Favorite things about… Vivacious Lady (1938)

(Image via Hollywood Revue)

(Image via Hollywood Revue)

The favorite film:
Vivacious Lady (1938), a delightful romantic comedy directed by George Stevens

The synopsis:
Associate professor Peter Morgan heads from Old Sharon to Manhattan to track down his party-lovin’ cousin, Keith, and bring him home. Peter gets more than he bargains for in the big city when he finds Keith in a nightclub, and then swiftly falls in love with the club’s singer, Francey. The two marry after a single day, and Peter isn’t quite sure how to break the news of his surprise vows to his university-president father after he and his bride return to Old Sharon.

The cast:
James Stewart as Peter Morgan
Ginger Rogers as Francey
James Ellison as Keith
Beulah Bondi as Mrs. Morgan
Charles Coburn as Mr. Morgan
Frances Mercer as Helen

Fun facts:

  • Jimmy Stewart was almost replaced with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in the role of Peter Morgan due to an unexpected illness and scheduling issues. Fairbanks had also competed with James Ellison for the role of Keith. (AFI)
  • Though Stewart was almost replaced, director George Stevens was very happy with his performance, when all was said and done. (TCMDb)
  • Donald Crisp and Fay Bainter were originally meant to play Peter’s parents. (TCMDb)
  • Beulah Bondi played Jimmy Stewart’s mother in four different films, and in one TV show! (IMDb)
  • Ginger Rogers’ legs were padded for protection during the fight scene, as the studio was worried she would be injured and unable to dance for her next film. (Ginger: My Story by Ginger Rogers)
  • In her autobiography, Ginger Rogers notes that she had a wonderful time making this film, and thought George Stevens was a brilliant comedic director. (Ginger: My Story by Ginger Rogers)
  • Nominated for two Academy Awards — Best Cinematography and Best Sound (TCMDb)
(Image via Vivian Talks Ginger Rogers)

(Image via Vivian Talks Ginger Rogers)

Favorite things/quotes:

  • Keith: “You haven’t any monopoly on seriousness!”
  • Peter so distracted by Francey the first time he sees her perform that he knocks over a champagne cart!
  • Peter: “I’m a professor.”
    Francey: “Oooooh…”
    Peter: “Well, not quite. An associate professor.”
    Francey: *Politely nods*
  • The couple making out in the car that passes Peter and Francey
  • Francey: “I don’t think you can control anything!” …And then she smooches Peter.
  • Keith’s face when he realizes just who Peter married
  • Peter: “Well, I’ve always tried to be a strong man, in a conservative sort of way.”
  • Keith: “Really, Mrs. Jones, your baby’s no trouble at all! She can stay here as long as she wants to!”
  • Helen: “I think I’ll start breaking you of any high-handedness you’ve inherited from  your father.”
  • Helen: “I wonder if you could stand the shock of my saying that I dislike you intensely.”
  • Helen and Francey playing WWE Divas on the garden patio
  • Francey’s laugh when Peter and his father catch her wrestling with Helen
  • The boathouse full of young couples mackin’ on each other (Peter’s students!)
  • “Walter” the Murphy bed
  • Francey asking Peter to sign a book he didn’t write
  • Francey’s “cold” voice
  • Martha’s fake heart trouble
  • Mr. Morgan walking in on Martha’s dance lesson from Francey and Keith
  • Peter: “It’s as good a name-blackener as any.”
  • Drunk Peter emerging from the chemical closet after sounds of glass breaking
  • Drunk Peter: “YYYYYYIPPIEEEEE!”
  • The door swinging open to reveal knocked-out Keith and several toppled shelves
  • The return of “Walter” on the train, followed by that “QUIET” sign!
(Image via True Classics)

(Image via True Classics)

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