The Major and the Minor (1942)

100 mins | Romantic comedy | 1942

Cinematographer:

Leo Tover

Editor:

Doane Harrison

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

This film marked Billy Wilder's solo American directorial debut, and was actress Ginger Rogers' first picture for Paramount in nine years. Actress Diana Lynn, a former child prodigy, previously appeared as a pianist in films under the name Dolly Loehr. "Lucy Hill" was her first acting role. Lela Rogers, Ginger Rogers' mother and manager, who appears onscreen for the first time in this film, portrays Ginger Rogers' screen mother. According to HR news items, Dorothy Comingore was initially borrowed from RKO for this film, Hillary Brooke tested for a role, and Dickie Jones and Billy Cook were cast in the same role, but both deferred due to illness.
       One scene in the film features a girls' school dance at which all the female students sport the "peek-a-boo" hairstyle made famous by Paramount contract player Veronica Lake. In 1955, Paramount released You're Never Too Young , a remake of this film, directed by Norman Taurog and starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Diana Lynn also appeared in that film in the Milland role. Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland reprised their roles in a 31 May 1943 Lux Radio Theatre ... More Less

This film marked Billy Wilder's solo American directorial debut, and was actress Ginger Rogers' first picture for Paramount in nine years. Actress Diana Lynn, a former child prodigy, previously appeared as a pianist in films under the name Dolly Loehr. "Lucy Hill" was her first acting role. Lela Rogers, Ginger Rogers' mother and manager, who appears onscreen for the first time in this film, portrays Ginger Rogers' screen mother. According to HR news items, Dorothy Comingore was initially borrowed from RKO for this film, Hillary Brooke tested for a role, and Dickie Jones and Billy Cook were cast in the same role, but both deferred due to illness.
       One scene in the film features a girls' school dance at which all the female students sport the "peek-a-boo" hairstyle made famous by Paramount contract player Veronica Lake. In 1955, Paramount released You're Never Too Young , a remake of this film, directed by Norman Taurog and starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Diana Lynn also appeared in that film in the Milland role. Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland reprised their roles in a 31 May 1943 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Aug 1942.
---
Daily Variety
28 Aug 42
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Sep 42
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Aug 42
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 Aug 42
p. 869.
New York Times
17 Sep 42
p. 21.
Variety
2 Sep 42
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Written by
Written by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the play Connie Goes Home by Edward Childs Carpenter (New York, 26 Sep 1923) and the short story "Sunny Goes Home" by Fannie Kilbourne in The Saturday Evening Post (7 May 1921).
DETAILS
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 16 September 1942
Production Date:
13 March--early May 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 October 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11652
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
100
Length(in feet):
9,002
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Fed up with New York life after one year's residence, Susan Applegate decides to use the money that she has saved for her return train ticket home but discovers at the ticket window that the fare has gone up. Unwilling to remain in New York a day longer, Susan gets an inspiration when she sees a child receive the ticket at half-price. She dashes into the women's bathroom, rubs off all her makeup and dresses as if she were a little girl. She then pays a stranger to buy her a child's ticket on the train and maintains the ruse even after she boards. When suspicious conductors catch her smoking a cigarette, Susan hides in the sleeper cabin occupied by Major Philip Kirby, a military boys' school instructor who is returning from Washington, D.C. after trying to get his military status reactivated. Philip, taken in by "Su-su's" childlike behavior, shelters her from the conductors and lets her stay the night in the lower berth. The next day, the train is detained by flooding on the tracks, and Philip's fiancée Pamela and future father-in-law, Colonel Hill, drive up to meet him. When Pamela sees Susan in Philip's room, she thinks he has been having an affair, and Philip is forced to bring Susan to the military school to prove that she is only a twelve-year-old child. After the misunderstanding is cleared up, Philip insists that Susan remain at the school for a few days until someone can escort her home, and she stays at the Hill home. Pamela's teenage sister Lucy immediately sees through Susan's get-up, but because she thinks her sister is a "stinker," she ... +


Fed up with New York life after one year's residence, Susan Applegate decides to use the money that she has saved for her return train ticket home but discovers at the ticket window that the fare has gone up. Unwilling to remain in New York a day longer, Susan gets an inspiration when she sees a child receive the ticket at half-price. She dashes into the women's bathroom, rubs off all her makeup and dresses as if she were a little girl. She then pays a stranger to buy her a child's ticket on the train and maintains the ruse even after she boards. When suspicious conductors catch her smoking a cigarette, Susan hides in the sleeper cabin occupied by Major Philip Kirby, a military boys' school instructor who is returning from Washington, D.C. after trying to get his military status reactivated. Philip, taken in by "Su-su's" childlike behavior, shelters her from the conductors and lets her stay the night in the lower berth. The next day, the train is detained by flooding on the tracks, and Philip's fiancée Pamela and future father-in-law, Colonel Hill, drive up to meet him. When Pamela sees Susan in Philip's room, she thinks he has been having an affair, and Philip is forced to bring Susan to the military school to prove that she is only a twelve-year-old child. After the misunderstanding is cleared up, Philip insists that Susan remain at the school for a few days until someone can escort her home, and she stays at the Hill home. Pamela's teenage sister Lucy immediately sees through Susan's get-up, but because she thinks her sister is a "stinker," she befriends Susan. Lucy reveals that although Pamela claims she is helping Philip fulfill his wish to get active duty, she actually has been using all her connections to prevent him from enlisting so that they can remain at the academy after they are married. Susan becomes popular with all the young boys at the school and has to fend off their amorous advances. After witnessing Pamela's subterfuge, Susan tricks one of Pamela's connections into getting Philip reinstated, but when Pamela hears the news, she calls off their engagement. Pamela learns of Susan's involvement and forces her to leave by threatening to expose her and Philip in a scandal. Susan, who has fallen in love with Philip but has been unable to reveal her true age to him, reluctantly returns home to her mother. Philip stops to see her on his way to California to report for duty, and Susan pretends to be her mother, allowing Philip to leave without learning the truth. However, after hearing that Pamela has married someone else, Susan changes into her own clothes and rushes to the train station to join the finally enlightened Philip on his journey, and they plan to marry en route to California. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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