The Major and the Minor 1942

major00major01

Paramount Pictures

Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland star in Billy Wilder’s directing debut.

Fed up with life in New York City, 20-something Susan Applegate (played by Ginger Rogers), decides to head home to little Stevenson, Iowa.  Her journey begins at NYC’s Grand Central Station but she discovers she doesn’t have enough money for the fare home.  Undaunted, she transforms herself into “Sue-Sue”, an 11 year old, going on 12 — and supposedly eligible for the railroad’s half price ticket.  Hijinks ensue as she attempts to convince the skeptical conductors of her youth.

major02

With Grand Central Station as a misty backdrop, Ginger Rogers heads downstairs to buy her ticket back to Stevenson, Iowa.

Interestingly, (maybe they won’t notice), while all the railroad personnel are in NYC Railroad uniforms, exteriors of the trains are either Pennsy streamlined K4 locomotives or SP Railroad passenger equipment.  Still, Ginger Rogers is fun to watch slipping in and out of character and this film has a good dose of life on a train, 1940’s style.  Let’s check it out.

major04major05

Nice view of NYC coach tickets cage; Ticket clerk gives Ginger the bad news that she doesn’t have enough money.

major06

Ginger sasses the clerk about the unforseen price increase to no avail.  Note the balloon-toting waif behind her.

major07major08

Exit Susan, Enter Sue-Sue

major11major12

Nice shot with New Haven ticket windows and newsstand.  Sue-Sue has her eye on that balloon;  Now balloon-equipped, she recruits a shyster to pose as her “Daddy” (played by Tom Dugan) to buy the half fare.

major13major14

Sue-Sue’s “Daddy” buys her the ticket — then pockets the rest of her money;  As the NYC conductor checks her ticket, Sue-Sue says goodbye to “Daddy”….before kicking him in the shins.

major15major16

Beautiful shot of a streamlined Pennsy K4 charging out of, what appears to be Chicago;  Sue-Sue nervously “squeeking” her balloon, singing a children’s song, and annoying the hell out of the chap in the next seat (who eventually pops her balloon).

major18major20

Scowling NYC & Pullman conductors making their way down the aisle.  Sue-Sue trying to convince the brace of conductors that she really is 11.

major22major21

Having successfully run the gauntlet, Sue-Sue enjoys browsing thru her sleeping seatmate’s copy of “Esquire” (a Men’s magazine); Another shot of a streamlined Pennsy K4 flashing under a position light signal bridge.

major24major26

Sue-Sue steps out on the observation platform for a smoke, only to be caught by the conductors;  Tipping over cigarette stands (nice view of car interior), Sue-Sue makes a break for it.

major27major30

Eluding the conductors by stepping into a sleeper bedroom, Sue-Sue tries to wave off her cigarette-breath as she meets Major Kirby (played by Ray Milland); Major Kirby believes Sue-Sue’s story and gallantly sets up an upper berth for himself.

major34major36

Nice shot of an SP depot labeled “High Creek” along with a bell-equipped, candy striped crossbuck; long consist of mud-splattered Southern Pacific heavyweight equipment.  The train is stopped somewhere in Indiana due to a washout ahead.

major37major42

Interior shot of Pullman bedroom; Close up of Pullman blanket labeled either “-S-17-” or “-8-17-“.

– most of movie left off here –

major50major56

Detail shot of the Operator’s bay window of the brick “Stevenson, Iowa” depot;  Major Kirby and Susan Applegate at the depot – note the Train Schedule board on the wall.

Summary:  Billy Wilder’s first directing effort turned out to be a very enjoyable little screwball comedy.  With a decent amount of railroad action and a good story throughout, this obscure train movie is well worth an evening’s viewing.  Lindsay says, “Crack a beer, fire up the popcorn and give it a look-see!”

Here’s what IMDb has to say about The Major and the Minor:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035019/

If you have ANY information about this movie, please contact me at:
Lindsay.Korst@gmail.com.

THE END

Advertisements

About Lindsay Korst

Webmaster, Blogmaster, Ferroequinologist - Lindsay Korst works part-time for a nationwide home improvement center after a 20+ year career supporting computer users. A resident of the Seattle area since 1976, he has had a life-long interest in railroads, particularly those in the Pacific Northwest. He is an enthusiastic participant in the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. He and his wife reside in Redmond, Washington.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s