Cast & Crew
In 1946, as Margie and her teenaged-daughter Joyce are rummaging through an attic looking for an old dress, Margie finds an old pair of her bloomers in a trunk. Joyce asks her mother about her school days and, while an old Rudy Vallee recording of "My Time Is Your Time" plays on a wind-up phonograph which Joyce has found, Margie relates the story of her teenage years in the late 1920s: After pretty Marybelle Tenor finishes the same song in front of Central High School, Marybelle's boyfriend Johnny, replete with raccoon coat, comes to drive her home. Margie lives next door to Marybelle with her maternal grandmother, Mrs. McSweeney, and Marybelle and Johnny normally give her a ride home. This time, however, Margie who has a crush on Johnny, discovers that the elastic in her bloomers has broken and, attempting to repair the damage with safety pins, slips into the school's library. The librarian, Isabel Palmer, is visited by the handsome, young, new French teacher, Ralph Fontayne, who discovers Margie in mid-repair. Later, while walking home with Roy Hornsdale, who is smitten by her, Margie spots her father, Angus McDuff, driving by. Margie reveals to Roy that her mother died when she was a baby and her busy father lives apart from her. Invited to meet Margie's grandmother, Roy discovers that she has been a suffragette in the campaign for woman's right to vote and has raised Margie to take a deep interest in politics. While Margie is silently rehearsing her speech for an upcoming school debate on the topic of "Should We Take the Marines out of Nicaragua?", she is interrupted by Cynthia, the maid, and Margie stops to tell her about the new French teacher about whom all the girls are crazy. The next day, in the school cafeteria, Mr. Fontayne congratulates Margie on a theme she has written and promises to attend the debate. Marybelle is jealous of this attention paid to Margie and also of Mr. Fontayne's interest in Miss Palmer. The day of the debate, on snow covered streets, Roy arrives in his father's car to escort Margie. They stop at her mortician father's business where she leaves a message for him about the debate. Fortunately, he, her grandmother and Mr. Fontayne are able to attend and hear her deliver an impassioned argument to share America's freedom and to remove the U.S. Marines from Nicaragua. After the debate, everyone goes ice skating and while skating with Johnny, Margie's bloomers descend once again, causing her to fall. The chivalrous Mr. Fontayne, who is among those who run to help her, surreptitiously conceals and removes the garment, causing Margie some puzzlement as to just what happened to her bloomers. At home, where Margie is resting her sprained ankle, her father is still preoccupied by the issue raised in the debate. Mr. Fontayne comes to visit the "invalid" and discreetly hands her a present, the "handkerchief" she has lost. Some time later, Roy, who was supposed to be Margie's escort to the senior dance, comes down with a bad cold. When Marybelle taunts Margie by showing her orchids Johnny has sent her, Margie retaliates by inventing a mystery escort for herself. Meanwhile, Margie's father, after dismissing a salesman attempting to sell him candles manufactured in Nicaragua, phones Mrs. McSweeney, who tells him about Margie's escort problem and advises him to help out. Grandma then tells the unhappy Margie that she will have an escort to the dance. Just then, Mr. Fontayne comes by to deliver a grade for a theme Margie has written and privately confesses to Mrs. McSweeney that although he is to escort Miss Palmer to the dance, he would much rather be taking Margie McDuff. When Margie comes downstairs, she thinks Mr. Fontayne is to be her surprise escort, but upon reading the card enclosed in the corsage intended for Miss Palmer, has her hopes dashed. After Fontayne leaves, Margie's father arrives and the heartbroken Margie is delighted that he is going to be her escort. At the dance, both Johnny and Mr. Fontayne dance with Margie, much to Marybelle's displeasure. During a fast-paced dance with Johnny, Margie's bloomers descend once more. She pretends to faint and both Mr. Fontayne and Johnny go to her aid. In the attic, as Margie and Joyce laugh about the incident, Joyce wants to know who finally got to take her home from the dance and Margie replies that it was Joyce's father. As Mr. Fontayne, now the principal of Central High, enters the attic and kisses his wife, he has brought the day's newspaper which features a story that Margie's father has been appointed Minister to Nicaragua by the U.S. Senate. Margie and Joyce then dance to an old recording of "Margie," as Joyce tries to teach her mother some modern dance steps.
Lou Ann Hogan
Charles [g.] Clarke
B. G. Desylva
F. Hugh Herbert
Lou Ann Hogan
Frank E. Hughes
Frances C. Richardson
J. Russel Robinson
J. Russell Spencer
Darryl F. Zanuck
Margie follows its heroine through good times and bad and is peppered with the popular songs of the Twenties including renditions of "A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich and You," "Your Time Is My Time," "I'll See You In My Dreams" and "Ain't She Sweet." She is triumphant at her high school debate where she delivers a rousing argument as to why American Marines should not be in Nicaragua. And she is despondent when her poetry-spouting high school suitor Roy Hornsdale (Alan Young, also destined for TV stardom as Mr. Ed's Wilbur) cancels the day of the prom after coming down with a cold. A uniquely quirky film character, Margie lives in a large home with her suffragist Grandma McSweeney (Esther Dale) who proudly displays the chains she used to secure herself to the White House to advocate for women's right to vote. Grandma McSweeney even encourages the brainy Margie, telling her she could be the first female president of the United States. Rounding out the all-female household is their sassy black maid Cynthia (Hattie McDaniel from the 1939 classic Gone with the Wind). Her undertaker father Angus MacDuff (Hobart Cavanaugh) lives across town and takes an on again off again interest in his daughter. Margie often craves his attention and is over the moon anytime it is offered.
In what might strike contemporary viewers as a slightly icky romantic story line, Margie harbors a serious crush -- along with the rest of the female student body--on the Central High School's handsome new French teacher Mr. Fontayne (Glenn Langan). Most of the female students assume Fontayne is only interested in the glamorous school librarian Miss Isabel Palmer (Lynn Bari). "Well I don't know what he sees in her" Marybelle sniffs to Johnikins. "She's old. She must be twenty-five at least." But in fact, Mr. Fontayne only has eyes for the innocent, adorable Margie. Neither Margie's grandmother nor fellow students seem to think it odd when Mr. Fontayne shows a distinct romantic interest in his student.
The movie poster for Margie used the letters of her name to spell out: Marvelous, Adorable, Romantic, Glorious, Inspiring, Enchanting. Former beauty queen Jeanne Crain carried Margie on her path to stardom following important roles in the Twentieth Century-Fox productions State Fair (1945) and Leave Her to Heaven (1945). Her role in Margie garnered Crain her first of two Life magazine covers. "Jeanne Crain in the title role acts and looks as fresh as a daisy, and brings just the right amount of wistfulness to her part," said The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther. He also added, "Seeing Margie is like turning back the pages of an album on a quiet Sunday afternoon."
Also groomed for matinee idol stardom, co-star Glenn Langan played a role first offered to Cornel Wilde and then Richard Jaeckel. F. Hugh Herbert's screenplay was based on a series of stories by the husband and wife team of Richard Bransten and Ruth McKenney for which Twentieth Century-Fox paid $12,500 in 1945.
Margie was directed by Henry King (The Song of Bernadette, 1943; The Gunfighter, 1950). The brother of director Louis King, Henry King began his career in the silent era and went on to co-found the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The film proved to be a hit at the box office.
Margie was filmed on location in Reno, Nevada. King was rumored to have dismissed the University of Nevada students who doubled as Central High School extras in the film, because he felt they looked too old compared to Crain. King reportedly replaced the co-eds with Reno High School students instead.
Producer: Walter Morosco
Director: Henry King
Screenplay: Richard Bransten, Ruth McKenney (story); F. Hugh Herbert
Cinematography: Charles Clarke
Art Direction: James Basevi, J. Russell Spencer
Music: Alfred Newman
Film Editing: Barbara McLean
Cast: Jeanne Crain (Marjorie 'Margie' MacDuff), Glenn Langan (Prof. Ralph Fontayne), Lynn Bari (Miss Isabel Palmer), Alan Young (Roy Hornsdale), Barbara Lawrence (Marybelle Tenor), Conrad Janis (Johnny 'Johnikins' Green), Esther Dale (Grandma McSweeney), Hobart Cavanaugh (Mr. Angus MacDuff), Ann Todd (Joyce, Margie's daughter), Hattie McDaniel (Cynthia).
by Felicia Feaster
I was just looking for Keats. Do you like Keats?- Professor Fontayne
I don't know, sir. What are keats?- Margie
Well, I don't see what he sees in her. She's old. She must be twenty-five at least.- Marybelle
According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, in January 1945 the studio paid $12,500 for a treatment, titled "Maggie" by Ruth McKenney and her husband Richard Bransten. McKenney's short stories "The Ultimate Catastrophe" and "Take the Marines Out of Nicaragua" had been included in a book, The McKenneys Carry On (New York, 1940) while "La Scandale Internationale" was included in My Sister Eileen (New York, 1938). In May of 1940, McKenney had sold the dramatization rights of My Sister Eileen to Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, who subsequently sold the rights to their play to Columbia, the studio that produced the first film version in 1942. However, neither the play nor the film utilized material from the story, "La Scandale Internationale," so Twentieth Century-Fox was able to obtain a waiver of rights. Documents in the legal files imply that F. Hugh Herbert May have used elements from the screenplay by Gene Markey for Girls' Dormitory (1936), which was based on a play, Matura by Ladislas Fodor.
According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, Cornel Wilde refused the male lead in Margie and was suspended by the studio. Richard Jaeckel was also announced for a starring role. It is unclear when, during the pre-production phase, "Maggie" became Margie. Shooting began with exterior scenes in Reno, Nevada and finished at the studio with the crane shots into and out of the attic which open and close the film. Although "Margie," written in 1920, is the only song credited on screen, the film included passages from many other hits of the 1920s, among them "At Sundown," "Avalon," "I'll See You in My Dreams," "Collegiate," "Charmaine," "Three O'Clock in the Morning," "Charleston," "Diane," "Wonderful One" and "Ain't She Sweet?" Singer Rudy Vallee was paid $1,000 to re-record his popular song of the period, "My Time is Your Time." A Newsweek article on June 23, 1947 which reported that industry production costs had risen 66 2/3 % over a year cited Margie which cost $1,680,000 in 1946, and would cost $2,800,000 if made in 1947.
Documents in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library reveal that Australian censors removed all references to "Margie" losing her bloomers at the ice rink and to their subsequent return. Alan Young made his feature film debut in Margie. A radio version of the film, featuring Jeanne Crain and Glenn Langan, was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre on September 8, 1947. The same program did another version, this time with Crain and Hugh Marlowe, which was broadcast on October 22, 1951. Hedda Hopper's program, This is Hollywood also presented an adaptation on June 28, 1947. A television series based on the film was broadcast from October 1961 to August 1962 on the ABC Television Network, starring Cynthia Pepper as the title character.
Released in United States 1974
Released in United States Fall November 1946
Released in United States 1974 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (A Tribute to the Art of Cinematography) March 28 - April 9, 1974)
Released in United States Fall November 1946