Few things are as sweet as a movie that stars one of your all-time favorite actresses and one of your all-time favorite actors. It’s the very definition of movie magic. When it happens, I watch the magical movie so often I can say the lines right along with the stars. The Major and the Minor combines two of my absolute favorites, Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland and is (understandably) one of my favorite movies.
Is it a little far-fetched that any of the movie’s characters could actually believe beautiful Ginger Rogers’ character is a 12-year old girl? Yes, indeed. It’s far-fetched to the tune of an alien riding the Loch Ness Monster while a mermaid films the event.
And, yet… somehow they pull it off. While you can credit the director, the writers, and the outstanding costume department, you’d be far safer simply giving Ginger Rogers all the credit.
She makes the farce work beautifully and I marvel at this fact each and every time I watch this ridiculously fun movie.
I harp on it so often in my Old Hollywood Movie Reviews that I annoy my cats, but it is a fact that must be hammered home when talking about old movies from the delicious Golden Age of Hollywood – you have to throw nit-picking, reality-seeking, and fault-finding out the window and simply enjoy the film for the energetic fun and wonderful entertainment that it offers. I’ve actually told critics before, “If you want realism, watch the news. Then come back and tell me how that’s working for you!”
Sometimes you just have to be a wiseguy. Or in this case, wise gal.
The Major and the Minor is what they’d have called a “hoot” back in the day. It’s simply a lot of fun and those of us with a strong love for romance in movies can embrace the chemistry and special dynamic that Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland share.
Could a movie such as this be made in our politically correct and overly-offended world today? Absolutely not. Not a chance. No way. But things were a lot simpler in 1942 – a lot more innocent and uncomplicated.
The Major and the Minor Plot:
Susan Applegate (Ginger Rogers) needs train fare for a trip from New York to her home in Iowa. Lacking the necessary money, sh disguises herself as a 12-year old child so she can ride “half price.” She meets Major Philip Kirby (Ray Milland), who teaches at a military school. Major Kirby is oblivious to her farce AND age. When she accompanies him to the military school, she is an instant (and HUGE) success with all of the young men. This is one of the most entertaining things about the movie – the kids are a lot of fun to watch.
Susan falls head over heels in love with the Major but can’t do a thing about it. After all, she’s only a minor. Besides, he is spoken for and the one doing the speaking (Pamela) is a force to be reckoned with, herself.
While Ray Milland and Ginger Rogers are, understandably the main attractions in this movie, Diana Lynn (Lucy) steals more than her fair share of scenes. She plays Pamela’s somewhat nerdy teenage sister. She dives into this role so beautifully that she leaves you desperately wishing she had more screen time. She was absolutely adorable.
This wonderful movie is a must-watch for anyone who loves old movies, romantic films, Ginger Rogers, or Ray Milland. If, like me, you love all four… what are you waiting for?! You can find The Major and the Minor on Amazon.
The Major and the Minor Trailer: