Vivacious Lady (1938)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - May 13, 1938 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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With Ginger Rogers as star, the title Vivacious Lady certainly rings true. Indeed, for about half of the film's running title, the word "vivacious" could apply to the picture itself. Vivacious starts out as a raucous romantic comedy, and it's only as the film progresses that one becomes aware that the set-up -- that James Stewart has impulsively married Rogers after knowing her a scant amount of time and can't bring himself to tell his family or his fiancée -- is basically a one joke affair. Despite the best efforts of the cast and director George Stevens, that joke starts to wear thin after a while, which is a shame; if they had just found a way to keep things sprightly, Vivacious could have been a classic comedy, rather than one that starts out terribly strong and ends up, overall, only pretty good. Still, when it's at its best, Vivacious is a humdinger; Rogers and Stewart have great chemistry and both of them are delightful throughout. Charles Coburn is also a plus, as very definitely is Beulah Bondi in a terrific performance. And some scenes -- such as the cat fight between Rogers and Frances Mercer are simply priceless; director Stevens really displays his flair for building comedy in this sequence.