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MARGIE (1946) Jeanne Crain


RupertAlistair
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I am currently reading a book about Darryl Zanuck. This film, MARGIE, is one of many movies he made with sentimental, nostalgic themes. He had a shrewd sense of marketing and knew that people wanted to see images on screen that evoked earlier times and memories.

 

So, keeping in mind that this was nostalgia in the mid-40s...what does that make it now, 65 years later...?

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I liked the movie a lot. Henry King did a good job directing. The lighting was more than the standard wash you usually get with movies of this sort, shadows, darkness, silhouettes. It heightens the charm of the characters, by contrast. Jeanne Crain was fine in portraying the convulsions of a ingenuous teenager, though she definately was not a high-school girl.

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I noticed the cinematography too, thought the scenes in her bedroom seemed kinda dark, but realistic. I liked that old house, and the snow looked real; IMDB says it was filmed in Reno, NV.I liked all the old period tunes they played. But come on - she dropped her drawers three times! Sheesh - get a needle and thread and fix your elastic, or buy a new pair of panties!

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For those who like MARGIE, I suggest looking at the earlier 20th Century Fox film GIRLS' DORMITORY. It is on DVD and can be found at Netflix.

 

MARGIE uses many story elements from the earlier film and while not a remake per se, it is definitely a reworking of the earlier plot with bits of nostalgia thrown in. In the first film, Herbert Marshall was the teacher and Simone Simon (in her first American film) was the young girl. Tyrone Power played the Alan Young role of the boyfriend who does not stand a chance. It was one of Ty's first important roles at the studio.

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>Per Jezebel38:

>The snow was real

 

The snow was real. You can sometimes hear the crunch, and the cars sometimes do a slide on the ice. At first I thought is was shot in Boulder, Colorado. The buildings look like the older ones on the University of Colorado campus. But now that you mention it, and that I think of it, the mountains didn't look like the Flatirons.

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MARGIE was definitely filmed in Reno, including on the University of Nevada at Reno campus. You can find some nice stuff on the web about the filming including a clip about the premiere taking place there, attended by Barbara Lawrence and Alan Young.

 

Although Margie shares the GIRLS' DORMITORY theme of a student falling in love with her teacher, any similarity between the two films and stories really starts and ends there. That said, I agree that GIRLS' DORMITORY is an interesting film which is worth checking out. Tyrone Power plays Simone Simon's cousin, not boyfriend...

 

For those who may be interested, I take the liberty of sharing posts I have written on each film:

 

GIRLS' DORMITORY:

 

http://laurasmiscmusings.blogspot.com/2009/03/tonights-movie-girls-dormitory-1936.html

 

 

MARGIE:

 

 

http://www.laurasmiscmusings.blogspot.com/2011/12/repost-tonights-movie-margie-1946.html

 

 

 

(Edited for typo and to add links)

 

 

Edited by: MovieFanLaura on Dec 25, 2011 7:33 PM

 

Edited by: MovieFanLaura on Dec 25, 2011 7:34 PM

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>Although Margie shares the GIRLS' DORMITORY theme of a student falling in love with her teacher, any similarity between the two films and stories really starts and ends there. That said, I agree that GIRLS' DORMITORY is an interesting film which is worth checking out. Tyrone Power plays Simone Simon's cousin, not boyfriend...

 

Sorry MovieFanLaura, but according to the TCM database:

 

*Documents in the legal files imply that F. Hugh Herbert used elements from the screenplay by Gene Markey for Girls' Dormitory (1936), which was based on a play, Matura by Ladislas Fodor.*

 

Over at wiki, we have this blurb:

 

*In January 1945, 20th Century Fox paid $12,500 for a story written by Ruth McKenney and her husband Richard Bransten. For the screenplay adaption, F. Hugh Herbert used elements from the film Girls' Dormitory (1936).*

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I stand by my previous statement. Fox may have paid to reuse story rights from GIRLS' DORMITORY, but as I said previously, "Although Margie shares the GIRLS' DORMITORY theme of a student falling in love with her teacher, any similarity between the two films and stories really starts and ends there."

 

I've watched both films within the past couple of years and could discuss the differences at great length; it was not simply a matter of dressing up the story in the '20s period for MARGIE. One could throw in that along with falling in love with the teacher, both girls "grow up," but that could be said of countless films. In the end, I'm sure if folks would like to watch both movies, which are both interesting and worthwhile -- with MARGIE being the superior film -- they can make up their own minds about this issue. :)

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The Wild Party (1929) with Clara Bow and Fredric March

 

'Wild girls at a college pay more attention to parties than their classes. But when one party girl, Stella Ames, goes too far at a local bar and gets in trouble, her professor has to rescue her. Gossip linking the two escalates until Stella proves she is decent by shielding an innocent girl and winning the professor's respect"

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0020590/

 

TCM aired this about 15 years ago. I managed to record it then and I still have my tape and DVD.

 

A very good film. College girl falls in love with a professor. Both get thrown out of college, and run off with one another. This is a pre-code.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by3EBvqOxkU

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I think you misread what I posted. Fox did not pay to re-use the story for GIRLS' DORMITORY. They already owned it, so it was theirs to remake. What they did pay for was the additional material written by McKenney and Bransten, which gave them the new setting and the new characters. The Fox writers then combined these materials.

 

I would not say it was a direct remake. It was the reworking of a proven format with several variations (namely, making it more domestic and setting it in the 1920s). For fans enamored with MARGIE, who think it was an original story, it was not.

 

I am sure that MARGIE was meant as a vehicle to push Crain's career into the stratosphere, in much the same way the earlier film was meant to sell Simone Simon to the public. Because Crain seems a lot less exotic than Simon, a more wholesome approach was used.

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Your post suggests that Fox may have been plagiarizing when they adapted the 'original' material for GIRLS' DORMITORY, as several years had passed since the Paramount version with Bow.

 

Obviously, there are some stories (like the one about the sacrificing mother) that seemed popular with depression-era audiences and were endlessly recycled and repeated. The old chestnut about the girl having a crush on her teacher is one such example.

 

Except the interesting thing here is that it is more risque before the production code, then after the production code, it has a subversive happy ending pasted on to it. By the time we get to the mid-40s, the happy ending remains in-tact, but the earlier portions of the story have become more saccharine-like, even warm and overtly nostalgic.

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There is also the British film noir, with Leo Genn, Glynis Johns, and Gene Tierney, "PERSONAL AFFAIR", 1953, in which the beautiful young student falls in love with her mysterious professor. They are last seen talking together late one night at the old mill, and then she vanished. Local people are pretty sure that Genn murdered her and threw her body in the water. TCM aired this one earlier this year. Very good.

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I love Margie and movies like it that evoke a nostalgic feel (On Moonlight Bay, Meet Me In St. Louis, etc.) that I wasn't lucky enough to experience for myself. Years and years ago, AMC aired Margie and I hadn't seen it for a dog's age until HBO/Cinemax started showing it over a year ago with lots of repeats. It was such a treat!

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My 2 cents on *Margie* is that it's a very good film (it spawned a TV series) with an interesting point of view about the student and the teacher.

 

Easther Dale is excellent as the fiery grandma with the chain slung across her fireplace. And who knew that Conrad Janis was ever good looking?

 

 

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You're right, Fred. So by the time we reach the 1950s, the story has evolved into a film noir.

 

In the late 50s, it takes another turn...where deranged student John Saxon stalks Esther Williams in THE UNGUARDED MOMENT.

 

Then, in the 60s, a step further where a hoodlum student sexually assaults teacher Sandy Dennis in UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE.

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Sorry MovieFanLaura, but according to the TCM database:

 

*Documents in the legal files imply that F. Hugh Herbert used elements from the screenplay by Gene Markey for Girls' Dormitory (1936), which was based on a play, Matura by Ladislas Fodor.*

 

Actually it says that F. Hugh Herbert "May have used elements".

 

*Tyrone Power played the Alan Young role of the boyfriend who does not stand a chance. It was one of Ty's first important roles at the studio.*

 

This was Power's first role period at the studio (he had earlier gotten a role in a Alice Faye film SING BABY SING but Zanuck sbusequently replaced him with a "name"-Michael Whelan) , and it was a fairly unimportant bit at the end of the film; he was NOT the boyfriend. The movie WAS important for his career insofar that many women fans wrote to the studio enquiring who he was, since I believe he didn't rate a credit.

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*I am sure that MARGIE was meant as a vehicle to push Crain's career into the stratosphere, in much the same way the earlier film was meant to sell Simone Simon to the public. Because Crain seems a lot less exotic than Simon, a more wholesome approach was used.*

Yes, and it worked like a charm. Crain had been lucky at the studio from the beginning. She had been interviewed personally by Darryl Zanuck when he returned from war duty in 1943 (he made it a point to interview and familiarize himself with all the signees while he was away). She, along with June Haver, were chosen by him to star in Fox' 1944 version of Technicolor homespun americana, HOME IN INDIANA (the only prior credit for both was coincidentally a bit part in Alice Faye's THE GANG'S ALL HERE. He decided to build her as his Miss Wholesome, so popular in the 1940s (others that had that image included June Allyson and Donna Mills). Her next big break came in 1945, when Alice Faye refused the musical remake of STATE FAIR. This made Jeanne a star, and after one more supporting role in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, she became one of the studio's top stars of the late 40s-early 50s. She was often cast as a high school or college student, most notably IMO in MARGIE and AN APARTMENT FOR PEGGY (1948).

 

Eventually, she chafed at this typecasting, and begged for roles with more substance. She was rewarded with PINKY in 1949, for which she was nominated for Best Actress. However, she lost a number of roles due to her many pregnancies, both important (CHICKEN EVERY SUNDAY, ALL ABOUT EVE and I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN), and less so (YOU'RE MY EVERYTHING, MR. BELVEDERE GOES TO COLLEGE, MOTHER DIDN'T TELL ME). In the end, she was frustrated at the studio by not being loaned out, and by continually gettting cast as a gushing student (CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, TAKE GOOD CARE OF MY BABY, BELLES ON THEIR TOES). She finally asked to be released from her contract in 1954, started to freelance, and successfully remolded her image in a sexier manner.

 

Besides, Cornel Wilde, who turned it down, June Haver was to have been in this film. She didn't do it (don't remember why), giving Barbara Lawrence a break in one of her best roles.

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