I have watched two new (to me) Ginger pictures this past week.
First I watched Primrose Path, a 1939 Gregory LaCava picture. I will talk more about this when I begin my series on 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year in the coming weeks, but for now I will say that I was surprised at how subtly this film handled the many issues it covered. In fact, it is likely this subtlety that has caused it to slip between 1939's enormous cracks: there were so many deliberate films that year (Gone With the Wind, Dark Victory, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, etc.). Like I said, I will study this film in a more in-depth fashion when I begin my series on the films of 1939. I plan on assessing each of the Oscar nominees (not just for best picture, but also acting, directing, and of course music). There's something for you to look forward to!
Last night I watched Teenage Rebel, a 1956 picture directed by Edmund Goulding at Fox. It tells the story of Nancy Fallon and her daughter Dodie, with whom she has been estranged for about ten years. She is court-ordered to spend three weeks with her estranged mother, who does all she can to patch up their relationship.
I had a lot of trouble with this movie. It was difficult for me to imagine Ginger as a mother, and it looked to me like it was an awkward experience for her as well. The script seems a little haphazard, especially combined with the title, as Dodie never really rebels. In fact, the opposite happens. She goes from being totally stiff and completely lonely to learning how to socialize and relate to other people.
It seems like this film is inching towards a really strong message about the importance of mothers to young girls, but it never quite makes it. Goulding, who also contributed to the screenplay, was in his sixties when this was produced, so I can imagine why it didn't quite capture the mother/daughter relationship to a "T".
There is one scene worth watching: when Nancy gets PISSED at Dodie. Skip to :46 for the fight!
5 years ago