Vivacious Lady with Jimmy Stewart, Ginger Rogers, 1938

I have cold and while I’m recovering, I have started watching the movies I was saving for winter. A few days ago, I watched Vivacious Lady with Jimmy Stewart, Ginger Rogers, Charles Coburn, Beulah Bondi and Hattie McDaniel.

I didn’t care for the name of the movie but other wise, it was really a fun movie!

Note: Vivacious Lady is a romantic comedy and did well at the box office.

Ginger Rogers is, as always, beautiful and her character is out spoken but i felt that somehow, “vivacious” just wasn’t the correct word to describe her character, Frances or Francey, for short.

Francey is working as a singer and dancer (sounds like a familiar song, doesn’t  it? lol) in an upscale New York City night club.

Peter, played by Jimmy Stewart, goes into the night club looking for his cousin Keith, played by James Ellison.

Keith is something of a play-boy but Peter is a sensible, fine, up standing young man and has been sent to New York City to bring his cousin back home.

Francey is singing and Peter falls madly in love with her at first sight.

Keith has plans to ask Francey to marry him but thinking he’s being terribly clever, he hides from Peter, thinking Peter will leave without him.

Peter leaves alright, but the joke is on Keith because Peter takes Francey with him!

Leaving the night club

The two tour New York and get to know each other. Francey has no living parents and no family that she mentions. Peter, on the other hand, comes from a long line of proud university professors in Old Sharon!

Getting to know eachother

His great grandfather was president of the university, his father is currently president and Peter hopes to one day be president of the university, himself.

After a few hour whirl-wind romance, they marry and Peter takes Francey, with Keith in-tow, home to Old Sharon to meet his parents!

Everything goes wrong on the train ride home and once they arrive, Peter realizes he’s afraid to introduce Francey to his overbearing father, played by Charles Coburn or his delicate mother, played by Beulah Bondi, and puts it off by sending Francey home with Keith.

Everything starts to go wrong

Of course, everyone assumes that the “blonde thing” with Keith is “one of THOSE girls” and dislikes her immediately!

By the way, waiting with his parents to meet Peter is non other than his FIANCEE! Francey is a little put-out that Peter never mentioned a fiancee but she plays along expecting to be back with Peter in a few hours.

Played by Frances Mercer, Peter’s fiancee, Helen, is the opposite of Francey. She was picked by Daddy; she’s bossy, mean, tall, dark haired and COMPLETELY respectable!

Peter tries to tell his father about Francey at various times but father flat out refuses to speak about “the blonde” and Peter is always cut off and put in his place!

So, Peter changes tactics!

At first, he tries to pass Francey off as a under graduate student. He has Keith bring her to the university prom, as his date.

For reasons I do not understand, Peter still hasn’t broken off his engagement to Helen! Francey wants to know the same thing and Peter tells her that as far as he’s concerned, the engagement is DEFINITELY broken, Helen just doesn’t know it yet. Lol

Peter expects to spend the prom with Francey but Helen has other ideas!

Keith cuts in

With Keith’s help, Peter gets Francey alone on the terrace. He leaves her there so he can go get his father and tell him publicly that he is married. However, jealous Helen follows Francey out onto the terrace and starts a fist fight with her!

Francey is not about to back down and the fist fight ends with Francey accidentally punching Peter’s father in the nose!

Let’s rumble!
(The video is a little slow starting but it’s worth the wait!)

I just want to note that during the prom, Hattie McDaniel makes a short appearance as a bathroom attendant. I had hoped she would have a larger part, but I was glad to see her. I just love Hattie!

“Well, that all depends on which you enjoy more”

Now, jealous of the time Keith is spending with Francey, Peter tells Francey to go get an apartment for “them”, but he has Francey move into an all women’s apartment building.

That’s another thing I don’t understand. If he wants an apartment for “them”, why does he have her move into an all women’s apartment building? Maybe in those days all women’s apartment buildings were the only affordable, respectable apartments available for single women and after all, she is pretending to be a single woman.

All women’s apartment buildings had many rules to help protect single women’s reputations, such as: curfews, no male visitors allowed in the rooms or no men after a certain hour, etc and Peter is, of course, immediately caught by the front desk clerk trying to sneak in after hours numerous times and once with his pajamas.

With everything that has happened and Peter seemingly incapable of telling his family about her, Francey feels it may be best if they call it quits but Peter begs her to stay.

Please don’t leave me

By now, his fiancee is quite jealous and suspicious, so she starts following him and catches him climbing out of Francey’s window. She immediately tells his mother, who knows just what to do about “that kind of woman”.

Mother goes to tell Francey off and finds out instead that her son is married. She’s a kind mother and welcomes Francey to the family but at the same time, Father finds out and he has no problem telling Francey to get lost and apply for a quiet divorce or he’ll make life unbearable!

Teaching Mother to dance

Francey agrees to leave quietly because she knows how much Peter loves his job at the college and doesn’t want to ruin it for him.

Mother, finally fed up with her husband’s bossy ways, says she’s leaving too.

Both women end up on a train for New York City. Unbeknownst to them they are crying in adjoining train roomettes.

The poor unfortunate train porter that is trying to take care of both women is played by Willie Best and he can not help but to cry with both women! He’s sympathetic and tries to be helpful but their tears are just getting the best of him!

What to do with 2 crying ladies?
Glad they found eachother

Don’t worry though! There’s a happy ending! Both men, Peter senior and Peter junior, find a way of sneaking onto the train and winning back their wives!

This was SUCH a fun movie! I was laughing out loud and for a short time, even forgot how horrible I felt!

If you love the 1930s and 40s movies, you should definitely watch it!

I have a long way to go to watch all the movies I think I have but actually haven’ and I’m glad I watched this one and can check it off my list!

Published by sharietomlinson

I’m Sharie. Owner of Butterfly Bunny Studio. Mixed Media Watercolor Artist, Bunny & Disney Lover, Gardener, Proud Mother to Josh, Bunny Momma to Princess Buttercup Bunny and Wifey to Jason. I am located in Columbia, Md but I’m a Harford County girl at heart! You can find me on Etsy at and on Instagram at @notjoshsmom Email me at

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