Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ginger Rogers and... Norman Foster?

Norman Foster is a name you might not recognize: he acted in the 1930s, but eventually became a director, making a lot of B movies in the late 1930s and 1940s. TCM, however, have paired two of the movies where he played the male lead opposite Ginger Rogers as part of Rogers' Star of the Month treatment. I've recommended the fun Rafter Romance before; that comes up overnight at 1:00 AM ET. Before that, at 11:30 PM tonight, is Professional Sweetheart.

Rogers stars as Glory Eden, the host of a popular radio show. Glory is supposed to be the apotheosis of the virtuous, all-American girl. The reality, however, is quite different, as she wants to spend her free time partying and drinking. This of course, presents a huge problem for the show's sponsors. Eventually, Glory's bosses -- the sponsors and PR people -- get an idea. They'll look through Glory's fan mail, and find a proper man to be Glory's boyfriend; somebody who can keep her on the straight and narrow.

That's where Foster comes in. He plays Jim Davey, a hillbilly from the backwoods of Kentucky. He's brought to New York, and falls hard for Glory, to the point that he actually intends to bring her back to Kentucky and have her be a real wife for him! It's not something Glory really knows how to do, but she's so miffed at her handlers that she's willing to run away and give it a try....

Professional Sweetheart is fun, if not truly great. Classic movie fans will particularly enjoy watching for all of the character actors who show up. Gregory Ratoff (Max Fabian from All About Eve) plays one sponsor; his personal assistant is Allen Jenkins; Sterling Holloway and Edward Everett Horton play reporters; Franklin Pangborn, Frank McHugh, and ZaSu Pitts also show up. All of them are just wacky enough to make Professional Sweetheart an enjoyable ride.

Apparently, Professional Sweetheart has not been released to DVD. Even though it's one of the lesser-known Ginger Rogers movies, you'd think it might have made it into a Rogers box set by now.

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