The Major and the Minor

1942

Action / Comedy / Romance

15
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100% · 19 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.4/10 10 7711 7.7K

Director

Top cast

Ray Milland as Major Philip Kirby
Diana Lynn as Lucy Hill
Ginger Rogers as Susan Applegate
Norma Varden as Mrs. Osborne
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
864.12 MB
988*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
Seeds 1
1.54 GB
1472*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
Seeds 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by AlsExGal 8 / 10

A great screwball comedy

Ginger Rogers was lucky in that she wasn't pigeonholed into being a specific type of character and that she can play a variety of characters in different roles. She demonstrated a real knack for comedy here, in Billy Wilder's first job of direction. Ginger Rogers can't afford an adult train fare to Iowa, so she disguises herself as a pre-teen, and from there the film progresses into one long funny con-game.

I loved watching Ginger assemble her little girl outfit in the bathroom of the train station. Granted, even without makeup and with her hair in pigtails, Rogers does not look 12. However, that is also part of the comedy of the film. Co-star Ray Milland's character has poor eyesight in one eye and as a result, he cannot tell that she simply looks too old to be 12. I thought Rogers looked very pretty with just minimal makeup and with the darker hair.

Milland's character's fiancee's sister, Lucy, was hilarious and she was the one person who called Rogers out on her farce right away. Lucy is the real brains in the film and she actually says what the audience is thinking: "She doesn't look 12!" I loved how she blackmailed Rogers into helping out Milland whom Lucy seems to genuinely care about. She does not like her sister. And good for Rogers for being a 20-something ( actually a 30-something) who could still fit into a teenager's clothes! The squeaky voiced cadets at the school were funny with them all having the same pickup line about Sudan. I especially liked the cadet who thought he was more sophisticated because he was from New York. The actor played Nancy Drew's boyfriend Ted Nickerson (Ned Nickerson in the books) in the "Nancy Drew" films with Bonita Granville.

Robert Benchley was great as Rogers' old customer who by sheer coincidence is the father of the New York cadet. He always did the befuddled sophisticate very well and with great dry humor.

There were many things in this film that I recognized from I Love Lucy. 1) Rogers' hair treatment on Benchley with the oil, eggs and painful massage is similar to Lucy's scalp treatment on Ricky when he thinks he's losing is hair. 2) The cadets sing "Sweet Sue" on the way to picking up Rogers. That song was the song that the Ricardos and Mertzes sing in the "Breaking the Lease" episode. 3) Benchley's character's wife played Mrs. Benson in the episode where Lucy and Ricky moved into the 2-bedroom apartment.

What was so interesting was the whole angle of an adult pretending to be a child who is falling in love with an adult who thinks she's a child. I thought it was strange when Milland complimented "12 year old" Rogers on her legs saying that they were a "nice shape" (or something like that). That seems like a strange comment to make toward a child. It's not something you'd see today in film.

I liked that Milland's character kept meeting Rogers at all these different ages: 12, 20s, presumably 40s-50s and didn't really seem to question it, only that it was remarkable how all these ladies look so much alike.

I saw this on the Universal DVD (although it's actually a Paramount film) the other night, and Robert Osborne's introduction is great, but it is a bit sad seeing him looking so hearty and strong in this eight year old DVD release versus the downturn his health has taken recently.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 7 / 10

ignore believability and have some fun with Billy

Susan Applegate (Ginger Rogers) is a hair massager making hotel calls in New York. She's tired of men making passes and decides to go home to Iowa. She's short on cash and pretends to be 12 for a train half-fare. She hides from the suspicious conductors in Major Philip Kirby (Ray Milland)'s compartment. He's protective of the scared little girl. His fiancée Pamela Hill comes looking for him and finds Susan in his bed. Pamela's father Colonel Oliver Slater Hill is Philip's commander.

Ginger Rogers is 30 and looks nowhere near 12. That hill is always going to be tough to climb but it would help if she's younger and more fresh faced. It would help if the ticket takers would say something like, "Let it go. I'm tired of this job." Then there is Philip. Maybe he should be half-blind. Of course, that may exclude him from military service. It may still work if he knew her age and did it all to flirt with her. That comes with the other problem of his fiancée. Billy Wilder keeps it light in his first directorial efforts. It's a comedic romp as long as one ignores Ginger Rogers' obvious age. In addition, there are some fake underage awkward hijinx.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

Out Of Wet Clothes Into A Dry Martini

Paramount Pictures finally gave Billy Wilder a chance to direct his own material with The Major And The Minor. This rather interesting comedy depends a great deal not on just Wilder's writing and directing, but on the considerable comedy talents of Ginger Rogers to put it over. It's not easy for an actress in the full flower of maturity to pretend to be an adolescent, but Rogers was certainly up to the task.

Rogers plays Susan Applegate from Stevenson, Iowa who has had just about enough of New York. After trying several professions and making no headway in any of them, she's ready to cash it in and go back to Stevenson, maybe marry a local guy there. But cash is the problem when she comes up just short of the fare from New York to Stevenson. What to do, but pretend she's a child and travel for half fare.

A rather interesting set of circumstances has her stopping off as a guest of Ray Milland whom she has 'fooled' into thinking she is only an early teen. That doesn't sit well with Milland's fiancée Rita Johnson, a real ice princess who suspects something's up. And Johnson's sister Diana Lynn knows there is, but doesn't care. Milland is an instructor at a boy's military school and the sight of his female guest sends the cadets into hormonal overdrive. Milland's feeling a bit antsy around Rogers though he can't quite figure out why.

Wilder showed that even in his first film he was a master at slipping stuff by the censors. In a recent biography of Billy Wilder that was more important on this film than most because the subject matter was weaving dangerously close to pedophilia.

Paramount was disposed to let Wilder have this project especially after another of their writers a couple of years earlier showed he had the directing chops. But Preston Sturges was given a tryout in the studio's B picture unit with The Great McGinty. The Major And The Minor was an A film all the way because Wilder was able to sell Ginger Rogers on the story. He also brought the film only slightly over budget which definitely insured he would have a directorial career at Paramount.

Robert Benchley is also in the film as a lecherous old goat who is the one who finally sends Rogers packing to Iowa after putting the moves on her while she is trying the profession of masseuse. Wouldn't you know it, he turns out to be the father of a chip off the old block in the person of Cadet Frankie Thomas. Benchley's scenes in the film are precious indeed.

The Major And The Minor still holds up very well after over 60 years, no doubt because of the risqué subject matter. It's a film definitely guaranteed to make you a fan of the talents of its director and its stars.

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