Monday, November 14, 2011
Ginger Rogers Film Review #17 - Don't Bet On Love
Run Time (approximate): 62 Minutes
Directed by: Murray Roth.
Producer: Carl Laemmle.
Screenplay: Howard E. Rogers, Murray Roth and Ben Ryan.
Based on a Story by: Murray Roth.
Photography by: Jackson Rose.
Art Director: Charles D. Hall.
Edited by: Robert Carlisle.
Sound Recorder: Gilbert Kurland.
Editorial Supervisor: Maurice Pivar.
Production Supervisor: E. M. Asher.
Also Starring: Lew Ayres (as Bill McCaffery), Charley Grapewin (as Pop McCaffery), Shirley Grey (as Goldie Williams), Tom Dugan (as Scotty), Mema Kennedy (as Ruby 'Babe' Norton), Lucile Gleason (as Mrs. Gilbert), Robert Emmett O'Connor (as Edward Shelton).
UNCREDITED CAST: Henry Armetta (as Caparillo the Barber), William Bailey (as Reporter), Brooks Benedict (as Cunningham), Tyler Brooke (as 'passerby'), Clay Clement (as Arnold Ross, Attorney), Mike Donlin (as One of Shelton's Hoods), Bobby Dunn (as Cross-eyed Bettor), Willie Fung (as Charley Lee), June Gittelson (as Heavy Wedding Guest), Al Hill (as One of Shelton's Hoods), Arthur Housman (as One of Shelton's Hoods), Eddie Kane (as Eddie the Bookie), John 'Skins' Miller (as R. M. Bigsby the Undertaker), Lorin Raker (as Reporter), Craig Reynolds (as Reporter), Pepe Sinoff (as Mrs. Rosenbaum), Fred 'Snowflake' Toones (as Snowflake), and Alfred White (as Rosenbaum).
Ginger's Character: Molly Gilbert.
Ginger's 'Screen Time': Approximately 13 Minutes and 38 Seconds (22.1% of the film).
Gingery Goodness Factor (GGF) - (1-10): 6.5 - A very 'normal' role for Ginger...which typically is quite pleasant in and of itself, but this one would have been a good bit better if Ginger would have been allowed to be a bit more spunky in certain scenes. Maybe she didn't want to 'cut up' too much in front of her 'dream man'...
Film Quality (1-10): 7.0 - Fair, but not great... no 'commercial' copies available, but eBay and the like have copies available for a nominal fee...
Huey's Review for GINGEROLOGY: Well, it's a bit interesting that this review is being posted on the 77th anniversary of Ginger's marriage to Mr. Ayres (11/14/34). And, from recent info from various sources (thanks, Whitney!), it appears that Ginger and Lew remained in touch after their eventual breakup in 1940. So, all that to say, this movie is quite interesting for Gingerologists, primarily to see how these two 'hit it off'. Overall, it seems like Ginger is VERY happy to be on this set... and I think her 'real' feelings for Ayres may have 'tempered' her acting here...not that it's bad at all, but, realistically, it would be hard to act out an 'anger' scene with someone you are really trying to win over... if that makes sense.
As for the movie, it's really a pretty easy nut to crack... Ayres plays Bill McCafferty, the son of a plumber (Charles Grapewin); Pop wants Bill to settle in at the shop and plan on taking over the trade. However, Bill is big on playing the ponies (this is where the 'Bet' part of the title comes into play...clever, huh?) - and he has been on a winning streak as of late. Of course, Pop tries to keep him level-headed.
And, as any rebellious young cuss should be, Bill is enamored with a sweet young lady (our Miss Rogers as Molly Gilbert), whom he has courted to the point of asking for her hand in marriage. She gently rebuffs his proposal, however (which in my mind is like being gently thrown in front of a runaway Mack truck), for she knows full well of his forays into parlays (pretty good word association, eh?)... but he eventually talks her into it.
The wedding is all on track (ANOTHER horse racing pun for ya...), until at the 'pre-wedding party deal', Molly learns that Bill's desire to head to Saratoga for their honeymoon just happens to coincide with the opening of the race season... so she gives him the ultimatum of "It's me or the horses"...and wouldn't ya know it, the horses win out...for a while, at least (insert gooberhead remark here).
Bill heads out to S-town with his sidekick Scotty (Tom Dugan), where Bill wins BIG, and they eventually delve into the 'underbelly' of the gambling game, hooking up with one of the big cheeses, Edward Sheldon (Robert Emmett O'Connor) (BTW, "Robert Emmett" was my paternal granddad's name, and "O'Connor" was my maternal grandma's maiden name...so there ya go...). Of course, Sheldon is crooked as all get out, at the eventual expense of Bill and Scotty... and Bill also has 'woman troubles' along the way with resident Golddigger "Goldie" Williams (Shirley Grey), who somehow tries to frame Bill with letters...er, not sure how, guess I'm pretty ignorant of frame jobs by loose women... which probably shocks y'all to no end...
Anyway, all the unpleasantries get sorted out, and it's not a shock to find Bill and Molly looking in the same direction at the end of the film.
The general 'foreshadowing' of the movie theme as it pertains to Ginger's actual marriage to Ayres is a bit interesting, as the 'addiction' of gambling portrayed in the film could generally be translated into Ayres' 'addiction' of wild nightlife and drinking, as Ginger refers to in her bio, which ultimately destroys their marriage...no happy ending in real life, unfortunately.
Favorite Ginger Moments: Pretty 'normal' throughout, Ginger is sweet and kind in this one, and level-headed as well... one line she utters that sticks out in my mind is when she is with Bill at a NICE restaurant/nightclub, and she exclaims something to the effect of "$3.50 for our dinner? That's insane!" Pretty funny when you realize that doesn't cover a Quarter Pounder at this point in time...
"Lew Ayres, as the plumber, and Ginger Rogers, as the manicurist, make a pleasant team." - New York Times
"Miss Rogers tones her performance down to suit the character and proves a versatility unsuspected in her recent acting." - New York Herald Tribune
"Ayres and Miss Rogers appear to advantage as a team, although there is not much for either of them in the way of acting opportunities. They are a good-looking couple, and it's a pity they weren't married right at the start of the story, for Ginger's charm would undoubtedly have caused Ayres to go straight right away." - Los Angeles Times
"With Lew Ayres and Ginger Rogers in the leads, it is well acted, never assumes pretentiousness and stays right in character all the way through." - Motion Picture Herald
From GINGER: My Story: "Shortly after I finished Professional Sweetheart, my agent informed me that I was up for the leading lady role in a Universal film, Don't Bet on Love. The star of that movie was Lew Ayres. Lew Ayres! I could hardly believe it. Imagine, I might be cast opposite my idol! Ever since I'd seen him in All Quiet on the Western Front, I'd been nurturing a crush on him." [Ginger then recalls the 'earthquake' story...a pretty telling tale, but a bit too lengthy to include here...buy the book! - Hu] (continuing...) "A couple of months after our earthquake encounter, production started on Don't Bet on Love. It couldn't begin soon enough for me. Murray Roth, the director, was an angel. He knew that Lew and I had it bad for each other, and he didn't try to exploit the romance by playing tricks on us or humiliating us in front of the rest of the cast. I was wishing we could have filmed forever, but it was only a four-week shoot."
Well, really not much miscellany concerning the film, other than an alternate title of 'In the Money' (wonder where THAT came from...) - so, here's some interesting facts about Mr. Ayres, which most of ya probably already know, but just in case...
--- Was Dr. Kildare, a popular series of films in the late 30's - early 40's.
--- Was a 'conscientious objector' during WWII, as he was generally affected by his role in the 1930 film All Quiet on the Western Front; as a result, Ayres' films were shunned by the American public for quite some time afterward. He would eventually serve in the South Pacific as a medic, and later as a chaplin's aid.
--- Played piano for a big band before delving into acting.
--- Has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for Motion Pictures, and one for Radio.
--- Is buried in Westwood Memorial Park in L.A., next to Frank Zappa.
--- The official time period of the Ginger - Ayres marriage was from November 13, 1934 to March 13, 1940.
GingerFilm Ranking: #11 of 18...Again, a nice character, but no real 'sassiness' to speak of...and a few long stints within the film w/o Ginger doesn't help matters, either.
After Seventeen Reviews:
#01 - Professional Sweetheart
#02 - 42nd Street
#03 - The Tenderfoot
#04 - The Tip-Off
#05 - Queen High
#06 - Young Man of Manhattan
#07 - You Said A Mouthful
#08 - Carnival Boat
#09 - A Shriek in the Night
#10 - The Thirteenth Guest
#11 - Don't Bet On Love
#12 - Broadway Bad
#13 - Gold Diggers of 1933
#14 - The Sap From Syracuse
#15 - Suicide Fleet
#16 - Follow The Leader
#17 - Honor Among Lovers
#18 - Hat Check Girl***
*** - Not viewed due to unavailability.
Up Next: Sitting Pretty... Ginger delves into another musical, which would eventually become the last 'Pre-Fred' musical she did... it's a fair movie, from recollection, but my copy is VERY bad... I 'obtained' a better copy, but have to figure out how to view it... hopefully I can sort it out for the review. I DO know that Ginger's performance in 'Did You Ever See a Dream Walking' is a 'Hit Huey over the Head with a Hammer' moment, if y'all catch my drift... :-)
Until then, as always...