Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mid Week Matinee: The French have a word for it

When I get the flu, I multi-task – watch TV and flip through a mental catalogue of fatal diseases.

Yesterday, battling a near-death experience, one movie drop-kicked me right past the C’s. It’s called The Major and the Minor, filmed sometime in the 1940s, directed and written by Billy Wilder.

You see, Ginger Rogers is fed up with New York and wants to return home to the mid west. But she’s short on train fare. So she dresses up as a 12-year old girl to buy a half-priced ticket. Fast forward through a half dozen improbabilities, and she ends up in the sleeper car of a middle-aged male stranger (Ray Milland). They bunk in separate berths for the night, but he briefly crawls into bed with her during a thunder storm. The next day he tells her to call him Uncle Phillip.

All very innocent(sort of),as Ginger looks like a 35-year old cocktail waitress holding a balloon. Still, don’t expect a Disney remake.

When it comes to weird mid-century sexual implications, I prefer You Never Can Tell. A german shepherd, owned by a young beautiful secretary, is knocked off by a bad guy and returns to earth as a human, a private investigator. Blah, blah, blah, the secretary and the investigator fall in love. The story skirts the issue of, well, you know, by unveiling at the 11th hour the secretary actually comes from a long line of parrots (on her father’s side). So it’s not a dog and woman, it’s a dog and a bird. Or something like that.

Sometimes it’s better not to think too much. I found a clip on youtube. Dick Powell is the reincarnated dog, the assistant a racehorse, and Miss Hathaway his former owner. The movie is no longer available, even on Netflix. I don’t know why; maybe someone thought too much.


  1. Boy, Billy Wilder really had it in for Ray Milland. A psuedo-pedophile in this and just a few years later a full blown alcoholic in "Lost Weekend."

    Hope you're feeling better.

    WV - sumst

  2. Hah! You know, I think The Major and the Minor shocked me back to life. I was fine this morning, thank you.

    WV: Glimbstit

  3. Oh, well, a dog and a bird. Of course, a happy ending.

    Glad to hear you're better.

  4. Well, I have to say that I really like William Powell, so I'm willing to go with this.

  5. I don't think movie and TV plots have evolved that much over the years, just the extent to which they allow the actors to "move" the plot along. For myselves, we like to use our imagination.

    Also, I am highly indignant whenever I am flu impaired. Ditto for colds. I think you should channel Bette Davis maybe. She was feisty! Feel better soon, KB.

    wv droseect
    I was very droseect about the glimbstit.

  6. not to be confused with "French exit"

  7. I never really thought about it when I saw it, but at this moment it sounds pretty strange...

    The other movie, I don't think I've heard of.
    Hope you are having a good week!

  8. I'm so stupid - what's the word the French have? Boy, you sure watch some obscure stuff when you're ill, but we get to benefit. I like the clip - bird hat, hint hint. Rex Shepherd name in background, hint hint hint. Why don't we wear clothes like that any more? So feminine!

  9. Is the French word you're thinking of dingue (crazy)? These movies sound a little dingue to me.

  10. Are these the movies you were suggesting for me? ;D

    Hope you're feeling better!

  11. Margaret, different Powell, but equally good.

    Paula, You're right, but I would have liked to have heard this story pitch.

    PA, I wonder if the French have a word for that.

    Bellis, did you seem him pass the fire hydrant?

    Katie, yes, dingue will do. Something else weird, The Major and the Minor was made under the Hayes code, and even a husband and wife had to be shown in twin beds. But if the hero thought the woman was a 12 year old girl, apparently sharing the same real estate was AOK.

    Kaori, I'm going to choose something far less corrupting for you.

  12. I never liked Ray after I saw Dial M For Murder. Bad man.

    Sorry about La Grippe. Hope your better.

  13. I think I'd like to hear the pitch for any Billy Wilder movie. Some like it hot, Sunset Blvd...


  14. If you hadn't posted the YouTube video, I would have suspected you were overdoing it with the NyQuil, Karin. Wow. That was kind of like Ghost Whisperer Meets Dog Whisperer. Glad you're feeling better. Now put down the remote.

  15. That is one wacky clip. I love the secretary/horse running beside the bus.

  16. I haven't thought of a clever comment, but this is a fun entry. Magical realism, for lack of a better term?

  17. Totally creepy, I must chime in. Never liked Ray M. - never will now.
    If I didn't know better, I'd say you were hallucinating with fever?