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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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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ginger Rogers Film Review #21 - Rafter Romance

RAFTER ROMANCE
(September 1, 1933 - RKO Radio Pictures) 


Run Time (approximate): 73 Minutes 
Directed by: William Seiter. 
Assistant Director (Second Unit): Doran Cox. 
Producer: Alexander McKaig. 
Executive Producer: Merian C. Cooper. 
Associate Producer: Kenneth MacGowan. 
Screenplay: H. W. Hanemann and Sam Mintz. 
Adaptation: Glenn Tryon. 
Based on an Novel by: John Wells. 
Cinematography by: David Abel. 
Art Directors: Van Nest Polglase, John Hughes and Kenneth Holmes (props). 
Editor: James B. Morley. 
Assistant Editor: Henry Berman. 
Sound Recorder: Hugh McDowell Jr. 
Musical Director: Max Steiner. 
Assistant Sound Recordists: Victor B. Appel and Harold Stein. 
Costumer: Bernard Newman. 
Makeup: Mel Burns.
Still Photographer: John Miehle.
Special Effects Supervisor: Harry Redmond Sr.
Also Starring: Norman Foster (as Jack Bacon), George Sidney (as Max Eckbaum), Robert Benchley (as H. Harrington Hubbell), Laura Hope Crews (as Elise Peabody Whittington Smythe), Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams (as Fritzie), Sidney Miller (as Julius Eckbaum).
UNCREDITED CAST: Ferike Boros (as Rosie Eckbaum), June Brewster (as Blonde Telemarketer), Wong Chung (as Chinese Waiter), Ellen Corby (as Telemarketer), June Gittelson (as Bobbie Finklestein - Telemarketer), Ben Hendricks Jr. (as Mike - Counterman), Bud Jamison (as Morton McGillicuddy), Charles King (as Sidewalk Superintendent), Mary MacLaren (as Office Supervisor), Jerry Mandy (as Italian Flower Seller), William Orlamond (as Gus - Grocer) and Bert Roach (as Drunken Tenant).           
Ginger's Character: Mary Carroll.
Ginger's 'Screen Time': Approximately 38 Minutes and 8 Seconds (52.2% of the film).
GingerTunes: none.
Gingery Goodness Factor (GGF) - (1-10): 9.0 - I REALLY like Ginger in this one...she definitely has her moments of sassiness in it... but also has the romantic side, the comedic side (her babbling on with the refrigerator 'sales pitch' is pretty funny to me...), and also the 'melodramatic' side...as well as some 'pre-code'-ness (the 'shower scene',of course... :-P ). The only way it would have been better is if it would have had a GingerTune or two...not sure how those could have been worked in, however.
Film Quality (1-10): 8.0 - TCM archives - pretty good restored copy.
Huey's Review for GINGEROLOGY: Ginger's last movie of 1933 (more or less...Ginger sez '34 in her book, but...hey, it was a LONG time ago, OK?) has her squarely in the spotlight...she is the LEAD character in this one, with Norman Foster as HER love interest. For THAT, it earns lots of 'Huey Points'...but her character ultimately is what carries this one to the top of the list to date.
...Speaking of that character, Mary Carroll is a 'down-on-her-luck' lass in Big Bad New York City, during the Great Depression no less (...shouldn't it have been something like the 'Horrific Depression' instead?) - and she is well behind on her rent. This specific problem is about to be 'addressed' by her surprisingly cordial landlord, Mr. Eckbaum (George Sidney). Eck has a dude who lives in the attic area of his brownstone, where there's lots of space...enough for two different tenants. 
As it happens, the belfry dweller, Jack Bacon (Norman Foster), is also behind on his rent...hm, let's see, he HAS a job as a night watchman, but wants to be an artist... and Mary has just landed a 'day job' as a refrigerator telemarketer (dang, that's a long title...how bout 'ref-tele'?), so... Eckbaum has an idea... to free up a room for rent, he moves Mary up to the attic... she has it by night, Jack has it by day...and since both are in the red, there's not much negotiation with the Eckster. Now, Eck COULD have slapped up a few partition walls and made two separate sleeping units, but...what fun would THAT be? 
Well, as Mary settles in, over the next few days it is obvious neither party is too thrilled about the arrangement, and proceed to write nasty notes to each other, along with pranks (seems like Mary gets the worst of it...). Well, all this occurs without the two EVER seeing each other...or DO they? Well, of course they do... as they meet in the 'non-Eckbaum' world, and fall in love, naturally. 
But alas, love is always convoluted, at best...Mary and Jack both have 'baggage', from different, yet equally annoying angles... Jack's antagonist is a old rich sot-ess named Elise Peabody Whittington Smythe (Laura Hope Crews), who somehow has been hooked up with Jack in the past (don't ask, don't tell...) - he is an aspiring artist, and Elise is wanting to er, 'mentor' him, and 'subsidize' his artistic career...but he isn't ready for THAT level of sacrifice... speaking of sacrifice, Mary has begrudgingly given in (to a point, anyway) to HER 'thorn in the side', her new boss, H. Harrington Hubbell (Robert Benchley), who is as much of a wolf as it gets... and Mary is obviously the prettiest little lamb in his flock (it's no coincidence that the 'gate' at the entry to the telemarketing offices looks exactly like a fence-line...) .
Well, Mary and Jack eventually get it together enough to have an official 'date', albeit a free one, courtesy of Mary's company picnic. Upon arrival in some VERY funky-looking buses, MandJ shuffle off to a non-occupied area (Jack ain't no fool) and immediately get to know each other....better. Well, all those pleasantries they exchanged ate up the clock, and they are left behind... (er, and the problem with THAT is???)  - anyway, they hitch a ride back into town - Jack has waxed his foot whilst toting Mary across a stream (hey, if you're gonna rack up, what better way?), so she helps him into his 'residence'...and that's the 'watershed moment', as Mary knows Jack is her 'attic antagonist' and hits the literal roof... soon all parties involved (Eck, Elise, HHH) congregate in the attic to hash things out... but there's no big surprise at the end, as Mary and Jack return to their exchanging of pleasantries...
It would have been cool to stretch this one out a bit by letting Mary leave Jack in the attic without revealing that she is the 'other tenant'...so that SHE knows the situation, but he doesn't... could have been interesting few scenes to follow...the 'pleasantries' would have been somewhat 'muted', no? Anyway, they liked to wrap films up in less than 90 minutes back then, so... there ya go. Still my fave Ginger Film to this point in the chronological reviews.
Favorite Ginger Moments: It appears that Ginger's bonnets will be the topic of discussion here, as she dons quite a few 'unique' ones in this film. Also, the captions for some of the pics below are in italics...those comments are just 'asides' from Huey...NOT part of the 'alternate dialogue'...hope that makes it a bit clearer... OK - off we go!
 ...GingerGams...can't think of a better way to kick off the proceedings...


 ...I've got a new gig at a hat store, Mr. Hogg..."Chapeau Nouveau"...

...in my day, ladies didn't wear hats...they wore BABUSHKAS!

 ...well, Boss Hogg isn't too happy, but, here I am, ready to hawk some bonnets!

...so, I just have to call all these folks and ask them out of the blue if they are interested in joining our "Hat-of-the-Month Club"... that shouldn't be too hard - folks love to get unsolicited phone calls from the retail sector, right?

 ...Oh, by the way...this practice IS legal, isn't it?


...Hello? Yes, this is...

 ...WHOA! What's with all that STATIC?

 ...Here, let me call our IT department...Miss Clara Bow's in charge over there...

 ...Ging just looks so cool traversing flights of stairs, y'all...

 ...since you are now gainfully employed, I'm moving you up to the penthouse suite...

 ...ahhh, the raised eyebrow...maybe I should keep a count of those in future movies, as they are a fore-bearer of Gingery wrath...

 ...and the chucking of stuff - there's a few of those in here also...

 ...I'll stay in the belfry, Hogg, but I'm NOT settling for basic cable...

...Mary visits the World's Largest Earthworm Exhibit...

...Excuse me, miss - do you where I can get my hands on some quality millinery?

...er...as a matter of fact I... wait, WHAT?

...in addition to extensive line of fine ladies' hats, we also have top hats, derbys, Stetsons...

...well, see, I'm not really buying them for ME... they're for my crazy rich aunt...

...yeah, we've all got a few of those lying around, don't we?

...well, she's a hoarder...she's not into the hats as much as the hatboxes...

...well, maybe I can round up some spare boxes for you without sacrificing product...those hoarders tend to leave open jars of peanut butter lying around their domiciles, which would tend to make any returns nigh to impossible...

...well, that's fine...listen, here's what needs to happen now...I wanna hold your hand...

...so you see, you CAN write all of the trigonometric equations on the palm of your hand...got me thru Trig II back at Yale, baby...

...OK...how insanely cute is Ginger here? HMMMM???

...whatdaya mean, she doesn't have any more ROOM? SHE'S a HOARDER!!!

...well, toss some of that old crap out and MAKE some more room!!! 

...I've already got your order IN for a DOZEN sombreros...talk about your honkin' HATBOXES...

 ...meanwhile, I have to put up with this rube who anonymously cohabits this attic with me, and writes freakish poems on pieces of discarded butcher paper...

 ...a hat toss - Ginger's hair is just so killer here...and don't get me started on the 'back shot'...

...ah, the shower cap cap...yupyupyup...  

...someone is in for it, y'all...

...yes, I know bowlers are in fashion now, but we don't have any in stock...

...blah blah blah on the other end...

...how about this...let's drop you like Gerry Cooney...

 ...I'm calling Boss Hogg to make sure that yutz in the attic is outta there...I have to get ready for the Barn Dance with the ol' slickster tonight...


...Again a descent down the stairs...have you ever seen a dream walking, indeed...

...is this a hat or a headband? Ginger is not amused, it appears...

 ...Allright, Fritzie, keep the fried egg talk to a minimum this time, OK?

 ...Ginger's gorgeous even when in distress...

 ...HEY FRITZIE! How's yer ol' lady fixed for bonnets?

...I'll eat my hat if these guys make it out of this hole in one piece...

...I'll accept a lunch date at the drop of a hat, especially when the request is done with hat in hand...

...if you don't have enough bones to get out of this place, we can always pass the hat around... and don't worry, I won't tell Boss Hogg... I'll just keep it under my hat...

 ...I just pulled these out of my hat...you know this romantic stuff is pretty old hat with me, babe...

 ...pretty neat you can see Ginger's reflection in the mirror...which proves she's not a vampire...although...a GingerVampire would be pretty cool...and a force to reckon with, to be sure...Freddie could be a very slight version of Frankenstein who could dance (think of the 'Young Frankenstein' dance routine)... and Edward Everett Horton cameos as the neurotic Mummy...but I digress...

 ...wait a minute...

 ...do you smell brimstone?

...why, lookee who's invaded my loft...it's Mama Hogg, wanting to mooch free hat samples off of me...

...and STAY out, you pill-box-wearing lush!!!

...interesting to see the resiliency of flowers in action...

...and ANOTHER toss by Ging...she's gonna have tennis elbow if she doesn't watch it...

...Here's a Sunday afternoon for ya...pretty sweet scene...I dig weeping willows, as just an aside...see, you learned something today...

...ah, Ginger floating carefree amongst the mallards...
 
...just think, Jack...we could open up our own haberdashery in mid-town...

...with all types of hats, scarves, handkerchiefs, neckties...heck, even babushkas...

 ...just don't forget those cool toboggans with the big dingle ball on top of it...and with the ear-flaps with strings hanging down...

  ...well, these cats just trashed the place and vamoosed... guess we're stuck in this godforsaken wilderness...I'll break out the pith helmets...

...so, what are we telling Mr. Hogg?

...I'm not worried about it...he doesn't know the difference between a fedora and a fez...

...whoa, what's with the hat? Is this Rafter Romance or ROOSTER Romance? (Sorry, Ging, I couldn't resist...)

...but, it's the cutest chicken hat on this side of recorded history...

...what about helmets? You know, for football, softball...

...hey, maybe I should start wearing a helmet when I play tennis...Kate always seems to be aiming for my noggin'...

...er, I need a bandage, not a tourniquet...ow...

 ...yeah, pop...er, Mr. Hogg - Mary's going into business with me - she has lots of knowledge in the ways of hats...well, not sure about the one she's donning at the present, but...

...wait a minute...POP??? You mean to tell me Hogg is your DADDY???
 
...Daddy? NO! I mean, well, that is, er...
 
...hey, I guess he IS my dad...
 
...and he DELIBERATELY moved me in this non-habitable rafter space in order to get me to 'get to know' you...is THAT IT???
 
...Hi, Ma...
 
...and SHE's your MOTHER? OY!!!!
 
...Oh, I like this one, Jimmy...she has plenty of spunk...
 
...Listen, Mary...I was gonna tell you about my folks, but...they have to keep all that under wraps...you know, with that second family Hogg has living in the general office and all...
 
...we're not sure WHERE that Julius kid came from...
 
...but hey, it won't affect us - we're gonna rake in the dough with the new Haberdashery...now of course you'll have to warm up to that slime-ball boss of yours in order to secure a decent stock of lids for the shop...
 
 ...I told him to pick you up for the Ziggys at 6:30..is that OK, Sweetie?

...and to wrap this one up on a more 'happy' note, just remember... even bald, Ginger is still...GINGER!
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Other Reviews:  
"Essentially a comedy, it is light and pleasant all the way through. A well-developed love interest angle is worked in. Good old-fashioned hokum is effectively used. There is just a trace of contrasting drama that concentrates audience sympathy on the central characters... Situations being evenly balanced, the main theme is continually predominant. The cast's best names are Ginger Rogers and Laura Hope Crews. The show itself rather than names probably will be the most effective selling material." - Motion Picture Herald
From GINGER: My Story: ...Ditto on this one, regarding Ginger's 'silence' on it... well, to be fair, the period between 'Rio' and 'Gay Divorcee' is not as 'hashed over' in her memoirs...but, something tells me Ginger had more fun with this one than in the 'Chance at Heaven' debacle... 
Miscellaneous Stuff:
--- Ginger replaced Dorothy Wilson in the role of Mary Carroll (Miss Wilson had quite a few films lined up (see last review miscellaneous stuff)).
--- Norman Foster replaced Joel McCrea in the role of Jack Bacon.
--- Ginger and Norm's third 'coupling', with Norm batting .667 (2-out-of-3) with regards to a 'happy ending' with Ginger...but don't feel TOO bad for him in that one 'strikeout', as he DID end up with Claudette Colbert in that one (Young Man of Manhattan)...
--- Laura Hope Crews would later play 'Aunt PittyPat' in Gone With the Wind
--- The Hollywood Reporter mag said prior to production that Lew Ayres was to be Jack Bacon, to make a second film with Ginger - this would have been pretty cool, but then again, Norm makes a pretty fair Mr. Bacon.
--- An interesting scene that has historical 'foreboding' is where Eckbaum's son Julius is 'doodling' swastikas on the wall, citing them as 'good luck', and Eckbaum proceeds to whomp him up side the head...showing that even in 1933, there was enough awareness of the growing menace of the Nazi Party, and its anti-Semitic agenda.
--- On a lighter general note, this film may well have been the first to delve into that occupation we all know and love, telemarketing...oof. 
---in 2007, TCM 're-premiered' Rafter Romance, the first time in over 70 years the film was 'publicly aired'.
GingerFilm Ranking: #1 of 21...with a bullet. This is definitely my favorite 'pre-(headliner)GandF' Ginger Rogers movie, period. Kinda weird, considering there's no GingerTunes...y'know, if they let our girl actually SING in 'Professional Sweetheart', it MAY have retained the top spot (would have been a closer call, anyway)...but dang it, that messed up things JUST enough on that one... so, RR will probably hold down Numero Uno for awhile - at LEAST until GandF crank up 4-5 films down the road...

After Twenty Reviews:
#01 - Rafter Romance
#02 - Professional Sweetheart 
#03 - 42nd Street
#04 - Flying Down to Rio
#05 - Sitting Pretty
#06 - The Tenderfoot
#07 - The Tip-Off
#08 - Queen High
#09 - Young Man of Manhattan
#10 - You Said A Mouthful
#11 - Carnival Boat
#12 - A Shriek in the Night
#13 - The Thirteenth Guest
#14 - Don't Bet On Love
#15 - Chance at Heaven
#16 - Broadway Bad
#17 - Gold Diggers of 1933 
#18 - The Sap From Syracuse
#19 - Suicide Fleet
#20 - Follow The Leader
#21 - Honor Among Lovers
#22 - Hat Check Girl***
*** - Not viewed or reviewed due to unavailability.
Up Next: Finishing School... Ginger scales it back into a 'supporting' role, as a rather promiscuous young lady in...well, 'finishing school'...but she makes the most of it, as usual...

Until then, as always...

KIG, Y'all!!!

VKMfanHuey
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3 comments:

  1. Yet another film to add to my Ginger list!!! Hope you are having a great weekend Huey honey!!!! Kori xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do love RR...but I'd put Professional Sweetheart #1! (up to this point!) But that's me! :0

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kori: Hi, Lady!!! Hope you enjoyed the review... it's definitely one to check out! Hope YOU have a totally bodacious Valentine's! ...something tells me you'll have a pretty good haul of stuff!!! Keep it Gingery over on the West Side for us, Blondie!!!

    Ron: It's a closer call than I may let on... there's no doubt Ginger is in 'hyper-sassy' mode in PS, but...just can't get past the song dubbing...what IS interesting is that these two films each have Norman Foster in them...guess they work pretty well together...

    ReplyDelete

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