Garson Kanin, who directed her twice, considered Ginger Rogers the quintessential movie star; Rogers was Marcello Mastroianni’s favorite actress; critic Andrew Sarris named Rogers cinema’s best comedienne. What follows is a list of Ginger’s ten best performances in descending order of preference—and not all the films are comedies:


Storm Warning (Stuart Heisler, 1950)

Roxie Hart (William A. Wellman, 1942)

Primrose Path (Gregory LaCava, 1940)

Bachelor Mother (Garson Kanin, 1939)

The Major and the Minor (Billy Wilder, 1942)

Harlow (Alex Segal, 1965)

Forever Female (Irving Rapper, 1953)

Tom, Dick and Harry (Garson Kanin, 1941)

I’ll Be Seeing You (William Dieterle, 1944)

Monkey Business (Howard Hawks, 1952)


In truth, I shuffle these and other displays of Rogers’ artistry depending on which Ginger-film I have most recently revisited. Here, therefore, in chronological order rather than in descending order of excellence, are ten back-ups—ten more outstanding performances by this—when she is at her best—glorious actress:


Roberta (William A. Seiter, 1935)

Star of Midnight (Stephen Roberts, 1935)

Follow the Fleet (Mark Sandrich, 1936)

Stage Door (Gregory LaCava, 1937)

5th Ave. Girl (Gregory LaCava, 1940)

Lucky Partners (Lewis Milestone, 1940)

Kitty Foyle (Sam Wood, 1940)

Once Upon a Honeymoon (Leo McCarey, 1942)

Lady in the Dark (Mitchell Leisen, 1944)

Black Widow (Nunnally Johnson, 1954)

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