Primrose Path (1940)

  • Directed by Gregory La Cava (of MY MAN GODFREY fame).
  • What a terrible living situation & family this seems to be! Prostitution, starvation, alcoholism…how dreadful!
  • Henry Travers (“Gramp”) is telling Ginger Rogers to get in his car so he can give her a ride somewhere – normally, I’d say this was a bad idea, but it’s Henry Travers, and he’s wearing a hat (and you can always trust an old man in a hat), so…
  • Oh hey, Joel McCrea! What’s knittin’, kitten? I haven’t seen you since THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD (1934)!
  • YES. He just called Henry Travers “Grandpappy.” Yessss!
  • Wow! Joel McCrea just taught us how to find clams on a beach! Make sure you’re below the high-water mark, then take a heavy rock & drop it. According to McCrea, “clams spit” and “that’s how you know where they are!”

(Something tells me it isn’t this easy in real life. I’ve never tried to clam before, though, so – who really knows?)

  • “Boy, I’ve seen some stubborn dames, but I ain’t never seen nothin’ like you. Don’t you ever open up?” — McCrea.

I feel ya, Ginger Rogers. I feel ya. If I had a dollar for every time a guy told me something like that…I’d have quite a few dollars, my friends. Believe me.

  • Oh my Jesus, Joel McCrea. You are endangering the life of this poor girl in your motorcycle & sidecar! That is not impressive, it is really fucking foolish. No wonder Ginger won’t open up to you! You’re a goddamn idiot!
  • BOLD MOVE, McCREA! He just up & kissed Ellie Mae (Ginger) while coasting down the road, like it was no big thing! Gotta say – I respect that decision. That took some balls.
  • I am perplexed by this Ellie Mae Goes To The Blue Bell To Shag Her A McCrea scene. She’s so creepily committed to this totally random guy, because he kissed her and “is tall.” Honey – don’t ever base a relationship on those two things. You’ll live to regret it.
  • …Did she just pass out? What the hell? She just passed out. For no reason.


  • Where do these people live? Why do the people at the beach speak Spanish?
  • So you’d think – based on the flow of the repartee at the diner – that Ellie Mae & Ed (McCrea) have been together for a good bit of time now…and yet the mother & grandmother are like ‘Oh yeah…haven’t seen her in the paper’s Death Notices, so like…whatevs! I’m sure she’s fine!’
  • It’s adorable how the entire diner of guys rises to Ellie Mae’s defense, even though they have no idea why she’s upset. Poor out-of-towner. He’s done got chased out of the Hamburger Shack.
  • Grandma’s got a mouth on her! She’s full of sass – and not in a good way.
  • So…I know Ellie Mae lied to McCrea to nab him, but him kissing Carmelita right there in front of Ellie Mae & everyone was pretty rotten.
  • Marjorie Rambeau is pretty damn good as Ma. So are the rest of the family members (Queenie Vassar as the Rotten Egg Grandma, Joan Carroll as Honeybell, & Miles Mander as Homer/Pa). Great ensemble cast. Nice work, you guys.

(Edit: In looking up Marjorie Rambeau’s name, I discovered that she got an Best Supporting Actress nomination for this. That’s awesome. Good for her!)

  • I find it hard to believe Smithy/Hawkins would give up his date/escort/hooker to McCrea so easily. He’s basically like, ‘Yeah, okay – you like this girl & say you used to be married to her…I’ll cheerily step aside for you – no problem, man!’
  • But, ultimately, I’m glad this movie turned out the way it did. Miscommunications put aside, outright lies forgiven – and McCrea forcibly & resolutely taking charge of this goddamn family of Ellie Mae’s. Good for him. (And good for them.)
  • It’s sad that Pa killed Ma (yes, I know it was an accident – but still, he did it) and that afterwards, he just carried on with his usual drunken ways. It almost feels like they tried to make the last scene (with him walking in the door McCrea’s just opened) comical in tone, and that seemed wrong. It was not funny, and the family members just rolling their eyes & being like, ‘Oh, Homer! We’ll ignore him.’ was disappointing.
  • All in all, a decent movie. Like I said before – great ensemble cast (for which I’m sure Gregory La Cava deserves a lot of credit).

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