Fifth Avenue Girl

Fifth Avenue Girl (1939)

On the surface, Alfred Borden (Walter Connolly) might seem like he has it all. He runs his own business, he’s rich, and he lives in a beautiful home on 5th Avenue. In reality, his business is going through some difficulties, his wife Martha (Verree Teasdale) isn’t faithful, his son Tim (Tim Holt) is too busy partying to be of any help at the office, and Katherine (Kathryn Adams) is too wrapped up in her own world to pay attention to her father. Alfred’s family doesn’t even remember his birthday.

Rather than spend his birthday at home with his servants, he heads over to the park, where he meets Mary Grey (Ginger Rogers), who happens to need a job. He invites her to join him for dinner at a swanky restaurant and the two have a swell time drinking and dancing all night. Martha and her boyfriend are at the same restaurant that night and when she sees Alfred cavorting with Mary, he suddenly becomes a lot more interesting to her.

The next day, Alfred realizes that being seen with Mary got him more attention from his family than he’s gotten in a long time. He hires Mary to pretend to be his girlfriend and the two of them pretend to go out every night. Alfred’s family is dismayed by his behavior and tries to get Mary out of the picture. Although Tim loathes Mary at first, it isn’t long before he starts to fall in love with her while Martha is falling in love with her husband all over again.

5th Avenue Girl may not be a musical, but it is a good representation of a lot of other reasons why I love Ginger Rogers. She was so good at playing these smart, funny, likable characters and that’s exactly what she does here; although a bit more deadpan than usual. She has great co-stars in Walter Connolly and Verree Teasdale, but I wasn’t too wild about Tim Holt as Ginger’s love interest. The writing isn’t perfect, but it’s still strong enough of a movie to be well worth watching. I wasn’t wild about enough to call it an underrated gem, but it’s certainly not a mediocre movie, either; it’s somewhere between those two levels.

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