A bit of trivia! This is the first film in which Ginger has dark hair, after her long bout as a blonde from The Tip Off (1931) onwards! There is in fact a lovely anecdote in her autobiography about her decision to dye her hair brunette in order to look younger, and her struggle keeping it secret from the press pre-realease, which involved turban wearing!! Ginger begins here her run of playing significantly younger characters, with Ellie May Adams.
It's an interesting film, as it tackles a lot of moral issues, but has to tread lightly to avoid breaking the Hays Code. It was banned in several states after upsetting local censors, and had it not, many critics suggested that Ginger might have been nominated for an Academy Award, though ultimately it didn't matter! Ginger is the daughter of a hooker and a drunk. Her grandma was also a prostitute, and her refusal to join the family trade is pivotal to the plot. Dressing childishly and doing her best to support her family without selling herself, she meets a Ed Wallace (Joel McCrea) who comes from a more respecatable family, who own a small diner. She falls for him, but lies about her family, a decision which comes back to haunt her and breaks up their marriage.
The grandma and younger sister are both well acted, and really horrible characters, both conniving and unpleasent, their scheming was a slight distraction from the film as I genuinely wanted to punch them both for large sections of the film.
Other than this, I really I enjoyed the movie. It was in many ways, Ginger's first opportunity to do any dramatic acting, and she really shines. Also, its one of those "struggle to survive" type movies which leaves you feeling fulfilled and sort of wholesome (this sounds kind of wierd but I hope at least one person understands what I'm trying to say :P!). The relationship between Ellie May and Ed is very cute, I especially love the scene where he's painting the boat - you'll know the one I mean if you've seen it!
Ginger says; "Joel McCrae was my handsome leading man and I always loved working with him. The supporting cast was equally wonderful...Primrose Path provided me with my first substantial dramatic role... (I) went happily in to the role of Ellie May Adams, which gave me an age range to play as well as an opportunity at character development."
Plot - 18/20 (fairly solid, based on novel "February Hill"
Importance of Ginger - 18/20
Characters - 16/20 all convincing if exaggerated and in some cases annoying!
The Ginger Factor - 18/20
"X" Factors - 17/20
X factors include - Strong plot line, Some really good acting, convincing romance, weepy moments (for me at any rate!), good scripting, I enjoyed the amusing banter between the cafe staff and customers! NOthing outstanding but consistenly high standard!
Overall - 87
Grade - A
Position in my collection 15/60
Note! I got to the stage where I'd seen enough of Ginger's films to order them by score so have added this in as a little (probably useless extra! 60 is how many I've seen!)