Sunday, May 6, 2012
Ginger Rogers Film Review #24 - Change Of Heart
Run Time (approximate): 77 Minutes
Directed by: John G. Blystone.
Assistant Director (Second Unit): Jasper Blystone.
Producer: Winfield R. Sheehan.
Dialogue Director: James Gleason.
Cinematography by: Hal Mohr.
Based on the Novel "Manhattan Love Song" by: Kathleen Norris.
Screenplay: Sonya Levien and James Gleason.
Additional Dialouge: Samuel Hoffenstein.
Set Decoration: Jack Otterson.
Editors: Margaret Clancey and James B. Morley.
Still Photographer: Mack Elliot.
Assistant Cameras: Maynard Rugg and Robert Surtees.
Second Camera Operator: William V. Skall.
Aerial Photography: Elmer Dyer and Paul Mantz.
Sound: Joseph E. Aiken.
Original Music: Louis De Francesco.
Musical Director: Louis De Francesco.
Orchestrator: Peter Brunelli.
Costume Design: Rita Kaufman.
Also Starring: Janet Gaynor (as Cathrine Furness), Charles Farrell (as Chris Thring), James Dunn (as Mack McGowan), Dick Foran (as Nick Foran), Beryl Mercer (as Harriet Hawkins), Gustav von Seyffertitz (as Dr. Nathan Kurtzman), Kenneth Thomson (as Howard Jackson), Theodore von Eltz (as Gerald Mockby), Drue Leyton (as Mrs. Gerald Mockby), Nella Walker (as Mrs. Frieda Mockby), Shirley Temple (as Shirley - girl on airplane), Barbara Barondess (as Phyllis Carmichael), Fiske O'Hara (as T.P. McGowan), Jane Darwell (as Mrs. McGowan), Mary Carr (as Mrs. Rountree).
UNCREDITED CAST: Mischa Auer (as Smith - man at Greenwich Village), William Bailey (as Man in Street), Harry C. Bradley (Graduation Speaker), Nell Craig (as Adoption Assistant), Bess Flowers (as Party Guest), Brenda Fowler (as Nurse at Adoption Agency), Irene Franklin (as Greta Hailstrom), James Gleason (as Hot Dog Vendor), Mary Gordon (as Woman in Street), Lillian Harmer (as Mrs. Boggs - landlady), Jamiel Hasson (as Man at Greenwich Village Party), Leonid Kinskey (as Party Guest), Mickey Kuhn (as Adopted Baby Boy), Frank Moran (as Moving Man), Edmund Mortimer (as Man Reading Newspaper in Brisbane's Office), Ed Mundin (Barker), Yolanda Petit (as Waitress), Phil Tead (Brisbane's Assistant), Poppy White (as Party Guest).
Ginger's Character: Madge Rountree.
Ginger's 'Screen Time': Approximately 17 Minutes and 33 Seconds (22.8% of the film).
Gingery Goodness Factor (GGF) - (1-10): 6.5 - Ginger is in quite a different role here, as a golddigger...and not a 'loveable' one, as in '33... she plays the role convincingly, but it still is a bit 'off-putting' for someone who likes the 'sassy but sweet' version of Ginger...and although she has a fair amount of 'camera time', she is out of the story for about 20 minutes or so in the middle of the film.
Film Quality (1-10): 8.0 - solid copy from TCM... not currently available on DVD.
Huey's Review for GINGEROLOGY: What we have here is a 'round-robin' affair, where the right person is after the wrong one, and vice-versa... The central characters in all of this are Cathrine Furness (Janet Gaynor) and Chris Thring (Charles Farrell), who, along with buds Mack McGowan (James Dunn) and Madge, have just graduated from a West Coast college...which is pretty gnarly in and of itself... but they have all decided to parlay that feat by forming a mini-commune in New York City, where each has dreams of business, celebrity, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera... they all have varying degrees of success landing jobs over the first few weeks there.
OK, that's the 'business end' of the proceedings...now, as for the 'relationship' portion of the program (obviously the lion's share of what this thang's all about), here's the short line: Cathrine (nicknamed 'Firey'; as such, that moniker will be employed by this reviewer henceforth...) is in love with Chris; of course, Chris is in love with Madge, who we'll get back to in a minute (it's a bit convoluted...); as for Mack, he has it bad for Firey, but of course the feeling there isn't mutual, either. He hangs out throughout the film, tho, taking the 'love triangle' that's brewing between the others in stride.
Minute's up... Madge, bless her little spoiled heart, is ultimately in love with...herself. She basically wastes little time hooking into one of the big wig producer/writer/showbiz/Broadway types, and subsequently moves out of the 'commune' and to who-KNOWS-where... of course, this kills Chris, but Firey begins to work on him, and almost has him where she wants him, when Madge up and runs off to get married to the cat she worked to get 'in' the biz... this news throws Chris into a tumultuous uproar, to the point of physical illness... (remember, y'all, Ginga's powerful stuff...)
Well, Firey finds out where Chris flew off to, and she nurses him back to health... and of course, Chris finally figures out that she is the real deal, and they get married. All is well, until Madge breaks up with the dude she married...and decides to jump back to NYC and pursue Chris... and fight Firey with fire...ey.
I'll leave the rest for y'all, although, as usual, there's no major 'twist' involved in this one... other than the way Ginger's character is quite manipulative... a bit different role for our fair lady... but it does expand her range that much more, and it's cool that she was never 'pigeonholed' into one type of character over and over...well, unless you count 'chorus girls'...oof... I'll have to scrub the pool out with a toothbrush for THAT one...
Favorite Ginger Moments: Ginger is pretty effective as the 'vamp' in this one, but no singing, and really no 'catchy' dialogue to speak of...the first scene right after graduation may be the 'cutest' she appears...Ginger in a cap-and-gown? Pretty cool, y'all... as for a 'parallel' theme... well, to be blunt, I got nuthin' on this one... so I'll just throw in 'random captions' and more or less follow the story line...with a general 'turning of the tables' between the roles of Madge and Catherine...
...First 'aside'...any movie where Ginger is putting makeup on gets a few bonus points in my book...that's just a weird thing that most guys dig about ladies (although few would probably admit it...)...ultimately it's a mystery to us how y'all do all that stuff, thus fascinating to watch...especially whilst y'all are driving...
"...I wonder how much longer that dude is going to blather on with his asinine rhetoric..."
"So, what are you planning to do with that honkin' Marketing degree, Dearie?"
"...Listen, Ma, me and the crew have it all worked out, see... first. we're going to New York City, since that seems to be where all these movies end up, anyway - why wait, I say... then, we'll all go to work at Woolworth's or something, and earn enough money to start a commune of sorts... "
"...here comes one of the fellows who kept asking me out...a nice guy, but a bit too 'unorthodox' for my tastes...he was voted out of the proposed commune..."
"...why, hello, Ben...where are Mr. and Mrs. Stiller on this celebration day?"
...Another aside here...Ginger in the Halls of Academia is awesome...I'd really like a poster of this pic...
"Hey, we better get these monkey outfits back to the shop before 3:30, lest we incur a late fee..."
"...so, you WILL be bankrolling our NYC trip, right, Mr. Warbucks?"
"...as we wouldn't want all that information regarding you and that cocktail waitress down in Barstow to get out, now WOULD we?"
"Why are we traveling cross-country with these hayseeds, anyway?"
"I say we set 'em up and knock 'em off when they are no longer useful to us..."
Yet another aside...there's some awesome peepers for ya... a random caption for this one could be, "...sorry, officer, I didn't know I was going that fast..."
"...did you know you can have Chinese food DELIVERED here?"
"well...isn't this awkward...is this some type of nursing home benefit or something?"
"Welcome to the Chumbawumba Society... I'm Beatrice, your emcee..."
"Look, can I hang out here for a few days? That other girl in my group is borderline psycho! I really think she's plotting to wax both of those dudes, and then probably do ME in!!!"
"...I mean, she SEEMS nice and everything, but...you should see her de-bone a chicken...it freaked me OUT, girl..."
"...why, yes, as a matter of fact, I DO have a sleep disorder, and would LOVE to take part in the Societies' sleep study program... "
"...very well...they studied my movements, R.E.M., and breathing patterns... I have a 'mild' snoring issue...they said it could be my adenoids..."
"Adenoids? Isn't that a mountain range upstate?"
"...so, they're wanting to do further studies on me...I'll have to just set up camp there for a few weeks... since I really never unpacked, I'll just grab my stuff and go... "
Still yet another aside here...not sure if the director planned it this way, but I think it's kinda cool how Ginger's face is somewhat 'shaded' in this scene, which generally reflects her 'attitude' here, and may even be a 'foreboding' of things yet to come between these two...
"er...dude, I'd sleep with one eye open..."
"Listen, now that I'm out of the commune for a bit, I need to tell you...that Catherine dame is off her rocker...she was talking about snuffing out you and that other halfwit to collect insurance money..."
"Well, aren't you glad to see Madge, Catherine?"
"um...why is she twirling the knife sharpener between her fingers?"
...not an 'aside' this time (I've about used my allotment of 'em, anyway...), but a general observation...this is just a pretty dang cool screen cap, if I say so myself... :-]
"I know you kinda liked Catherine, but...she's no good for you..."
"...you know, with all that 'could bludgeon you to death with an iron skillet at any time' vibe going on over there..."
"I know, I know...hey, Madge...this is kinda sudden, I guess, but...you know how it works in these films... how 'bout you and me getting hitched?"
"Why, of course, sweetie! We could Honeymoon in Schenectady!!!"
"Awesome!!! Now we've got THAT resolved... I guess we need to go back and help that other dude and that other chick he drug along with him into the commune..."
"Catherine was on the phone with Met Life for three hours this morning, so I just hope we can get there in time..."
"Change of Heart also boasts a supporting team in James Dunn and Ginger Rogers, but they, too, are on the backs of a nag that never quite gets started." - Variety
"Miss Rogers, less gingery than usual, nevertheless manages to suggest what slight 'menace' is required to persuade the spectator that Mr. Farrell may just possibly desert his own 'fiery' and fly instead to her." - Los Angeles Times
"Besides Miss Gaynor and Mr. Farrell, there are in the case James Dunn and Ginger Rogers, who are fortunate in having more virile roles than their colleagues... Miss Gaynor gives a sympathetic portrayal. Mr. Farrell scarcely seems always at home in his role. Mr. Dunn affords laughter by his lines and action and Miss Rogers is attractive as the careless young woman." - New York Times
"Like figures on an Egyptian bas-relief, they love in profile; Dunn loves Gaynor who loves Farrell who loves Rogers who loves all the boys. When Ginger Rogers marries a rich Broadway-ite, Farrell goes into a sickly decline. Miss Gaynor nurses him back to health, marries him, keeps him from sinning with sprightly Ginger Rogers, who finds consolation in breezy Jimmy Dunn." - Time
From GINGER: My Story: "At Fox, I made Change of Heart, playing the second feminine lead opposite James Dunn. Although not a great role, it did show me in a different light; I was a mantrap rather than a sweetheart. Handsome clothes and some very nice close-ups never hurt any second feminine lead. Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, a popular acting duo, were the stars of Change of Heart, and working with them was a real pleasure. Janet was adorable and Charlie was the handsome boyfriend every young girl coveted. I was surprised they weren't in love with each other. I got the feeling they might have had a thing for each other at one time, though now they were just friends. My feelings about them as a couple gave me insight into the way moviegoers felt about Fred and me. We were "together" on the screen, so naturally the fans assumed we were "together" off the screen."
--- Ginger replaced Sally Eilers in the role of Madge Rountree.
--- This was the last of the twelve films which starred Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell as a 'screen couple'.
--- Dick Foran, who would eventually make quite a few westerns and early TV shows, made his film debut in this film.
--- Yep, that little girl you see for 4-5 seconds on the airplane is indeed Shirley Temple...she would make 'Little Miss Marker' in the same year, and go on to be...well, Shirley Temple. Of course, Ginger and Shirley would make one more film together ten years later, "'I'll Be Seeing You".
---Ginger would not make another movie for Fox until 8 years (and 21 films) later, in 1942's Roxie Hart.
--- Alternate titles kicked around before settling on COH were 'In Love With Life' and 'The World Is Ours'.
GingerFilm Ranking: #10 of 25. ...actually, a bit surprising to me it's this high...but, after analyzing the list thus far, the closest film she had made to this role, of 'significant detractor', was...her first, 'Young Man of Manhattan'. And although her character is much more likeable in that one, the role of Madge let Ginger swim in unfamiliar waters, character-wise...and I'd have to say she pulled it off... maybe the likeability of Gaynor, who is cute as all get-out, helps Ginger bring out the 'vampishness' of Madge to major effect. So, while not the Gingery goodness we are used to, this role is pretty important in Ginger's overall development and range, thus a fair ranking is in order.
After Twenty-Four Reviews:
#01 - Rafter Romance
#02 - Professional Sweetheart
#03 - 42nd Street
#04 - Flying Down to Rio
#05 - Twenty Million Sweethearts
#06 - Sitting Pretty
#07 - The Tenderfoot
#08 - The Tip-Off
#09 - Queen High
#10 - Change Of Heart
#11 - Young Man of Manhattan
#12 - You Said A Mouthful
#13 - Carnival Boat
#14 - A Shriek in the Night
#15 - The Thirteenth Guest
#16 - Don't Bet On Love
#17 - Chance at Heaven
#18 - Finishing School
#19 - Broadway Bad
#20 - Gold Diggers of 1933
#21 - The Sap From Syracuse
#22 - Suicide Fleet
#23 - Follow The Leader
#24 - Honor Among Lovers
#25 - Hat Check Girl***
*** - Not viewed or reviewed due to unavailability.
Up Next: Upperworld... ...well, if ya haven't seen this one, I'll try my best to keep the ending under wraps... but, it's probably gonna be tough to do a review without the whole plot being hashed out... OK - well, from my memory, this movie is a pretty good one, so, it might do fair...
Until then, as always...