The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, February 25-March 3

02/25/2015 8:00 AM |

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Vivacious Lady (1938)
Directed by George Stevens

Jimmy Stewart excels in everyman mode in Stevens’s nimble RKO rom-com as botany professor Peter, who marries Ginger Rogers’s nightclub singer within hours of their meeting. The newlyweds’ weakness for each other (a near-kiss at a microscope eyepiece stands to make one feel self-conscious) adds a pre-coital high colour to the amusingly wholesome motive that motors the film: monogamy. What’s holding them back from being husband and wife is the backdraft of their secretive, ill-conceived schemes to have Peter’s reproving, provincially influential father approve the precipitate match. Rogers’s economy of movement becomes the fast-talking, farcical form, while Stewart, whose Peter gets drunk during class, hones his well-known Philadelphia Story routine. Thirza Wakefield (Feb 25-27, 1:30pm at MoMA’s “Acteurism: Ginger Rogers“)