could Sing a Love Song"

Gingery Goodness Factor (1-10): (6.0) - Ginger's first role of 'substance', as she plays an heiress who is about to get hosed out of her fortune, thus has some 'serious' scenes which Ginger performs quite well in... but the BIG issue I have with this movie is...there are basically NO close-ups of Ginger ANYWHERE...for example, the scene towards the end, where Littleton has to confess to Ellen he is not really an engineer, Ginger basically has her back facing the camera the WHOLE scene! It's like Mark Sandrich is let loose on the set! And with only one 'duet' she sings with Oakie, there's a bit lacking there as well... so overall, interesting to see Ginger's first 'semi-dramatic' role, but there could have been a WHOLE lot better scene layout or whatever... AND, check out the 'basic' mention of the film in Ginger's bio, as noted below... thus the 'low' grade here, Gingery-goodness-wise.

GingerFilm Ranking: #3 of (3) Reviewed

Film Quality (1-10): (5.0) - Somewhat rough... frame jumping, audio-video sync in spots, and a total video loss for 30 seconds about halfway through - some fuzziness as well... overall a pretty good candidate for restoration!

Available From: eBay, YouTube

Huey's Review for Gingerology: Ginger's third movie is a fair but predictable tale which ultimately revolves around her character, Ellen Saunders, and Jack Oakie's character Littleton Looney (Henceforth known as 'LL'). LL works on a construction team, and has some 'grandiose' ideas regarding his current and future status... this comes to fruition when he inherits a pretty nice sum of clams from a recently expired relative. He quits the crew and decides to take a trip to Europe, where he can ultimately see the place where his 'mentor', Napoleon, roamed the earth. His bosses...well, ex-bosses... decide to have a bit of fun by 'broadcasting' that LL is actually a famous engineer and is traveling 'incognito'. Thus, LL gets the royal treatment when he climbs aboard - he just figures that is the way ALL folks are treated on ships, as this is his first voyage - thus he is oblivious to the 'prank'. Ellen, meanwhile, is headed to Macedonia (pretty much modern-day Greece) to try to get her inherited mines cooking again; they have to turn a profit soon, or they will be 'taken over' by her swine-like 'guardian', Nycross (Granville Bates).
Of course, we HAVE to get these two together, right? :-) The meeting of Ellen and LL lightens up the proceedings - she literally runs him over whilst chasing after a Macedonia map. From the scuttlebutt aboard the boat, Ellen is under the notion that LL is the engineer of the Erie Canal; LL is again pretty oblivious to it - he just wants to make Ellen happy, so he is pretty much of the mindset of "yeah, sure, whatever...just keep plowing over me on the promenade, sweetie..." - well, of course, the situation gets more and more sticky and the two fall more and more in luv... (Chevy Luv?...) until LL has to confess to Ellen that he isn't really the 'Uber-engineer' everyone thinks he is...and that's where I'll leave it... but just remember kids, it's not good to 'string along' a lie, even if you didn't 'start' it.

KIG, Y'all!
VKMfanHuey
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Favorite Ginger Line(s) / Moment(s): Well, the 'lifeboat' scene is really the most memorable, but it is dominated by Oakie, who does a fair job, and seems 'genuine' enough on film, thus pretty likeable. Kissing Ginger on the nose is cool - probably what I would do (I like noses...don't ask...:-] )
Honestly, that's about it - no real favorite 'line' from this one... the only other scene which is 'interesting' is when Littleton is walking down the deck and a map flies by him - as he goes to chase it, Ellen comes flying out of her door and tackles LL as he is picking up the map, about twenty yards downfield... but even this sequence is a bit 'clunky'... oh well...

Below is Ellen blessing out Mr. Nycross regarding his reluctance to her trip to the mines... he's lucky she didn't start throwing stuff at him...

...Ellen overhearing that "Uber-Engineer" is on board (unfortunately, NOT Huey...I am currently just a "quazi-uber-engineer-in-waiting"...)

Ellen and Littleton meet, post-collision...

..."Listen, I'm going to finish this book and go to sleep...so hush up!"



"Littleton...I'm over here, dude...quit watching those snail-eaters...you're just encouraging them!"

...Ah, to be stranded in a dinghy with Ginger... a smooch on the snoot is called for!



"Miss Ellen, the Uber-Engineer is being summoned as we speak... we couldn't get Dr. Huey, but this other guy is the best we could spring for... but be wary of him, as he is prone to break out in song and attempt to kiss you on your nasal region..."

...and a 'close-up' of Ginger in slumber mode... foreshadowing the G-ology 'pic/header/avatar/logo', no doubt...


Other Reviews: "The love interest is Ginger Rogers, very competent ingenue. She is traveling to Macedonia to inspect her gigantic mining properties. She mistakes Oakie for a mining engineer or something of the sort and expects him to save her mines from the Octopodean clutches of her guardian." -Motion Picture Herald

"One of the saving graces of the picture is the charming personality of Ginger Rogers, whose performance is flawless in every detail. When Paramount aquired the services of this youthful stage star the studio scored a beat on other film producers. However, Miss Rogers is little known to Western film fans, but it is the prediction of the writer that she will soon become a popular screen player with the movie folks on the Coast." -Hollywood Daily Screen World

"Ginger Rogers gets her first real chance in this picture." -Zit's Weekly

From Ginger: My Story: "In May (1930) I was paired with Jack Oakie in The Sap from Syracuse. I played an heiress who has a shipboard romance with Jack. A. Edward Sutherland was the director."

Miscellaneous Stuff:
--- An alternate title for the film is 'The Sap from Abroad', as it was feared that European filmgoers would not know where Syracuse (New York) was.
--- The only song in the film was "How I Wish I Could Sing a Love Song (in the copy I have seen, anyway); however, there are two other songs noted in various reviews, entitled "Ah, What's The Use" and "Capitalize That Thing Called IT".
--- It is noted that a copy of this film was set aside for restoration by the UCLA Film and Television Archives in 2000; hmmm...wonder if it is ready yet...Lauren? :-].

GingerFilm 'rankings' through three reviews:
#1: Queen High;
#2: Young Man of Manhattan;
#3: The Sap from Syracuse.

...remember, this is based SOLELY on the "Gingery Goodness Factor", and to a lesser extent the "Ginger Screen Time" and the "GingerTunes"...it's pretty 'subjective', but by no means all that scientific...

KIG!!!
VKMfanHuey
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5 comments:

  1. Hey Huey, on my WordPress stats I found an incoming link: Somebody clicked to my Whirlpool article from a homepage I didn't know. I looked that site up and WOW:

    http://sweet&hot/Jean-Arthur/on-fanpage

    So then I looked up Ginger, so see whether you are there too. Yes indeed, I found your last two articles:

    http://Gingerology/Ginger-Rogers/on-fanpage

    So you see: Precise headlines are very important, and they really work. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yesterday I got an idea, who might have influenced Ginger's style of 1929/1930. Let me call it kind of cute peculiar-child-voice: Helen Kane acted exactly that way and her success began 1927 already. So that might have been the source where the baby-talk came from?

    On the other hand women/ girls really used to talk and sing like that before the 30s. It was the common gender role, to speak squeaky. Deep female voice where rather indecent.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, Clarissa, that style of voice was briefly very popular; in fact, even Annette Hanshaw (who could sing rings around Helen Kane) adopted it for a while.

    Intriguing to learn more about Ginger's Paramount period. That studio had such a stable of actresses around that time, it's understandable quite a few of them got lost in the shuffle regardless of their talent.

    ReplyDelete
  4. CS: thanks for the kind words...and the info about the 'Ginger Link'...I have noticed a few more 'occurrances' of G-ology pop up when doing a 'google' of Ginger...good to know the blog has some 'linkage' to it. As to Ginger's 'voice', I think it WAS the 'current style', due to the popular lasses of the day, Miss Kane being the most prominent (although perhaps not the most talented...haven't really seen enough of her stuff to warrent critiquing her...). But with Ginger being so young anyway, it fits the role(s) well...

    VP: Paramount was a pretty nice 'intro' gig for Ginger... the last of her first four, 'Honor Among Lovers', will be reviewed soon, but alas, she is a 'minor' player in it, as Claudette Colbert and Fredric March are the main focus in it... although I don't mind 'focusing' on Miss Colbert at ALL... have become quite a fan of hers... it's ok...Ginger's cool with it... :-]
    But it is a bit unusual that Ginger had been 'advancing' somewhat over the first three films, as far as level of role...then this one drops her back 'down', as it is really the 'least' of the four, role-wise... but she jumps over to RKO-Pathe for a trio of films, where she generally plays the 'love interest'...it's going to be a bit hard to 'rank' these next 4-5, since her role is pretty similar in each... oh well, I'll figure it out, right? Remember, Ginger said there are no small roles, just small actors.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ VP81955: Annette Hanshaw sings technically correct, but is not an outstanding singer. She always shows her pretty vibrato, but is rather expressionless. Frankly she bores me a bit. One of her song is okay, but then it's enough.

    I'm not a Helen Kane fan, but people tend to underestimate singers who act funny. To name a singer who could sing circles around all these, I'd think of Marilyn Miller. She impressed me very much on YouTube. But the best of all the singing Hollywood actresses certainly is Irene Dunne. She was able to sing both styles perfectly: Bel canto and natural lower voice.

    What I like about Ginger is her originality. It is alway wonderfully lively. And she is extremely jazzy. Her early singing is more kind of pseudo operetta style. But it's not bad. I like the very clear high notes. And she was already an original.

    Personally I reject funny singing parts like Helen Kane did. People really think you can't sing well, if you behave ridiculous. They don't take you seriously. So I say "no".

    ReplyDelete

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Thanks again, JW

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