This Day in GINGEROLOGY - February 23rd

1899: Norman Taurog (born Norman Rae Taurog), who directed the Ginger film “Follow The Leader”, was born in Chicago, Illinois.

1976: Fuzzy Knight (born John Forest Knight), who starred with Ginger in the film “Sitting Pretty” (as Stock Clerk), died in Hollywood, California, at the age of 74.

2002: Peaches Jackson, who starred with Ginger in the film “Sitting Pretty” (as Chorus Girl), died in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the age of 88.

2010: TCM aired “42nd Street” and “Carefree”.

2015: FXM RETRO aired “Roxie Hart”, “Dreamboat”, and “Teenage Rebel”.

2016: TCM aired “Tom, Dick and Harry.”


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

February 23, 2019 @ 5:30 A.M. - 42nd Street
March 7, 2019 @ &:30 A.M. - The Tenderfoot
March 15, 2019 @ 9:00 A.M. - Roberta
March 22, 2019 @ 4:15 P.M. - The First Traveling Saleslady


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ginger Rogers Film Review #29 - Star of Midnight

(April 19, 1935 - RKO Radio)
Run Time (approximate): 90 Minutes.
Directed by: Steven Roberts.
Screenplay: Howard J. Green, Anthony Veiller, and Edward Kaufman.
Producer: Pandro S. Berman. 
Cinematography by: J. Roy Hunt.
From the Novel by: Arthur Somers Roche.
Original Music by: Max Steiner.
Musical Director: Max Steiner.
Sound Recordist: John L. Cass.
Film Editing: Arthur Roberts.
Camera Operator: Eddie Pyle.
Special Effects: Harry Redmond Sr.
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase.
Art Department: Charles M. Kirk.
Makeup Department: Mel Berns.
Costume Design: Bernard Newman.

Also Starring: William Powell (as Clay 'Dal' Dalzell), Paul Kelly (as Jimmy 'Jim' Kinland), Gene Lockhart (as Horatio Swayne), Ralph Morgan (as Roger Classon), Leslie Fenton (as Tim Winthrop), J. Farrell MacDonald (as Police Inspector Doremus), Russell Hopton (as Tommy Tennant), Vivien Oakland (as Jerry Classon), Robert Emmett O'Connor (as Police Sergeant Cleary).  
UNCREDITED CAST: Hooper Atchley (as Allen - Hotel Manager), Bobby Barber (as Waiter), Eddy Chandler (as Kinland Henchman), George Chandler (as Witness), Spencer Charters (as Hotel Doorman), Billy Dooley (as Bartender), Bess Flowers (as Mary Smith), Paul Hurst (as Detective Corbett), John Ince (as Doctor), Tiny Jones (as Charwoman), Francis McDonald (as Kinland Henchman), Charles McMurphy (as Police Officer Lewis), Daisy Lee Mothershed (as Belinda - Maid), John T. Murray (as Kinland's Butler), Louis Natheaux (as Kinland Henchman), George C. Pearce (as Second Doctor), Frank Reicher (as Abe Ohlman), Syd Saylor (as Foley - Record Delivery Man), Libby Taylor (as Matilda - Mary Smith's Maid). 
Ginger's Character: Donna Martin. 
Ginger's 'Screen Time': Approximately 32 Minutes and 14 Seconds (35.7% of the film). 
GingerTunes: None.
Gingery Goodness Factor (GGF) - (1-10): 7.5 - A solid 'realistic' Ginger performance, in that it has the feel of how Ginger would kinda be in real life... not too many moments of sassiness (probably the most she gets her dander up is in the scene below, and even that is 'acting'), but overall a very pleasant outing for our girl.
Film Quality (1-10): 9.0 - The WB Archive print is very well done, as usual. The screen caps, however, are from a copy of the film which was recorded from some TV channel not readily known by your humble author...hence the little squiggly logo in the bottom right of most of the caps...
...not sure where this is from, but if y'all have any clue, do inform... kinda looks like a pretzel gone awry...

Huey's Review for GINGEROLOGY: ...Well, this one is kind of hard to follow, being a 'whodunnit' and all that, so...let's just talk about Ginger, and how she looks so breathtakingly marvelous throughout this photo-play... ...hm? What's that? We do that all the time anyway? Well, I suppose you're right about that...so, we'll get to that later. With that, let's get on with the review proper... 
The tale begins in the uber-awesome penthouse digs of lawyer/sleuth Clay 'Dal' Dalzell (William Powell), with his friend Tim Winthrop (Leslie Fenton) dropping by to request Dal's assistance in finding his girlfriend Alice. Well, Dal is game, so he and his ever-present fiancee de facto Donna Mantin (Ginger Rogers) drag Tim to a play, entitled 'Midnight'...hmmmm... anyway, the 'Star' of 'Midnight'...(ohhhh...I see what they did there...) is a mysteriously masked maven (...say THAT 3 times fast) by the name of Mary Smith. Well, after she speaks and sings a bit, Tim declares, "...HEY! that's...ALICE!" ...and the actress subsequently scuttles off the stage and disappears...again.
Meanwhile, before the play really gets started, Dal is summoned to Jimmy Kinland's lair (Paul Kelly), who is the local gangster (...this IS the 30's, after all). See, it's like this...Donna has a girl-friend who wrote these 'personal' letters to someone other than hubby... not sure where Kinland obtained them, but...anyway, Dal is to retrieve these letters to keep Donna's friend out of trouble. Well, Dal hears on Kinland's radio about Mary-Alice bolting from the stage and heads back to the crib.
Tim meets Dal there to verify that the lady on stage was indeed long lost Alice...and is pretty much spent for the evening, so Dal lets him crash there for the night in his guest bedroom. Soon after, Tommy Tennant (Russell Hopton) a reporter from the city's 'TMZ' gossip rag, who actually KNOWS why Mary-Alice keeps on making herself scarce... but before he can tell Dal, a arm with a gun attached to it pokes out of the guest room and snuffs out Tennant. Dal plays possum, and jumps into the guest room when it appears the coast is clear...and nobody is there. Of course, Tim is the prime suspect, but Dal doubts it, as he knows the dude's character.
With that, there are multiple suspects available for Dal's scrutiny, including Kinland, Roger Classon (Ralph Morgan) and his wife Jerry (Vivian Oakland) (Jerry was an old flame of Dal's), Dal's butler Horace Swayne (Gene Lockhart), and...well. Dal himself...as he grabbed the gun used in the murder when he scoped out the guest room...but since Dal was 'grazed' with a bullet, it would seem that he would be off the police's list. 
That's about where I'll leave it, because it gets pretty convoluted from here...and of course I'll leave the endgame for you to discover...
Favorite Ginger Moments: One of the 'neat' moments in this one occurs pretty early...it's a very brief moment, you might even miss it if you blink twice... but there's a scene where Ginger is walking out of the room, turns around (after Powell tosses one of his classic barbs at her), and she 'squnches' her face (yeah, 'squnch' is a word...) 

...now, this is pretty cute in and of itself, but if you are a fan of The Thin Man series, you know that this is a 'trademark' expression for Nora Charles...and is definitely a nod to Ms. Loy, perhaps even 'ad-libbed' by Ginger... I'd kinda like to think that, anyway, as it seems like 'Ginger's style' to pay homage to the lady who 'owned' the role that she was fixing to delve into, with the task of consciously NOT acting like Myrna, yet still be... awesome...and she truly accomplishes that, IMHO.

Other Reviews:  
"Ginger Rogers, rapidly becoming one of the screen's most able light comediennes...neither sings nor dances in this, nor does she need to. Even without Fred Astaire and an orchestra playing Jerome Kern music, Miss Rogers gets along very nicely." - New York Sun
"Myrna Loy, of course, will always be the perfect partner for Mr. Powell, but Ginger Rogers makes a gallant consort for him here as the persistent lady who is determined to keep their friendship platonic." - New York Times
"William Powell is splendid as Dalzell, and so, too, is Ginger Rogers as the lady from Park Avenue." - New York World Telegram
"This time Mr. Powell has Ginger Rogers to help him solve the mystery, and to keep him happily supplied with drinks, and although she lacks the nonchalant wit of Miss Myrna Loy, she has enough life and intelligence to carry her successfully through the part." - London Times
"The presence of Miss Ginger Rogers in the cast is among the decided virtues of the entertainment... The versatile Miss Rogers, who is pleasant to watch in screen musical comedy as in mystery melodrama, is as delightful as usual, in the role of the lawyer's helper, admirer and co-drinker." - New York Herald Tribune

From GINGER: My Story: "I had always admired Bill Powell and was quite thrilled to be making a movie with him. He was genuine and kind to me. I was thankful to be going into a sophisticated comedy instead of rehearsing long hours and hearing the same song five thousand times. I especially love my opening outfit (by Bernard Newman), a white mink blouse with a black velvet skirt. It was so Fifth Avenue."
"I had worked with director Stephen Roberts before, on Romance in Manhattan. Between shots, we engaged in long conversations. He and his wife had just come back from a fishing vacation on the Rogue River in Oregon. My talks with him made me yearn to go to Oregon to see for myself. It sounded like a perfect spot for getting away to relax and fish."

Miscellaneous Stuff: 
--- The ladies in the picture frames scattered throughout Dal's pad included publicity shots of RKO actresses Irene Dunne and Ann Harding. Interestingly enough, there is not a pic of Donna Martin (or Ginger Rogers, for that matter) in the set, as far as I could surmise...
---  Dal notes (in as humble a manner possible) that his detective skills have been described as "Charlie Chan, Philo Vance, and the Saint all rolled into one...' - Powell actually portrayed Philo Vance in four feature films prior to this role.
--- One of the 'taglines' for this film was "The titian-haired star of "Gay Divorcee" and "Roberta" joins hands with the master of all screen sleuths in a sparkling, mystery drama breathless with thrills..." ...BTW, 'titian' means "of a brownish-orange color"...yeah, I had to look it up, too...
--- The Austrian title of the film was "Herr Sherlock und Frau Holmes".

GingerFilm Ranking: #11 of 30. A pretty good film, and Powell is always a great lead, but again, for pure Gingery goodness, it falls just outside the top third of the films thus far reviewed. 

After Twenty-Nine Reviews: 
#01 - The Gay Divorcee
#02 - Rafter Romance
#03 - Romance in Manhattan
#04 - Professional Sweetheart
#05 - 42nd Street
#06 - Roberta
#07 - Flying Down to Rio
#08 - Twenty Million Sweethearts
#09 - Sitting Pretty
#10 - The Tenderfoot
#11 - Star of Midnight
#12 - The Tip-Off
#13 - Upper World
#14 - Queen High
#15 - Change of Heart
#16 - Young Man of Manhattan
#17 - You Said A Mouthful
#18 - Carnival Boat
#19 - A Shriek in the Night
#20 - The Thirteenth Guest
#21 - Don't Bet On Love
#22 - Chance at Heaven
#23 - Finishing School
#24 - Broadway Bad
#25 - Gold Diggers of 1933 
#26 - The Sap From Syracuse
#27 - Suicide Fleet
#28 - Follow The Leader
#29 - Honor Among Lovers
#30 - Hat Check Girl***
*** - Not viewed or reviewed due to unavailability.

Up Next: Top Hat... One of the most well-known GandF movies, arguably their best... it was the 'template' for the next 3-4 GandF films to follow it, fine-tuning the formula used in 'The Gay Divorcee'... should make for an interesting review, and to see just how high Dale Tremont ranks among the all-time Gingery roles...

And stay tuned for "The Huey Treatment" of Star of Midnight... to be completed...soon!  

Until then, as always...

KIG, Y'all!!!



  1. Yay!

    Star of Midnight may not hold up to the Thin Man series well, but it's still a nice film. And Ginger does do a good job in it. She looked really pretty I thought in this movie.

    Can't wait for the "Huey" treatment side story. As usual they're always really good and sometimes funny!

    ALMOST OUT OF SCHOOL, got tomorrow, and Wednesday is a half day. Cannot wait. Got my math, chemistry, and english finals to pull through still. Hope I do good!

    KIG!!! :)

    1. ...starting up the treatment soon... well, probably tomorrow night...

      Great to hear school is almost done! You knock out those last ones, and have an awesome summer!

      KIG, GF!!!

  2. Great review as always Huey! Especially liked the reviews!! Keep up the good work!

    KiG - Molly
    The Trade Corner

    1. ...thanks for the kindness, MB! I'll hopefully get a good start on the 'Huey Treatment' this weekend... and, there's other stuff I would like to post about... so plenty to do for Hu...

      KIG, MB!!!


  3. Having read and really enjoyed your review, it was wonderful to watch the film on TV this morning. What a treat!
    Luckily for me, BBC2 has been screening a series of 1930's RKO films at 6am at the weekends - my recorder has been working overtime.
    Looking forward to the "Huey Treatment version!

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Madam! I would like the RKO-BBC series...even 'non-Ginger' RKO films are pretty cool... they have a certain.... something.

    Hope to get the Huey Treatment rolling soon...unfortunately, I have a sinus infection, but hopefully I'll be able to knock it out soon... cut a lot of grass today, and it messes me up a bit...

    KIG, Madam!!!


  5. This film has grown on me, and now I can happily watch it over and over.

    1. ...it's pretty nice, if you can 'separate' it from Thin Man films... BTW, THANKS for following, EGM!!!! Great to have a fellow Gingerologist aboard!



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Hometowns to Hollywood Busby Berkeley Blogathon 2018

Hometowns to Hollywood Busby Berkeley Blogathon 2018
...including the Gingerology entry of 'Gold Diggers of 1933'...