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The Major and the Minor Reviews

Page 1 of 6
AJ V

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
A very funny movie and an interesting story, but you really have to suspend your disbelief when it comes to mistaking Ginger Rogers for a pre-teen girl.
jjnxn
jjnxn

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2010
Something that could never be made today but coming from a more innocent time this is a sweet little comedy. Ginger is sly and funny as the masquerading lass, Ray Milland properly befuddled and Diana Lynn great as the wised up sister. All done with a light touch by Wilder.
December 6, 2011
Ridiculous plot and situations, but Ginger Rogers makes it work as she's a great comedic actress. And, oh yeah, having Billy Wilder directing (his first time) helps as well. Definitely couldn't be made again today.
jhmrbones67
April 24, 2011
Great romantic comedy (not usually a fan) with no bad parts, Ray and Ginger are great together. A must see movie!
jmillerdp
December 19, 2010
Very strange supposed comedy about a 30-year-old Ginger Rogers impersonating a 12-year-old. And, this guy who befriends her has a thing for who he thinks it 12 years old? Freaky, pedophilic vibe! And, if that isn't disturbing enough, Ginger Rogers looks no where near 12! Not in any way! Interesting only as a curiosity. Nothing more!
January 27, 2010
This film is Billy Wilder's directorial debut. It stars Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland. I think most people think of Ginger Rogers as a dancer in films with Fred Astair but her acting is showcased in this movie with only incidental dancing. She was a greater actor than she got credit for or perhaps her dancing just over shadowed it. It this simple comedy film she excels playing a 12 yr old girl, a young woman in her 20s and her own mother and does it very believable. In fact, she makes Ray Milland look and sound a little 'campy'. An interesting note on this film. is that her real mother was played by her -real- mother, Lela Rogers in her only film acting appearance. She was known to always be on the set with her daughter and somehow was included in this film. She was pretty good and not awkward at all as one might think. Billy Wilder went on to bring us such great films as 'Double Indemnity', 'The Lost Weekend' and 'Stalag 17' to name only a few. This is one of his best comedies and one of my favorites!
moviegirl50
January 10, 2010
Very cute and entertaining movie with the awesome Ginger Rogers. She plays a woman who masquerades as a 12 year old and then the fun begins...I enjoyed it!
sharondlg
August 2, 2008
Cute, cute, cute b-movie from the 40's, with an imp-ish Ginger Rogers pretending to be a teenage girl to handsome "uncle" Ray Milland. Hmmm..sounds unseemly and a bit creepy, but actually it's funny and light and you're happy at the end when everything ends up okay. Nice little performance by Diana Lynn, who cynically plays the one person not snowed by Ginger.
sepio41
November 7, 2008
wilder made hsi director debut coaxing a delightful performance from ginger rogers as a young woman so desperate to get back home to iowa that she masquerades as a twelve year old to save on train fare. she meets a major whose fiancee has him in stir at a posh military academy and the fun mounts higher from there!
August 18, 2008
Armless but not unpleasant. Not the best Wilder, just worth it if you are a real fan of the director.
August 24, 2014
I SAW THIS MOVIE A YEAR WITH A FRIEND A YEAR OR TWO AFTER ITS RELEASE WE WERE 9 AND I CAN REMEMBER HOW WE LAUGHED AT THE IDEA THAT ANYONE COULD HAVE ACCEPTED GINGER ROGERS AS A PRE TEEN SHE WAS OLDER THAN OUR MOTHERS, AND WOULD HAVE HAD TO PASS AS SOMEONE 2 YEARS OLDER THAN WE WERE SHE WAS FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE 31
June 8, 2013
After a young woman is forced to disguise herself as a 12-year old girl to get her train ticket for half price, she meets a major who is she meets a major who is strangely attracted to her. Wilder is not afraid to go around the code restrictions by creating a comedic situation with intelligently placed sexual undertones. It is his delicacy too, mixed with a well timed performance by Ginger Rogers who has arguably never been funnier, that makes the story believable and entertaining.
Kevin L.
January 3, 2013
A woman disguises herself as a child to save on a train fare and is taken in charge by an army man who doesn't notice the truth.
October 12, 2012
Wilder at his most interpersonally subversive, and Ginger Rogers at her best.
April 9, 2012
catchy och välspelad men ganska unken och överflödig i sin plott. inte så angelägen.
August 18, 2011
"The Major and the Minor" is one of the many delightful movies put out in the '40's. Sue Applegate (Rogers) is a working woman in a big city, but soon she gets tired of it and wants to get home to Iowa and live with her mom again. When getting the train ticket, she realizes she doesn't have enough money, so she decides to dress- up as a twelve year old girl to get in. When she actually makes it, she gets mixed up with Major Kirby (Milland) and when he takes her to his base, that's when things get messy. This is the great Billy Wilders directional debut, and that for me was a good enough sign that this would be excellent. I was right! He had really only worked with Charles Brackett on scripts for classics like "Ninotchka" and "Ball of Fire", and I'm guessing he had to have gotten tired of it. This comedy brings out the fun in both Milland and Rogers, and even though the plot is down- right silly, its a joy to watch. Rogers provides many laughs (even though she left Fred Astaire for hemm hemm ... "dramatic roles"), and it's fun to see what lengths her character has to go to just to get a train ticket. Even the usually dramatic actor Ray Milland does a superb job! This is a really good movie, and I think you would really like it if you are a big fan of screwball comedies.
gillianren
July 5, 2011
Is This Movie Really Necessary?

A lot of people, when you point out exactly how dumb the basic premise behind this movie is, say, "Well, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon didn't much look like women in [i]Some Like It Hot[/i], either." This is of course true, but they still look a heck of a lot more like women than Ginger Rogers looked like a girl a week shy of twelve. It shouldn't take a biologist to work out that she's built like an adult. She was over thirty when this movie was made. I might have found it more plausible that she fooled, you know, anyone who talked to her for more than about fifteen seconds if the role had been played by an actress no more than about twenty, but no. It's also true that only one person notices that she doesn't much act a week shy of twelve, either. She acts about six, and everyone except that horde of cadets treats her that way. The fact is, it seems as though forgetting how various ages of children act is a film tradition.

Susan Applegate (Rogers) is going home to Iowa from New York. She's been there a year, and she's starting to think that's a year too long. Unfortunately, the train fare she set aside for herself when she got her first job is no longer enough; fares have gone up, probably because of the war. So she has the "clever" idea of disguising herself as someone young enough to ride for a child's fare, which is half price. Only the conductors (Stanley Andrews and Emory Parnell) are about the only not-morons in the piece, and they spend her entire time on the train trying to trap her into revealing that she's not a child. She ends up hiding in the cabin of one Major Kirby (Ray Milland), and she tells him that she's "Su-Su." For reasons that don't make sense, he takes her to the military academy where he's teaching. The only person who works out what's going on is Lucy Hill (Diana Lynn), the younger sister of his fiancée, Pamela (Rita Johnson).

The thing is, they seem to be basically whoring her out to the boys. The major tells Susan to be careful, but it's a joke when the boys are trying to kiss her. At least one of the boys is old enough to be engaged, too, and we know for a fact that at least one is sixteen. This is another place where it doesn't seem as though the screenwriter quite understood how age works. She's given an honour guard, and the boys are all fighting over her. Which works if she's supposed to be, you know, old enough to have gone through puberty. Lucy is sixteen (or anyway the actress was), and she's old enough to know that those boys have nothing good on their minds. However, the grown-ups all seem to think it's cute that the boys have seized every dance on her card and that they've parceled out hours of her day amongst them. While it's true that such a thing would probably thrill a lot of eleven-year-old girls, it's certainly not true that most boys at that school would have any interest in spending time with them.

I have to admit that I also found the whole subplot about the major's wanting to be transferred to active duty as unnecessary. The movie was, of course, released not even a year after Pearl Harbor, and it was very important that a story involving the military at that time involve the fact that soldiers all over the country were going off to war. I would also imagine that Pamela would find it desirable to have a husband who was, you know, on the same continent as she was. A selfish but popular desire, I'm sure. However, it didn't really seem to have much to do with anything. It might have been a reason for Lucy to keep Susan's secret, but I'm not sure Lucy really needed one. In fact, I think Susan could have been honest with Lucy. Come to that, I think Susan could have been honest with Major Kirby, and I think he would have been more likely to be creeped out than charmed when he eventually found out the truth. Though I suppose she didn't ever think he had to. Because, you know, war.

Practically everyone involved in this would go on to better things. Among them, the director and the two stars had eight Oscars. The wisecracking, crafty younger sister would go on to be the wisecracking, crafty younger sister two years later in [i]The Miracle of Morgan's Creek[/i]. Honestly, I don't understand the love this movie has. It flatly doesn't make sense most of the way through. It's got such broad, burlesque performances that you'd think the people who gave them would be ashamed in later years. I mean, I don't exactly think Ray Milland should have declined his Oscar for [i]The Lost Weekend[/i] over it (Ginger Rogers already had hers), but I do think this movie has some defenders it doesn't deserve. The implications are brushed over because "it's just a comedy," but that doesn't mean they aren't there. I mean, doesn't it even strike people as a little weird that Major Kirby ignores everything Susan tries to tell him about herself because he knows what little girls are really like?
T.S.M.
August 26, 2010
Billy Wilder had an unfair advantage: he was a genuine genius. This is a terrific little comedy/romance - there are laughs throughout, and the relationship is believable. It's predictable, and it even foreshadows Some Like it Hot to a degree, but it's great fun regardless. Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland are just about perfect. Loved the ending, too.
David B.
May 22, 2010
The Major and the Minor is a story not unlike Wilder's Some Like it Hot in that a huge source of the comedy comes from our main character masquerading as something they clearly are not. Our protagonist Susan Applegate (Ginger Rogers) is fed up with city life in New York and decides to take the train back to her hometown in Iowa. She's reserved the exact amount the trip cost her on the way to New York from Stevenson, Iowa years ago, $27.50. Unfortunately, since that trip, the rates have shot up to $32.50. Applegate then decides to fool the railway into thinking she's a 12 year old girl, and thusly, would only have to pay half-fare. While she does manage to make it onto the train, eventually the conductor gets wise, forcing Applegate to hide in the train compartment of Major Philip Kirby (Ray Milland). Major Kirby takes it upon himself to be Susan's guardian. After an indefinite train delay, Major Kirby offers Susan a place to stay with his fiance on the military institute where Kirby teaches. What was meant to be a quick charade to save on a train trip becomes a full week of entertaining young cadets hoping nobody gets wise.

I've seen a few of these masquerading stories in my lifetime. Most of them have to do with men pretending to women or vice versa. This is the first that I can think of where an adult tries to pull off being a child. To her credit, Rogers does a pretty amusing, maybe even slightly convincing, job of pulling off a much younger girl in regards to her performance.

I like that they make it an issue that some people just don't buy her age because realistically, she just doesn't look 12. We as an audience aren't necessarily expected to buy Susan as a 12 year old. It seems to me that those that want her to be 12 see her that way while those that want her to be older, see her that way. For instance, the train conductor doesn't want to be conned, so he's more apt to recognize the lie. Major Kirby, on the other hand, is a little more trusting of people, so he's less likely to see her as a fake (plus he has a bum eye.) The one actual 12 year old girl that Susan meets in the picture recognizes her immediately. One of the reasons she cites for this recognition is that Susan often acts much younger than a 12 year old. That is, she'll say things that a 6 year old might say. It's an interesting commentary on the way adults view children versus how children see children. While adults may group kids from 6 to 12 as being very similar, a child in that same age group sees themselves as very different. Sometimes it gets so specific that they demand you know that they're not just 8, but 8 1/2.

While I did find Rogers' portrayal of a 12 year old very entertaining, I was a little uncomfortable with the love story. It's not that I find Susan's feelings for Major Kirby disturbing. It's that Major Kirby seems to be suppressing feelings for Susan. During the course of the picture I had a hard time imagining the two of them actually ending up together in any way because that misconception would a rather large hurtle for their relationship. How could Major Kirby ever be with an adult Susan if in the back of his head he's thinking of her as a 12 year old?

Really, The Major and the Minor is a very amusing comedy and a great opportunity to see Ginger Rogers have fun with a role.
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