Ginger (1935) Poster


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Heartwarming and quite charming....
MartinHafer7 September 2016
Jane Withers was a wonderful child actress and Ms. Withers just celebrated her 90th birthday this year! She was Twentieth Century Fox's counterpoint to their super-successful Shirley Temple. While Shirley was sugary sweet and delightful, Jane played characters who could be bratty, very spunky and earthlier than Shirley ever played. And, in a brilliant move, the studio put them together in BRIGHT of the best movies of Temple's career. But Withers also made quite a few films of her own and "Ginger" is one of her best--and every bit as enjoyable as the Temple films.

When the film begins, you learn that Ginger (Withers) is an orphan who lives with her uncle, Rex Whittington...a drunk has-been actor. While he does love her, he clearly cannot stop drinking and stay out of trouble. During one of his benders, he's arrested and poor Ginger is left to fend for herself. During this time, Ginger steals a bunch of small things as this little girl has the audacious plan of raising money to get him out of jail this way! When she is caught, however, the authorities get involved and she's taken home to live with Mrs. Parker and her family. The problem is that Mrs. Parker is incredibly intent on being sophisticated and a paragon of society...and there just isn't a lot of room for fun in this household. Her son, Hamilton (played wonderfully by Jackie Searl), is a prissy kid and at first gets along poorly with Ginger. However, through the course of the film, Ginger is able to not only win him over but Mr. Parker as well. But what about Mrs. Parker and the all-too-proper home? And, what of poor Uncle Rex?! Can Ginger and Mr. Parker possibly do anything to take care of these problems?

This is a schmaltzy family film...I admit it. But Withers' performance and the script so well written that I didn't mind in the least. I loved every minute of the film and can't see why you wouldn't as well...unless, of course, you are an old curmudgeon. I may be old...but not quite a curmudgeon!
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Who Couldn't Love Jane Withers!!!
kidboots18 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
When other studios were searching the world to find another Shirley Temple (Warner Brothers went as far as South Africa to find Sybil Jason) Fox not only had the original they also had the only other child star who even came close to Shirley's popularity at the time - Jane Withers. She had dark curls and snapping black eyes and when she was given a chance to make good as Joy Smithers, the little brat who made Shirley's life miserable in "Bright Eyes", she came through with flying colours. Critics enthused about her performance and Fox immediately gave her star billing in "Ginger" and teamed her with her male counterpart Jackie Searl.

Shirley Temple may have got Lionel Barrymore as her grandfather in "The Little Colonel" but Jane Withers could boast of distinguished character actor O. P. Heggie, who plays her uncle, Rexford Whittington, an old Shakespearian actor debilitated by alcohol. Ginger is very protective of her uncle and it is a full time job - he carries his book of press clippings around where ever he goes and has just rejected a job as a sword carrier in that lowest of low professions - moving pictures!!! When he is arrested for creating a disturbance, Ginger finds herself in hot water as well - she had hoped that by stealing she could be put in prison with her uncle but the judge has other ideas. He puts her in the care of a daffy do-gooder who is writing a book called "Are Children Really Human"!!! Of course her own little boy, Hamilton (Jackie Searl) is perfect in her eyes - he even plays the harp!!! The only odd man out is the father, who longs for a normal family and Ginger is like a breath of fresh air, even with a make over that includes polished nails and bouncing ringlets. Her slang doesn't change though and it is marvelous - "skip it", "how is the grub in this joint", "I'm gonna blow", "the big lug", "will you put up the dough", "thirty smackers" and the old favourite "for crying out loud" - the vernacular rolls off Jane's tongue as though she has been saying it all her life.

Of course being a Jane Wither's movie there is a big emotional scene - which occurs when Rexford is released from prison but realises Ginger could benefit more from living in such a grand house than by the scanty existence he could provide and so he creeps away only to be run over, resulting in amnesia. But he always remembers the light of his life - Ginger.

In the year that passes a big change has come over the Parker residence. Hamilton, now known by his nickname "Blubber", has taken up Ginger's free and easy way of speaking - even the butler refers to food as "grub"!! and the father couldn't be happier, especially when "Blubber" has an altercation with a street kid trying to steal Ginger's dog and the street kid comes off second best!! By the movie's end Ginger is reunited with her uncle and manages to teach the society matron a lesson in what makes a real child.

Initially Fox did try to find vehicles that suited her peppy personality (in this movie she even imitates Zasu Pitts and Greta Garbo and she is spot on) but after a couple of years she was filming the scripts Shirley's mother had rejected - but that was alright as Jane added her spunk and vivacity to some otherwise less than sparkling movies - movies that Shirley would not have been able to save.
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Jane withers takes on the title of bright eyes.
mark.waltz9 May 2020
Warning: Spoilers
In her first leading role, Jane Withers goes from brat to heroine, a far cry from her role in the Shirley Temple tear-jerker "Bright Eyes" (where she took great pleasure in bullying America's favorite movie star), and wins complete sympathy without being overly maudlin. As an orphan, she's been staying with a surrogate uncle (O.P. Heggie), an aging Shakespearean actor who hasn't been able to find work in years. because of his inability to properly take care of her, child protective services steps in and gives him a warning, ultimately taking her away when he is unjustifiable arrested. weather is goes to stay with the well-meaning but uppity Katherine Alexander, an author of children rearing books (who knows absolutely nothing about taking care of children), and finds great support from Alexander's neglected husband, Walter Woolf King and their pampered but neglected son, Jackie Searle. Withers and King create a bond, but she misses her uncle greatly so she goes out to find him, learning that he has decided to leave her with Alexander and King should be raised in comfort.

Along with character actor veterans Mary Gordon and Charles Lane, a solid cast helps this enjoyable family film rise above potential sappiness that would have made it unbearable. Withers cakes this story in places that Shirley Temple would have not gone to, and because of that the film is greatly improved upon. it's nice to see King playing a nice character, having just played the villain in "A Night at the Opera", and in spite of her character's flaws, Alexander makes her character understandable. It's obvious that she is going to have to wake up, and the way where there's teaches her the truth about children is quite an enjoyable process to watch. Her inquiry earlier of "Are children human?" Is one of the most amusing lines in the film. I have now seen most of Jane withers films, and I believe that this one is the best.
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Ginger review
JoeytheBrit20 April 2020
A plucky young girl struggles to adapt to live with the wealthy foster family with whom she must stay while her impoverished uncle is in jail. Diverting enough comedy-drama held together by a winning performance from Jane Withers; she might not have been as cute as Shirley Temple, but she was a far better actor - and even delivers a couple of bang-on impersonations in this one.
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Jane Withers Takes Center Stage
boblipton30 November 2017
Jane Wither's first starring vehicle has her living on 9th Avenue with her guardian, O.P.Heggie, a washed-up Shakespearean actor. When he gets into a fight and sentenced to thirty days in jail, Park Avenue dame Katherine Alexander, who is writing a book she intends to call ARE CHILDREN PEOPLE, decides to take her home to see if a good environment can save her --it's already turned her son, Jackie Searle, into one of those milquetoast horrors that Our Gang warned us against. Fortunately, Ginger finds an ally in the house's paterfamilias, Walter Woolf King.

It's soapy and sappy and decently done. Clearly the folks at the rapidly disintegrating Fox --- soon to be taken over by Darryl Zanuck's 20th Century -- hoped for another Shirley Temple. Miss Withers clearly was not Shirley -- she was tough and pugnacious and her vehicles were clearly B movies. That was all right, since Fox' B division had plenty of talent grown used to doing things on the cheap. Her movies were lively and popular and her career prospered in parallel to Miss Temple's for another seven years.

Happily, Miss Withers is still with us in her nineties and can be seen from time to time. Here's hoping more of her movies can be made available!
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