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Vivacious Lady

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Overview

James Stewart and Ginger Rogers were "an item" when Vivacious Lady was filmed, and their obvious real-life affection for one another pours over onto the screen. Stewart plays Peter Morgan, a young botany professor who while on a visit to New York impulsively marries free-spirited nightclub singer Francey (Rogers). A few obstacles lie in the path of connubial bliss, however, including Peter's bitchy ex-fiancee Helen (Frances Mercer) and his stern college-dean father Peter Morgan Sr. (Charles Coburn). Hoping to ...
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Overview

James Stewart and Ginger Rogers were "an item" when Vivacious Lady was filmed, and their obvious real-life affection for one another pours over onto the screen. Stewart plays Peter Morgan, a young botany professor who while on a visit to New York impulsively marries free-spirited nightclub singer Francey (Rogers). A few obstacles lie in the path of connubial bliss, however, including Peter's bitchy ex-fiancee Helen (Frances Mercer) and his stern college-dean father Peter Morgan Sr. (Charles Coburn). Hoping to break the news of his marriage gently to Helen and his father, Pete contrives to keep the union a secret, with the expected embarrassing results. Before the final fade-out, both Morgan Senior and Morgan Junior are on the outs with their respective wives, and it takes an uproariously tearful reunion on a passenger train to straighten things out. In his first outing as a producer, director George Stevens shows off his two-reel-comedy training with a number of hilarious comedy setpieces (the best is a slapsticky cat-fight between the two rivals for Pete's affections), though things tend to slow down towards the end. Stevens also finds room for several of his favorite character actors, including Grady Sutton, Franklin Pangborn and Willie Best, to do their time-honored specialties. Best of all is Beulah Bondi as James Stewart's mother (one of several such assignments), delivering a most unusual and touchingly funny performance. In short, Vivacious Lady was a guaranteed box-office smash even before the cameras began to turn.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
With Ginger Rogers as star, the title Vivacious Lady certainly rings true. Indeed, for about half of the film's running title, the word "vivacious" could apply to the picture itself. Vivacious starts out as a raucous romantic comedy, and it's only as the film progresses that one becomes aware that the set-up -- that James Stewart has impulsively married Rogers after knowing her a scant amount of time and can't bring himself to tell his family or his fiancée -- is basically a one joke affair. Despite the best efforts of the cast and director George Stevens, that joke starts to wear thin after a while, which is a shame; if they had just found a way to keep things sprightly, Vivacious could have been a classic comedy, rather than one that starts out terribly strong and ends up, overall, only pretty good. Still, when it's at its best, Vivacious is a humdinger; Rogers and Stewart have great chemistry and both of them are delightful throughout. Charles Coburn is also a plus, as very definitely is Beulah Bondi in a terrific performance. And some scenes -- such as the cat fight between Rogers and Frances Mercer are simply priceless; director Stevens really displays his flair for building comedy in this sequence.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/24/2013
  • UPC: 883316813003
  • Original Release: 1938
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 12,877

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ginger Rogers Francey Brent
James Stewart Peter Morgan
James Ellison Keith Morgan
Beulah Bondi Martha Morgan
Charles Coburn Peter Morgan, Sr.
Frances Mercer Helen
Franklin Pangborn Apartment Manager
Grady Sutton Culpepper
Jack Carson Charlie
Alec Craig Joseph the Chauffeur
Sleep 'n' Eat Porter
Lee Bennett Student
Stanley Blystone
William Brisbane
Edgar Dearing
Vernon Dent
Phyllis Fraser
Helena Grant
Vinton Haworth Druggist
Lloyd Ingraham Noble the Professor
Ed Mortimer Publisher
Dennis O'Keefe
Barbara Pepper
Tom Quinn Maitre d'
Floyd Shackelford Porter
Kay Sutton
Robert Holton
Katharine Ellis uncredited
Vivian Reid
June Horne
Phyllis Kennedy Jenny the Maid
Hattie McDaniel Hattie the Maid
Dorothy Moore Hat Check Girl
Maurice Black Headwaiter
Frank M. Thomas Train Conductor
Spencer Charters Husband in Couple
Maude Eburne Wife in Couple
Marvin Jones Boy on Bus
Bobby Barber Italian
Ray Mayer Man on Train
George Chandler Man on Train
June Johnson Miss Barton
Dorothy Johnson
Technical Credits
George Stevens Director, Producer
Pandro S. Berman Associate Producer
Harry Berman Editor
Mel Burns Makeup
Carroll Clark Art Director
Robert de Grasse Cinematographer
Hugh McDowell Jr. Sound/Sound Designer
Argyle Nelson Asst. Director
Bernard Newman Costumes/Costume Designer
Ernest Pagano Screenwriter
Van Nest Polglase Art Director
Irene Sharaff Costumes/Costume Designer
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
Roy Webb Score Composer
P.J. Wolfson Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    This rare pairing of Ginger Rogers and James Stewart as co-stars will be a treat
    for fans of classic movies. Beulah Bondi, who also played Stewart's mother
    in It's a Wonderful Life, and Charles Coburn round out a superb cast. The story line
    moves with the care-free style characteristic of film comedies from the major studios
    of the 1930's - a real treat.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews