Monday, November 16, 2009

Two new Ginger movies-Teenage Rebel and Primrose Path

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!


  1. Primrose Path is one of my favorite Ginger movies. It's sadly underrated. I'll look forward to reading your thoughts about it!

    I haven't finished watching Teenage Rebel yet, but what I've seen so far hasn't really impressed me.

  2. AC - I concur - I think Primrose is really a great movie, and was generally the role that most likely set Ginger up for 'Kitty' later that year...LaCava is a pretty cool director.

    As for Teenage Rebel, other than being perhaps one of the largest 'misnomer titles' in the history of cinema (I was envisioning a chick on a motorcycle who went around breaking dude's thumbs...), it is a 'fair' movie... Of course, I love all phases of Ginger, but as I have made known in the past, the 'middle-aged' Ginger really, 'intrigues' me... :-P ...since I am 'middle-aged' myself, and have always had a 'thing' for 'older' know, 5 or so years my senior...of course that scale is sliding rapidly, so...anyway... sorry for the wabbit twail... As for the 'Rebel', it is a bit 'different' to see Ginger as a mom, in ANY capacity...although it seemed to work with a infant in 'Bachelor Mother' quite well...but that was a comedy, not a 'melodrama'. Ultimately, I just love Ginger's personality in this one...kind of 'real life' Ginger, or an illusion of such, anyway... but the movie itself is 'average', I suppose... no real 'gotchas' in it.

  3. PS... Maggie - the 'Ginger goes off' scene was maybe the most 'real' part of the was like, "wait for it...she is gonna keep pushing Ginger until she will go OFF on her!" I'm not sure how to put this, but when Ginger gets riled up... it...kinda...'intrigues' me...(there's that word again... I looked that one up in the dictionary and it said 'beguiled'...haha - "isn't that just beguiling, Su-Su?")

  4. Haven't seen Teenage Rebel, but your description seems fitting. Love Primrose Path-- all of Ginger's work with Gregory LaCava, actually. :)