Movie Mirrors Index

The Major and the Minor

(1942 b 100')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A woman returning home from New York pretends to be twelve to get a half fare and falls in love with a Major teaching at a military school.

Susan Applegate (Ginger Rogers) calls on Mr. Osborne (Robert Benchley) to give him a scalp massage and decides to leave New York. She does not have enough for the fare home; so she dresses as a child and pays a man to buy her a half-fare. Train conductors question her about her age. They catch her smoking and chase her. Susan hides in the compartment of Major Philip Kirby (Ray Milland), who lets her sleep in the lower berth. During a thunder storm he comforts her. The train stops because of a flooded bridge. Philip goes to get breakfast. Pamela Hill (Rita Johnson) comes aboard to see Philip and finds Susan in bed. Pamela jealously overturns her fiancé's breakfast, and her father sees Philip with Susan.

Philip takes Susan to the military school and says she is twelve. Susan stays with Pamela in the room of her sister Lucy Hill (Diana Lynn), who realizes Susan is older but does not tell Pamela. Lucy asks Susan to help free Philip from Pamela. Cadet Wigton (Raymond Roe) escorts Susan to the cafeteria. By a cannon Wigton explains tactics and kisses Susan. Cadet Osborne (Frankie Thomas) escorts Susan next. Philip tries to explain to Susan that she is attractive. Lucy steams open Pamela's letter and reads it to Susan about keeping Philip from being transferred. Susan goes to the switchboard and gets Wigton to go for a radio. She calls Washington, pretending to be Pamela talking to a general's wife to get Philip transferred to active service. Philip and others find Susan messed up their calls, and Wigton arrives with a radio.

Susan goes to a dance with fourteen cadets. Cadet Osborne asks his father for $2, and Osborne meets Susan. Philip gets a telegram from Washington he is transferred. Pamela asks Philip about their wedding but won't speed it up. Philip dances with Susan. Osborne scratches his head, remembers Susan, and tells Pamela. Susan arranges to meet Philip later. She tells Lucy it worked and changes to look older. Susan finds Pamela waiting for her. Pamela tells her to go away, or she will ruin Philip's career. Below her window Philip asks to see Susan in the morning. At home with her mother Susan watches moths attracted to a lamp until Will Duffy knocks out the lamp and leaves. Philip calls he is coming, and Susan acts as her mother. Philip says that Pamela married someone else. At the station Susan as herself tells Philip that she is going to marry a soldier and kisses him.

This rather unbelievable comedy with Freudian undertones carries the patriotic message that women should encourage their men to go off to war instead of trying to keep them at home for themselves.

Copyright © 2004 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index