Friday, 30 December 2011

Fifth Avenue Girl [film]

Ah, Ginger Rogers! This 1939 film is not her best. In Fifth Avenue Girl*, rich businessman Alfred Borden (played by Walter Connolly) is weighed down at work, his daughter's a constant partier, his son shows no inclination to help out with the business and his wife is, according to the gossip columns in the papers, on the verge of going to Reno – home of the quickie divorce in 1930s America – with a 'friend'. It's Alfred's birthday and no-one's around, so he takes a walk and meets pretty, sassy Mary Grey (Ginger) in the park. She's too hard up for much fun, so he takes her to the poshest club in town, they buy champagne for everyone, even his wife who's there with her chap, and the pair of them have a roaring time. The following morning, his wife actually notices him. Alfred then hires Mary to pose as his girlfriend as a way of getting his family to notice him.

This is not my favourite Ginger Rogers film. She and Connolly have some great lines and interact well together, but the story is quite predictable. Because it's so predictable, there's not enough done in the script to make it believable, so you can't quite accept the way things work out in the end. You believe Alfred Borden loves his wife and wants her to love him back, but some of the other relationships... well, until the end, you'd swear the characters disliked one another so much they'd be glad to see the back of each other. The best screwball comedies work because the stories move fast, so you're too busy enjoying the fun to think about plausibility, but this isn't the case here. Not a bad film, overall, but definitely not Ginger's finest moment.

*I've gone with the spelling from the film poster. The DVD release calls it 5th Avenue Girl and the Internet Movie Database has it as 5th Ave Girl.

This DVD was a Christmas gift and therefore paid for, although not by me.

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