Jeanne Crain

Margie (1946)

Margie PosterWhile Margie (Jeanne Crain) and her teenage daughter Joyce are looking for something in the attic, Joyce gets a kick out of finding some of Margie’s things from when she was a teenager and asks Margie what she was like when she was young.  Margie thinks back to 1928 at a time when all the girls at her school, including Margie, were fawning over Ralph Fontayne (Glenn Langan), the handsome new French teacher.

At the time, Margie was living with her grandmother (Esther Dale) right next door to her friend Marybelle (Barbara Lawrence).  One day, just as Margie is about to get a ride home with Marybelle and her boyfriend, the elastic on her bloomers breaks and, not wanting Marybelle’s boyfriend to find out, Margie ducks into the school library to fix it.  While hiding in the stacks, she meets none other than Mr. Fontayne.

But despite their awkward first encounter, Mr. Fontayne is quite fond of Margie and goes out of his way  to compliment her when she does well on assignments, which makes her the envy of the other girls in school.  One night, Margie goes ice skating with some of her classmates and unfortunately, that elastic in her bloomers breaks again.  She falls and sprains her ankle trying to fix it and everyone, including Mr. Fontayne, rushes to see if she’s okay.  Mr. Fontayne sees her fallen bloomers and discreetly takes them so nobody else will see.  Later that night, he visits Margie at home and to return her bloomers.

Just before the prom, Margie’s boyfriend Roy (Alan Young) gets sick and can’t bring her.  Margie’s grandmother helps by arranging for Margie’s father to take her to the dance and she tells Margie she will have a surprise escort.  So when Mr. Fontayne stops by her house just before the dance, Margie is thrilled.  However, he’s only there to drop off a grade.  He’s taking the school librarian to the dance instead, but he says he’d like to take Margie to the next dance.  Although Margie is disappointed, she’s happy to see her father.

Margie has a wonderful time at the prom and lots of guys, including Mr. Fontayne, are eager to dance with her.  But once again, Margie has problems with her bloomers.  This time, she tries to hide it by pretending to faint and, of course, Mr. Fontayne comes to help again.  Cutting back to modern day, Margie and Joyce are in the attic having a good laugh at the story and it turns out Margie went on to marry Mr. Fontayne.

Chris HansenOh, dear.  Talk about your movies that did not age well.  I’m sure audiences found Margie very charming when it was released in 1946.  From my 2013 perspective, though, it’s a movie about an inappropriate relationship disguised as a cute movie.  It’s just hard for me to see it as anything other than a movie about a teenage girl with a harmless crush on an adult teacher with major boundary issues.

If they tried to remake Margie today, no doubt it would feature a special cameo appearance by Chris Hansen from To Catch a Predator, emerging from behind a corner to ask Mr. Fontayne to have a seat.  I really wish I could have been able to see Margie for the sweet, harmless, wholesome movie it was intended to be, but I can’t.

What’s on TCM: January 2011

Welcome to 2011!  This is a little bit of a slow month for me, but there’s still plenty of great stuff to be seen.  Every Tuesday night and Wednesday daytime is a salute to Hal Roach studios so that means tons of Our Gang and Laurel and Hardy shorts, plus lots of other various short films and some features, too.  Peter Sellers is the star of the month, so lots of fun movies come along with that.  Even though there are always quite a few birthday tributes on TCM every month, but they’re not usually as notable as Luise Rainer’s.  She’ll be turning 101 on January 12 so there’s a whole night of her movies to look forward to.  Now, onto my picks for the month:


A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

One Saturday morning, Deborah Bishop (Jeanne Crain), Lora Mae Hollingsway (Linda Darnell), and Rita Phipps (Ann Sothern), get together to take a bunch of children on a boat trip and a picnic.  Only problem is, there was supposed to be a fourth woman with them, Addie Ross (played by a never-seen, only heard, Celeste Holm).  Just before Deborah, Lora, and Rita leave on the boat, a messenger delivers a letter from Addie in which she says that she has run off with one of their husbands, but doesn’t say which one.  As the day progresses, each woman thinks back to an incident that could have made their husband want to leave them and how Addie Ross plays into each scenario.