Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Margie (1946)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Margie (1946)

In Henry King's Technicolored, nostalgic and sentimental romantic comedy (with some musical numbers) - a Fox box-office smash about the coming-of-age of a teenaged girl in the Roaring 1920s; it was told in flashback from a generation later - with the tagline: "Youth was 'Flaming!' Everyone danced the 'Charleston!' College boys sat on flagpoles... and gulped goldfish! 'Sheiks' toted their 'Shebas' in 'Tin Lizzies!' 'Flappers' rolled their stockings...and rouged their knees... and the whole nation was singing":

  • the opening sequence: an uninterrupted tracking shot from outside a house, through an open window and into the attic, where post-war, middle-aged housewife Mrs. "Margie" MacDuff (Jeanne Crain) shared her life as a teenager with her daughter Joyce (Ann E. Todd), who had just located Margie's photo album - emphasizing past crazes such as sitting on a flagpole or eating live goldfish (Joyce to her mother: "Tell me all about the crazy and idiotic things you did when you were my age")
  • the beautiful flashback transition from 1946 back to 1928, the social milieu of Mrs. MacDuff - when the soundtrack paired Rudy Vallee's singing of 'My Time is Your Time' (on a wind-up Victrola phonograph in the attic, a hit song from the late 1920s) - back to the same song that was playing in two past instances: (1) from a speaker on a Herbert Hoover ("The Great Engineer") campaign truck in 1928, and (2) from the singing voice of Marybelle Tenor (Barbara Lawrence), Margie's popular, blonde, leggy and fashionable neighbor girlfriend, who was in front of the school waiting for her popular boyfriend - letter-sweatered, raccoon-coated and dim-witted Johnny 'Johnnykins' Green (Conrad Janis)
Transition From Victrola to Herbert Hoover Truck
  • the introduction of the character of the bookish, innocently boy-crazy, shy-bashful, and accident-prone Central High School student Marjorie 'Margie' MacDuff (Jeanne Crain also) in Ohio, almost always in pigtails or a knit stocking cap and sailor suits - with the continuing embarrassing problem of Margie's bloomers falling down (with broken elastic) at inopportune moments - after school, in the school library, during ice skating, and at the Senior Prom
  • the disinterest of Margie toward her bumbling boyfriend - same-aged nerdy, poetry-writing suitor Roy Hornsdale (Alan Young in his film debut), while she was developing a crush (with other girls) on her new handsome French teacher Professor Ralph Fontayne (Glenn Langan), who was interested in the school's pretty librarian Miss Isabelle Palmer (Lynn Bari)
  • the scene of Margie's debate (Central High vs. Polytechnic High) of US foreign policy in the late 1920s, about whether the US should keep or remove its US Marines from Nicaragua - and her passionate argument that freedom was more valuable than American capitalism (selling Nicaragua American plumbing to raise their standard of living): "Ladies and gentlemen, would you turn in liberty for a bathtub? Would you?...Don't let the flag of the United States mean bathtubs and plumbing instead of liberty to the people of South America"; she concluded that the Marines should be removed from the Latin American country, after which she was wildly applauded, especially by her widowed, mortician father Angus MacDuff (Hobart Cavanaugh) and her Grandmother McSweeney (Esther Dale)
  • the ending scene with Margie heartbroken that Roy became sick and couldn't take her to the Senior Prom, followed by the mix-up about who would be taking Margie to the dance - Mr. MacDuff had been recruited to surprise her, although Margie was misled into believing that Fontayne would be taking her (instead, he was taking the school librarian Miss Isabelle Palmer); although initially disappointed that Fontayne wouldn't be taking her, she was overjoyed to learn that her father would accompany her; at the dance, however, Fontayne told her as they danced: "Between you and me, Margie, I'd rather dance with you than anyone in this room...I said, I'd rather dance with you than anyone in this room - and I meant it...Anyone!"
Senior Prom
Margie's Date: Her Father Mr. MacDuff
Dancing with
Mr. Fontayne
  • the film's plot surprise - as the film returned to the present -- Margie's husband was Mr. Fontayne, the Central High's current principal, and in the newspaper's headlines, Angus MacDuff was announced as the new Ambassador to Nicaragua

Opening Tracking Shot

Mrs. MacDuff and Daughter Joyce

Young 'Margie' MacDuff
(Jeanne Crain)

Marybelle and Johnnykins

Prof. Fontayne with Isabelle and Margie

Debate: "Would you turn in liberty for a bathtub?"

Plot Twist at End: Mr. Fontayne Was Mrs. MacDuff's Husband, and the Principal of Central High

Angus MacDuff = Ambassador to Nicaragua


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