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This Day in GINGEROLOGY - August 17th

1898: Dewey Robinson, who starred with Ginger in the films “Hat Check Girl” (as Tony Carlucci), “Tales of Manhattan” (as Charles Smith’s Bullying Boss), and “Storm Warning” (as Klansman), was born in New Haven, Connecticut.

1983: Ira Gershwin, who with brother George composed the score for the stage musical “Girl Crazy”, and also the film score for the Ginger and Fred film “Shall We Dance”, died in Beverly Hills, California, at the age of 86.

1983: Ed Lowry, bandleader with whom Ginger worked in the mid-20’s in Saint Louis, died at the age of 85.

GingerTelevision...

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

September 12, 2017 @ 2:30 P.M. Upperworld
September 25, 2017 @ 3:00 A.M. Twist of Fate
October 12, 2017 @ 8:45 A.M. Week-End at the Waldorf

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':

...No Films Scheduled...

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Ginger Rogers Film Review #20 - Chance at Heaven

CHANCE AT HEAVEN
(October 27, 1933 - RKO Radio Pictures) 
Run Time (approximate): 71 Minutes 
Directed by: William Seiter. 
Associate Director: George Nicholls, Jr.
Executive Producer: Merian C. Cooper. 
Associate Producer: H.N. Swanson.
Screenplay: Julien Josephson and Sarah Y. Mason.
Based on an Original Story by: Vina Delmar.
Cinematography by: Nick Musuraca. 
Art Directors: Van Nest Polglase and Perry Ferguson. 
Editor: James B. Morley.
Sound Recorder: Forrest Perley.
Musical Director: Max Steiner. 
Musical Composition: Max Steiner and Roy Webb.
Makeup Artist: Mel Berns.
Still Photographer: John Miehle.
Special Effects Supervisor: Harry Redmond Sr.
Also Starring: Joel McCrea (as Blackstone 'Blacky' Gorman), Marian Nixon (as Glory Franklyn), Andy Devine (as Al), Lucien Littlefield (as Mr. Fred Harris), Virginia Hammond (as Mrs. S.T. Franklyn), George Meeker (as Sid Larrick), Ann Shoemaker (as Mrs. 'Mother' Harris).
UNCREDITED CAST: Robert McWade (Scenes Deleted), Herman Bing (as Franklyn's Chaffeur), Harry Bowen (as First Reporter), Steven Chase (as Betty's Escort), Helen Freeman (as Franklyn's Guest), Betty Furness (as Betty, Franklyn's Guest), and Thelma Hardwick (as Miss Bruce, Franklyn's Guest).           
Ginger's Character: Marjorie 'Marje'/'Mug' Harris.
Ginger's 'Screen Time': Approximately 27 Minutes and 36 Seconds (38.9% of the film).
GingerTunes: "London Bridge is Falling Down (traditional)" - sung a cappella by Ginger Rogers and Joel McCrea.
Gingery Goodness Factor (GGF) - (1-10): 6.0 - Well, this one really just ticks me off each time I see it, although it's not as bad as the first viewing I had of it a few years back. This is the first time I've watched it since that initial viewing, as Ginger's character Marje Harris simply gets played as a fool... and overall she just lets things play out without much resistance at ALL. This is NOT the typical Gingery role, but I think Ginger does play it as well as it could have been played... and her sweet, kind spirit DOES really make Ginger even more awesome...so it's not a total loss. Plus, there's quite a bit of Ginger 'screen time', so...that helps a bit, also. 
Film Quality (1-10): 8.0 - Pretty fair copy from TCM...WB Archives also has a version, pretty much the same copy, it appears..
Huey's Review for GINGEROLOGY: Ginger's last 1933 offering (this one actually premiered in October of 1933, a few months prior to Rio - but, Ginger had them in this order in her bio, so...nuff said!) is a somewhat 'predictable' tale of love lost and love regained... with Ginger quite out of place, playing the sucker.
Ginger's character, Marjorie Harris, starts off the proceedings on her front porch waiting for her 'quasi-manfriend / reluctant fiancee / petrol station owner' Blackstone Gorman (Joel McCrea)...BTW, this porch really looks like the one in Tom, Dick and Harry, although I reckon most houses had decent porches back then... 
Anyway, Marje's folks are about fed up with Blacky's waffling regarding the courtship of Marje...but he is just trying to get enough dough saved up to have a fair start to their marriage (BTW...that NEVER works...you'll never have enough dough socked away to feel comfortable).
Blacky and Marje do seem to eventually be headed towards the altar, when the proverbial third party appears as the dainty, ditsy and very wealthy Miss Glory Franklyn (Marian Nixon), who flirts with dudes by running over their belongings...Ginger's driving in this film is impeccable compared to this chick's.
Well, after Blackie performs a few repairs to Glory's chassis, she falls for him quite rapidly...and he is returning that sentiment towards her. This is where the whole movie loses me... Marje, instead of doing what a typical SassyGinger-type character would do, get into a free-for-all a la Vivacious Lady or Professional Sweetheart or Roxie Hart, just...steps aside. 
SO, we are expected to believe that Marje is totally FINE with the proceedings...as a 'reverse Golddigger' waltzes right into town and swipe Mr. B right from Marje's pretty little clutches... ummm-hmmmm...
And of course, Blacky and Glory get hitched within a few days after Marje steps aside; When Marje tells Blackie to basically 'pursue' Glory for his 'chance at heaven', Blackie just stands there dolt-like and watches her walk out the door, without so much as a 'hey, wait a minute, Marje!'...arrgh, don't get me started on the sheer insanity of this scene...  
Anyway, Blacky and Glory are now hitched, and in an even MORE strange turn of events, Marje actually BEFRIENDS Glory! I'm just not sure how often that would occur in real life, an ANY era... have y'all ever heard of a lady becoming big buds with the chick who stole her man? I'll just say, for the 'inverse' of this, if a dude came in and stole my chick, he would incur my wrath (such as it is, anyway...)...and DEFINITELY wouldn't be no friend o' mine...
Well, as expected, the nuptials are ill-fated, as Glory's mother (Virginia Hammond) hangs around trying to get Glory to 'de-elope', as it were, and get back under her wing and in the 'proper circles', of course. During this time, Glory finds out she is expecting...and this news is what Mama needed in order to talk Blacky into letting her take Glory to New York for awhile to 'rest' and have proper care.
Well, wouldn't ya know it, Glory and Mama seem to forget their way back to...well, wherever Blacky is located... and of course when he gathers a bit of news regarding her whereabouts, he heads out to NYC to try to win Glory back...who is now NOT expecting...hmmm... that's weird...
Well, this is usually the place I say, 'You go find out what happens'...but this one is SO predictable, I'll finish it up...in a nutshell, Glory stays with her Mama, and Blacky heads back home to find Marje cooking up supper for him as if NOTHING EVER HAPPENED...  The End.
Favorite Ginger Moments: There's a few cool sequences here for Ginger... a favorite line in particular is when Marje and Glory are doing 'girl-talk' and Marje is mixing drinks (kinda weird to see Ginger doing that, but...) when Glory says she wants her gin 'straight', Marje warns her, but when she persists, Marje states, "...rub it in your hair if you like..." A pretty funny line to me.
Here's the caps...lots of cool GingerPics... but since the storyline hacks me off so, I just decided to go in a totally different direction with the captions...surprised? Ginger basically gets to 'Gold-Dig' a bit in my 'parallel universe edition' (PUE for short...uh, yeah...), what she DIDN'T get to do much of over on the Warner lot...
  "...I wonder if Blacky's made any money today...Baby needs a new pair of Choos..."

"...Hi, Sweetie! How's it going down at the station today? What's that? Almost 5 Dollars so far? That's a LOT of gas you've sold there, Ethyl!"

 "...Well, I'm off to 're-distribute' Blacky's wealth...It IS still 1933, after all...dig? ...I'm in the Money..."

"...Make with the dead presidents, beanie boy..."

 "...you GOTTA find another source of income, dude... you know I am somewhat of a 'clothes hound', whatever THAT means..."

 "...See this portfolio? I'm loading up on electric car stock...it's a can't-miss enterprise, babe...Ol' Henry can't crank out those Model A's forever, ya know...and one day, all this petrol will run dry..."

 "...ka-ching..."

 "...You're pushing all the right buttons again, Marje!"

"...So, while I was away, you conversed with a salesman of some sort?..."

"...Actually, it was a SalesLADY...a Traveling one, at that...perhaps the First of her kind, even..."

"...and WHAT, pray tell, was this dame hawking?"

"...Well, she didn't tell me...she just told me to meet her at the Casbah tonight...so here we are..."

"...Well, you seem a bit nervous...here, have some souse sauce..."

"...there she is now..."

 "...man, who stomped this swill?"
 
"...So, tell me, Queenie, what's your game here? Some kind of 'bait-and-switch' on unsuspecting chumps wearing beanies?"

"not at all...have you ever heard of Coddled Chef?"

"...why, yes...don't tell me you're one of THOSE..."

"Why yes!...it's not bad, really... we get cool stuff for high sales...for example, check THIS out..."

"...Whoa! A jewel-encrusted avocado pitter!"

"...So you see, Blacky, all we have to do is set up your place for a 'host party'...she'll take care of all the rest..."

"...I don't know, Marje...sounds like some kind of pyramid scheme to me..."

"...but if you think it's kosher, I'll bite... maybe we can squeeze a few duckets out of the deal..."

"...Now, they'll be about 12 or so ladies in attendance...we'll probably need to move some things around to accommodate extra tables, samples, demo areas, and such... We also have to make sure you're meeting local health codes, of course...you can pull an inspection permit tomorrow morning... and how's the parking situation over there?"

"...Well, she sure knows her stuff, doesn't she?"

"...er...something on yer mind, Blacky?"

"...I don't like this deal, Marje...I don't like it one bit, see?"

"...It DOES sound a bit more involved than we were first led to believe..."

"...but look, we need money, el PRONTO! You just don't get it, do ya, Blacky? The new Louis Vuittons will be out in a few weeks, and Marje's jonesing for one, see?"

"...Oh what's the use...you're a hapless grease pusher..."

"...look, us ladies have to have a cache of accessories and amenities in order to function properly..."

"...like a Duesenberg, see? High maintenance makes for a smooth ride..."

"...until you get that thru your thick skull, there's no sense conversing with you any further..."

"...so, if and when you come back to your feeble senses, just give me a phone call...on a telephone..."

"...like this one right here..."

"...Alright, so here's the deal...Glory is headed over to case the joint for her water boiling exhibition...YOU need to show her the amenities out in the kitchen, OK?"

"...Well, I know it's not much, but I guess it's all the bonehead can afford... we can make enough room for your demos if we knock out a few walls..."

"...in the meantime, here's a block of ice for the throwdown..."

"Gee, thanks, Marje!...now I can make that ice sculpture bust of Franklin Pangborn!"

"...I don't think Blacky's getting with the program, is he, Marje?..."

"...Don't worry about him...he's a goofy as a box of rocks..."

"...Here's to taking the money of bored housewives...and to my future Vera Wang original..."

"...Now, if you'll excuse us, Blacky, Marje and I are heading out to the kitchen and start whuppin' up vittles for the show to-morrow..."

"...I call this recipe the 'Ponzi Pie'...it always kills at these 'pay for play' fiascoes..."

"...Oh, let's talk about the hostess gift...Which would you prefer, an automatic radish burper, or a gold-plated mullet tosser?"

"...Um, I'll probably just take a cut of the proceedings, if it's all the same...you can't trade in kitchen utensils for Gucci, dig?"

"...Marje, I think there's a problem..."

"...YUCK! Problem is RIGHT! This is that same crap they rolled out the other night! Where did they GET this vile spirit?"

"...Oh, yeah...what's YOUR problem, toots? You look pretty down..."

"...C'mon...it's gonna be fine...we'll rent out a few of those tent thingies and slap 'em up out back...and my Pop knows the Health Department cat, so there's clear sailing there..."

"...you needn't bother, Marge...it appears that nobody's going to be here..."

"...WHAT? You mean EVERYONE cancelled on you?"

"...yep...I didn't want to tell y'all, what with all the work you two have put into this..."

"...WORK? HA!!! I hired the Merry Maids to clean out this joint...on Blacky's nickel, of course...then I made him and his flunky from the pump house move furniture in various positions all afternoon, while I kept telling them to 'see how it looks over there'..."

"...It's so empowering to boss those dolts around..."

"...but hey, no hard feelings, kid...at least you lit a fire under Blacky to start thinking about extra income avenues for my insatiable appetite for bling...and, they'll be other opportunities for you, too...hey, I've heard about a new start-up for product distribution that's getting a lot of press lately...funny name, tho...'Amway'...what is that, Pig Latin for 'wam'?"

"...Well, I'm glad we're out of that jam... that dame was pretty loopy, and was going to take us for a ride!"

"...well, at least she had SOME type of get-rich-quick scheme, even if it was hopelessly flawed..."

"...What's YOUR next move, Blackstone?..."

"...so, I've become the new Maitre d' down at the Casbah... it pays pretty fair, at least on Karaoke Night..."

"...Well, you've done good, Blackie...here, have some of this stuff I made for the shindig that was never meant to be..."

"...now, let's talk Duesenbergs...Momma's getting tired of that moldy Model A out there, Daddy..."
---
Other Reviews:  
"If this picture gets by with the average audience, it will be on Ginger Rogers' account. I understand some expert told her she'd been given bad 'camera angles' in the film. If that's so, I suggest she stick to bad ones in the future, because they resulted in the most convincing job she's done to date." - Hollywood Spectator
"The cast is a pleasant one, with Joel McCrea, Ginger Rogers and Marian Nixon playing the featured roles, and helps to make this Chance at Heaven much more palatable than it essentially is." - New York World Telegram
"Joel McCrea gives quite a satisfactory performance as Blacky. Ginger Rogers, who dances so nicely in Flying Down to Rio, assumes here the role of Marje, and she acts the part better than it deserves" - The New York Times
From GINGER: My Story: ...well, Ginger had nothing to say about this one, either... maybe for the best, as I think she probably didn't dig this role too much... 
Miscellaneous Stuff:
--- Marian Nixon replaced Dorothy Wilson in the role of Glory Franklyn.
--- It is somewhat 'vague' in the plot, but generally insinuated that Nixon's character, Glory, had an abortion; this was not as unheard of as one would assume for the early Thirties, as it was reported that Depression-era families that couldn't care for additional children sought abortions, although the practice was illegal in the U.S. at the time.
--- Ginger and McCrea would meet up again in 1940 to make Primrose Path, a much more interesting film than this one.
GingerFilm Ranking: #14 of 21...Ginger is pretty prevalent in this film, and cute as all-get-out, as usual...but her role, while VERY sweet, kind, and just overall incredible, is ultimately not believable; and the fact that dude abandons her for another (although Glory is pretty cute, Marje is...well, GINGER, by gum!!!) REALLY diminishes the rank here. Just above 'Broadway Bad', even though Ginger's role in BB was Uber-sassy, it was in a very supporting role... 
After Twenty Reviews:

#01 - Professional Sweetheart 
#02 - 42nd Street
#03 - Flying Down to Rio
#04 - Sitting Pretty
#05 - The Tenderfoot
#06 - The Tip-Off
#07 - Queen High
#08 - Young Man of Manhattan
#09 - You Said A Mouthful
#10 - Carnival Boat
#11 - A Shriek in the Night
#12 - The Thirteenth Guest
#13 - Don't Bet On Love
#14 - Chance at Heaven
#15 - Broadway Bad
#16 - Gold Diggers of 1933 
#17 - The Sap From Syracuse
#18 - Suicide Fleet
#19 - Follow The Leader
#20 - Honor Among Lovers
#21 - Hat Check Girl***
*** - Not viewed or reviewed due to unavailability.
Up Next: Rafter Romance... This one is really one of my FAVE 'pre-GandF' (well, excluding 'Rio', of course) Ginger movies (as well as some of y'all's...) Ginger is featured throughout this one, and is VERY sassy in parts, and so it should fare quite well...

Until then, as always...

KIG, Y'all!!!

VKMfanHuey
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Thanks again, JW

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