28 February 2006 | blanche-2
Adorable comedy, adorable young stars
It's love at first sight for Peter (James Stewart) when he spots Francey (Ginger Rogers) in a dance hall in "Vivacious Lady," a 1938 comedy also starring Charles Coburn, Beulah Bondi and James Ellison. Stewart is a college professor, and the son of the university president. He's engaged to a drab young woman from a very good family. When he goes to a dance hall to get his cousin Keith (Ellison) so they make their train, he sees Ginger, whom his cousin is also attracted to. By the next day, Stewart and Rogers are married and on their way back to the college town to face the family.
However, facing the family isn't too easy. Peter's domineering father keeps ordering him around, his mother keeps getting faint from a weak heart whenever there's a conflict...and somehow, no one knows that Francey and Peter are married and think she's dating Keith. Then, in order to get her into the prom, they have to say she's a botany student. One of the best scenes occurs at the prom, when Francey and Peter's fiancé get into a horrific catfight outside of the dance just as Peter brings his father out in another attempt to announce he's married.
But the best scene takes place in the room Francey has rented. She has a temperamental Murphy bed, and Stewart does everything he can to bring it down - banging doors, drawers, stomping, hoping it will fall.
Stewart is delightful as a young man who has to decide on priorities, and Rogers is a great match for him. She is incredibly beautiful in this movie. Handsome James Ellison gives a wonderful performance as cousin Keith, and Coburn and Bondi are perfect as the parents.
A light movie, some great scenes, fantastic stars glowing with youth - you can't ask for more.