Forever Female is another movie that I never heard of before. The movie stars Ginger Rogers as Beatrice Page, William Holden as Stanley Krown, Paul Douglas as Harry Phillips and Pat Crowley as Sally Carver. Forever Female was directed by Irving Rapper and it was released in January 1954. I have to give kudos to Edith Head’s gorgeous costume design for this movie.
Ginger Rogers and William Holden
Harry Phillips is a Broadway producer who was married to Beatrice Page. Even though they are now divorced Beatrice and Harry are still very good friends. Harry is actually still very much in love with Beatrice. Harry also owes Beatrice over 11 thousand dollars in back alimony. Beatrice just starred in a play that Harry produced and after the play they head over to Sardis to wait for the reviews. The play is a big flop but Beatrice gets raving reviews for her performance in it.
Stanley Krown is an aspiring playwright who gets the opportunity to meet Beatrice and Harry at Sardis. Stanley has written a play about a 19-year-old girl and her mother and is looking for someone to produce it.
The next day Harry and Beatrice discuss Stanley’s play. It is a very good play, but if Harry produces it then he wants only Beatrice to star in the lead role which is the 19-year-old girl. Beatrice cannot pass for 19 so Harry wants Stanley to change the age of the girl to 29 so that Beatrice can play the part. Ginger Rogers is gorgeous in this movie, but she does not look 29 either. Miss Rogers looks closer to mid 40’s to me in this movie. Ginger Rogers was actually 42 when she made this movie.
Stanley has a dilemma. If he changes the age of the girl in his play it changes the whole story because what a 19-year-old goes through is different from what a 29-year-old experiences. Stanley Kramer knows this and at first is adamant that the script remain the same. Harry will not produce the play without those changes though. Beatrice also wants to star in the play and puts pressure on Stanley to change rewrite it.
Stanley Krown gives in and starts to rewrite the play to suit Beatrice and Harry.
Sally Carver is a 19-year-old aspiring actress who has read Stanley’s original script. Sally works at an agency as a typist and she is the one who typed up Stanley’s script. Sally recognizes that Stanley is a very talented writer and that his original script is outstanding. To rewrite it will ruin it. Sally encourages Stanley to stand up to what he knows is right, but Stanley is too caught up in Beatrice Page.
Sally really wants to break into show business, but she is also falling in love with Stanley.
Beatrice finds Sally and Stanley together in his apartment and she gets jealous. Stanley explains that Sally was only doing some typing for him.
In order to keep Sally and Stanley separated, Beatrice gets Sally a job in a traveling show.
Sally doesn’t keep her job in the show for long because she misses Stanley. Sally gives the road show two weeks notice and returns to New York to be near Stanley. I loved the Sally Carver character. She is really sweet, although to me she is way too aggressive for her own good. Sally comes off more as a pest instead of a person with humble confident determination. Sally is more suitable as a mate for Stanley than Beatrice is, however, Stanley cannot see that yet.
Sally sits in the back of the theater to watch the rehearsal of Stanley’s play with Beatrice in it. Afterwards everyone tells Stanley that the play is great, but Sally tells Stanley the truth. The play is awful and Stanley should not have altered it just to please Beatrice and Harry. Stanley gets very annoyed with Sally and tells her to get out and that he never wants to see her again. Of course Sally is hurt and she goes off crying after they exchange harsh words.
The play opens in Washington DC and it is a huge flop just as Sally warned Stanley it would be. Stanley goes off to be alone. Beatrice is very worried about Stanley and eventually figures out where he went off to. This is when Beatrice tells Stanley that she loves him and wants to marry him. Stanley is stunned to her this and agrees to an engagement.
Harry and Sally are obviously not happy about the engagement. Sally painfully decides that she has to move on with her life without Stanley.
One day Stanley reads in the papers that his play is being performed in another town. Stanley decides to go and see it and takes Harry with him. They discover that Sally is starring in it as the 19-year-old girl. The play is also being performed as Harry originally wrote it. Stanley’s play is a hit in that small town. After the performance, Stanley goes to talk with Sally who has changed a bit. Sally is now more grown up and humble. Sally realizes that she is a good person who does not have to be overly aggressive. Sally appreciates the value of herself. Stanley is finally seeing Sally for the beautiful person that she is inside and out. The evening becomes very emotional for Sally and she goes off crying. This scene is really very touching.
On the way back from seeing Harry’s play performed with Sally in it, Harry decides to take Stanley to meet Beatrice’s mother. The visit to Beatrice’s mom reveals a few surprises for Stanley.
Harry realizes that Stanley really belongs with Sally and helps him to face the truth about it. Stanley doesn’t want to hurt Beatrice, but he need not worry about that. Beatrice has come to terms with a few things about herself as well.
Forever Female has a lovely ending. If you want to know how it ends you will have to watch it yourself. I really enjoyed all of the characters in this movie. I found them all very likable even if they were flawed. As a woman who loves pretty and classic clothing I really love all of the clothes that Ginger Rogers and Pat Crowley wore in this movie. Edith Head is one of my favorite of the old Hollywood designers. Edith’s style reminds me a lot of Coco Chanel’s designs.
I streamed this movie on Netflix.