U.S., 100 min, 1942, 2K DCP, Dir. Billy Wilder, Not Rated, Universal Pictures
“The Wilder ironies and favorite themes - sexual deception, innuendo, the power of words to slice up and serve a character - are all present in abundance.” – Don Druker, Chicago Reader
After a year and 25 jobs in New York, Susan Applegate (Ginger Rogers) is calling it quits and taking the train back home to Iowa. Unable to afford full fare, she disguises herself as a 12-year-old and stows away in Major Kirby’s (Ray Milland) compartment. A complicated relationship ensues. Hard to believe, but this was Billy Wilder’s directorial debut in Hollywood. First time out and he’s already pushing the envelope with this naughty comedy about a grown (military!) man ostensibly falling for a child. Credit the crack screenwriting tandem of Wilder and Charles Brackett that produced classics like Ninotchka and Sunset Boulevard. And chapeau to Ginger Rogers, who danced so well that critics failed to notice what a great comedienne she was. In The Major and the Minor, Ms. Rogers’ Su-Su is coy and innocent one moment, fetching and alluring the next, drawing the doomed major into her spider’s web. The movie has not aged a day in 75 years and remains well ahead of the curve in these politically correct times.
This screening of The Major and the Minor is made possible by a generous donation from the Harry & Mary Perrin Fund of the Coral Gables Community Foundation and hosted by Don & Jeannett Slesnick.
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