I must start by reaffirming our general love and adoration for the wonderful Ginger Rogers, because that which is to follow will not reveal very much love or adoration.
As many of you know, in the spirit of preservation of our film heritage, a few reknowned production companies have taken to FINALLY offering those little known gems of days gone by on dvd. The Archive Collection offered by WB is one such production company intiative. And while I would like to think that all the older films, which somehow slipped through the cracks, are all diamonds in the rough I find myself horribly mistaken.
5th Avenue Girl offers all the promise of those wonderful screwball comedies of the 30’s. Armed wtih a genius storyline, so much more could have been done with this screenplay and excellent cast, but it wasn’t. Ginger plays the typical down and out girl in New York, waiting for her next job, her next meal, her next home, when along comes Walter Connolly. Connolly plays the well meaning millionaire who finds his family has no more use for him. Desperate to get their attention and respect he offers Rogers a deal she can’t pass up. She could stay with him, and help him to win back his wife, be the confidant his daughter needs, and maybe help his son to fall in line and take on the family business… all accomplished simply by her presence. How, you ask? By being the threat that all good rich families need every once in a while-as the mistress that threatens the family name, standing and dynamic.
A farcical comedy of errors one naturally expects, but one does not get. Rogers plays the part in a confused manner, not knowing if she should be happy or sad about the predicament in which she finds herself. Tim Holt, the dashing son, also seems confused as to whenther or not her should be attracted to Rogers. Needless to say if there was any chemistry at all between Holt and Rogers, everyone would have been a whole lot LESS confused. Enter Kathryn Adams, the headstrong rich girl in love with the chauffer, Mike, played by James Ellison. Again, so much potential here for a nice confrontational and forbidden relationship that is little but annoying as a weak sub plot.
The only joy I had in watching this film was offered up by Verree Teasdale, who plays the jealous wife beautifully, desperate to either convince the psychiatirst that her husband has gone off the deep end, or to steal her husband back from Rogers. The juxtaposition alone can provide such fun, and yet that even falls short.
This film, I fear, finds itself grouped with some other unlucky ones annstj and I have found recently. Designing Woman, with Lauren Bacall has found its way onto the not-so-great list, for no other reason than an overall bad and boring storyline. And I know annstj has a few horrid film experiences she’s been keeping hushed up in her back pocket too, because really, we never want to admit that our favorite stars made bad choices in script selection.