Major and the Minor [1942]

On her first day of work, Sue Applegate (Ginger Rogers) has to escape the clutches of a lecherous client (Robert Benchley, whose favorite line is "Why don't you slip out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?"). Fed up with the big city, Sue decides to head home to Iowa with the precious $27.50 train fare she's kept in a sealed envelope since her arrival. The fare has gone up, however, and she is forced to pose as a 12-year-old to buy a half-price ticket. On the train, she has to dodge the suspicious conductors and bursts into the compartment of Major Phillip Kirby (Ray Milland), who falls for Sue's masquerade and harbors her for the night. The situation is further complicated by the major's fiancée (Rita Johnson) and her savvy 12-year-old sister (Diana Lynn), the only one who sees through the ruse. Add a stay at the major's academy and some escapades with young, hormone-driven cadets, and you have an enjoyable, if not quite classic, silly comedy, well paced by Billy Wilder in his first directorial effort. Rogers's real-life mother appears in a small role as Sue's mother. Rogers is only occasionally convincing as a 12-year-old, but after all she was 30 at the time. --David Horiuchi

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