- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- kevin sellers
First half of this film is wonderful, with an acute examination of class and social conflict in a small, Steinbeckian town on what looks to be California's central coast, as well as a pre code feel even though it was made in 1940. Second half drags a bit with melodrama (i.e. Marjorie Rambeau's maudlin deathbed scene) and a too sudden character shift on the part of Joel Mc Rae who makes the abrupt decision to abandon his wife just because her family is slatternly, a move that makes his character look like a total, priggish ass which is certainly not how he is portrayed in the rest of the film. However, the acting is mostly excellent, especially Ginger Rogers, who perfectly captures her character's mixture of shame and love for her promiscuous mother and drunken father as well as her manipulation and vulnerability vis a vis her husband. Certainly not an easy role and I'm kinda surprised Rogers did not get at least an Oscar nomination for it. Also good are Queenie Vassar as the mother of all nasty grandmothers, Marjorie Rambeau(except in the aforesaid death sequence) as the fun loving yet morally challenged mom and Joan Carrol as Rogers' bratty kid sister. As for Mc Rae I agree with Susanne Cavendish (stop the presses!) that he's a bit of a stick. Also good is the snappy intelligent screenplay by Alan Scott and director Gregory La Cava. However, La Cava's usual tight, seamless pacing deserts him in the second half. So let's give it a B plus.
- Larry Mischel
I respect Leonard Maltin's opinion but I feel his 2.5 rating on Primrose Path is suspect. Primrose Path was groundbreaking at the time of it's release and remains incredibly powerful. Superb cast, magnificent and gritty screenplay, wonderful cinematography. FOUR STARS in my book! And Henry Travers: an icon! Joel,Ginger,Margorie and Henry. Flawless.
Thumbs up for Primrose Path
- Susanne Cavendish
Ellie May's not the youngest, as TCM says in its overview. I thought Ginger Rogers was marvelous. I had forgotten how beautiful she is. The movie was bit too concise, but it was how movies were made, then. Ellie May's mother was the most redeeming character in the family, next to Ellie May. I expected the plot to reveal the father was not educated, his diploma a fraud, but I'll leave it how it ended. McCrea was so-so. I always thought age brought him the credibility he never possessed as a younger actor, like in Ride the High Country. Foreign Correspondent may have been an exception to his younger years, or maybe I haven't appreciated his movies from the early years. It's worth seeing, just to drink in Ginger in a dramatic role. I felt a sisterly kinship!
An Absolutely Wonderful Film
This is truly an Oscar worthy film.The subject of the family women having to resort to prostitution to pay the bills has turned noses up at this great movie.All performances are outstanding!Hope TCM plays it again,and soon!
Not A Bad Performance In The Entire Cast
Well worth waiting for!Joel McCrea showed how much better I always thought he was,far more deserving of high praise than always bored looking Gary Cooper.Ginger really is Oscar-worthy here,too.Joan Carroll is the hands down scene stealer in the family that're all scene stealers.Hope it plays again really soon!
This is the kind of film that made Hollywood a success. The lack of such films, has begun to end US dominance in films world wide. Ginger Rogers and McRae, in the early parts of their careers, spark together in an unlikely romance. With no graphic scenes, the viewer senses the love generated between the two. Gordon plays a working class gas station and short order clerk. His charisma with the local cannery female workers is quite evident. But he is drawn to Rogers with the initial belief she is someone who comes from a "good" family. She does not. Her father is an alcoholic. His failure as a scholar, provider, and head of the family results in his wife earning funds for her family becomes a short term mistress for men. Neither Rogers nor her mother want this life to become hers. Rogers's character turns from innocent pre teen into a young woman who falls instantly in love with McRae. After an short Honeymoon period, the facts of Rogers family come to light, they break up, and Rogers decides to take up where her Mother left off, after being killed accidently by her Father. The film could have broken down into a clich, but didn't because the man who was use Rogers as part time mistress, sees what is happening to a young couple, and in the end, plays Romeo and brings them together.
What a pleasant surprise!
Excellent movie, a must see if you're a fan of Ginger Rogers! This movie shows the versatility of Rogers. Interesting plot and keeps you guessing.
A movie that I was not sure I would like, but it had Ginger Rogers, so I put the movie on. WOW!!! This movie had me on the edge of my seat and was well scripted. I truely hope TCM will play this movie again because I had to miss the ending! I want to see what happens.
I read the quick review on the website, and it didn't sound interesting to me, but I flipped it on anyways while doing some other things, and I quickly forgot completely about those other things! It was beautifully done, the acting was great, many tense moments that had me on the edge of my chair -- I really hope that this comes to DVD or gets aired again soon. I want to see it again, and it only just now ended!
Mothers & Daughters
- Jarrod McDonald
Apparently, the novel upon which the story was based centered on the mother figure (played by Marjorie Rambeau on film). The broadway play and RKO release instead emphasized the oldest daughter and her desire to break from the cycle of poverty and prostitution faced by the women of her family. As such, Ginger Rogers is truly great in this film, but it is Rambeau who is most outstanding as a woman whose choices catch up to her in dramatic fashion. The scenes in the beginning, which serve to illustrate the romance between the daughter (Rogers) and her new husband (Joel McCrea) are charming, but the story really kicks into gear when the mother and her unsavory friends show up at the diner operated by the new son-in-law. For fans of Marjorie Rambeau, I suggest looking at 1930's 'Min & Bill,' for which Marie Dressler won the Academy Award. Again, as in this picture, Rambeau plays a destitute mother forced into sin to provide for her daughter. But maybe what makes 'Primrose Path' stand apart is the inclusion of Henry Travers' Gramps character. He is the one who continually reminds the daughter, those in her orbit and the audience too that we shouldn't always be judged by our background and family circumstances.
Primrose Path (1940)
Good performances, especially Marjorie Rambeau and Queenie Vassar. The fine script make this classic a winner. Interesting throughout, solid entertainment.
Please reschedule Primrose Path soon
I was, and still am, a fan of Richard Widmark, and I'm glad you did a tribute to him. However, I am a huge fan of Ginger Rogers. I don't believe I've ever seen this movie before and I was really looking forward to it. I was so very disappointed when it was cancelled. Please reschedule this movie very soon. Thank you
I am disapointed Primrose Path was cancelled
- Henry A.
Please reschedule Primrose Path soon. I was anxious to see it on April 4th. I like Richard Widmark, but I love Ginger Rogers.
Was Looking Forward to Primrose Path
I'm happy that you're paying tribute to Richard Widmark, but please reschedule Primrose Path very soon!
I really wanted to see this movie...
I so hope you will air this movie since it was cancelled for April 4th. I am a Joel McCrea and Ginger Rogers fan and have never seen this film. Please schedule it!Thank you, TCM.
Please air it again!!!
I was so planning on watching this movie on Apr. 4th but I just found out that the schedule has changed because of Richard Widmark's death. Well, may he R.I.P. but I really wanted to watch this movie. I'm a big fan of Ginger Rogers and I think I haven't seen this movie yet. So please air it again and realease it on DVD. Thanks very much TMC!
Ginger at her best.
I saw this on television one night while babysitting when I was 11 or 12. I am now going on 60 and have never forgotten this movie for some reason. I have looked for it off and on for years to no avail. It is a really good movie - well acted. We need to see this one again. Thanks
- Sally Maze
I saw this some years ago on Television and thought it utterly charming, but had to work a bit to find the title, "Primrose Path". If it has never been released on DVD, it explains why I have not found it in the Netflix lists. Thank you for providing a thorough listing, and for TCM, which I watch probably too much!!