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The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
The Major and the Minor
Universal Cinema Classics
Actors: Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
Director: Billy Wilder
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
NR     2008     1hr 40min

On her first day of work, Sue Applegate (Ginger Rogers) has to escape the clutches of a lecherous client (Robert Benchley, whose favorite line is "Why don't you slip out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?"). Fed up w...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
Director: Billy Wilder
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classic Comedies, Billy Wilder
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 04/22/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1942
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/1942
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

"I'll try to be a well-behaved light bulb." -- Rogers to Mil
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 07/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

""You know Sue-Sue, when I look at you with just my bum eye, you look almost grownup. Sue-Sue, you're a knockout!" -- Milland to Rogers

Ginger Rogers gave an enchanting performance in one of the most unusual films Billy Wilder ever helmed. He turned the worn out premise of children playing grownup on its ear by having Ginger Rogers portray a child. She masquerades as a twelve year old girl in order to get a half-fare train ticket back home to Iowa. The results proved to be one of the most charming, yet difficult to define romantic comedies ever filmed. The Austrian born director whose career in films began in Berlin as a screenwriter during the late 1920's, soon saw the writing on the wall and got out of Germany. He landed in Hollywood in the early 1930's with the help of Joe May. His ability to write a great story would remain an earmark of the director throughout his long and illustrious career.

Writing with Charles Brackett for Major and the Minor, their wit provided the farce, but the execution rested entirely on the very lovely shoulders of Ginger Rogers. Just as in Kitty Foyle, this delightful romantic fluff is nothing without her. She is as important to this film as the script and director, and it is because of her we are left smiling and charmed when the end credits roll on a film so absurd, common sense must be completely cast aside in order to enjoy it. It is the most perfectly executed, perfectly absurd romantic comedy of the 1940's. This film belongs to Ginger Rogers, and it could not be in better hands.

Susan Applegate is finished giving scalp treatments to lecherous Park Avenue husbands who want a different kind of treatment. It has taken her a year to save exactly the right amount for her train fare back to Stevenson, Iowa. Her plans to leave are given a damper, however, when she discovers the rates have changed and she is a bit short. A plan soon develops when she watches a mother purchasing a ticket for her daughter for much less. What follows is a delightful farce you can't stop watching as Ginger Rogers appears from the ladies room pretending to be twelve. It's delicious fun for the viewer watching her pretend once onboard the train. She finally gets caught having a smoke just outside the car she's riding in, and the real fun begins!

Ducking into the birth of Major Philip Kirby (Ray Milland) during the chase, she finds herself a bit leery of her new 'uncle' but soon becomes attached, heading down the road towards what girls who are twelve would call a crush. Susan isn't twelve, however. To keep the protective Philip out of trouble with his fiancee, Pamela (Rita Johnson), when she discovers Susan in his train compartment, she happily agrees to accompany him to the military school so he can explain, continuing the charade. Pamela's little sister, Lucy (Diana Lynn), isn't buying any of the act, but soon becomes Susan's closest ally in trying to keep Pamela from squashing Philip's dreams. Rogers is hilarious fending off the battle plans of an entire school of young and amorous cadets. Milland is quite amusing as well, trying to shake off momentary lapses of inappropriate inclinations for a twelve year old for which he can't quite grasp the cause. His talk with her about the young cadets is very funny, Susan milking the situation for all it's worth.

Pamela suspects there's something strange about Susan, and once Robert Benchley remembers where he's seen the little tike and passes it on, she sets a trap, prompting Susan to leave behind Phillip for the good of his career. Back in Stevenson, more charm and romance are to come, as well as more charades, as Philip makes a trip to deliver Lucy's gift to Sue-Sue. The final scene at a train station is a wonderful moment, pulled off beautifully by Rogers in an enchanting performance. Despite the premise, there is a charm and innocence about this film that is very much of the era in which it was filmed. Beautifully scripted, directed, and acted, this is a wonderful time capsule to romantic farce filmmakers of today could benefit from viewing. Diana Lynn is especially good as Rogers' pal. I highly recommend the region 4 version above this one, which has a terrific booklet about the film by Karli Lucas, and profiles of both Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland. If you need it on a region one DVD, however, this is a good print and the only one available. It is available used on VHS for region one as well, however. A must see for Rogers' fans."
Absolutely and Wonderfully Hilarious!!!
CelticWomanFanPiano | 01/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The plot has already been stated. Ginger Rogers needs to get home and only has enough money for the half-fare rate given to those under twelve. So the hilariousness ensues as she poses for being one week shy of twelve. No, she doesn't exactly look twelve. But her acting is superb. Her adeptness at changing voices and personalities according to her ages is amazing. The hilarious scenes that ensue with younger military lads trying to woo her is just a riot. I laughed my hardest at this movie. As someone who looks younger than her age many of the scenes definitely resonated with me. I whole-heartedly recommend!"