I had been hearing about Rafter Romance from fellow old movie fans since they played it at the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. Tell me I’m going to see a pre-code film and I instantly get excited. One because the scripts were much fresher, spunkier, and honest at this time in the early 30s and then add on to it that I get to see many film stars I love at the beginning of their careers. Rafter Romance has all of this. It stars a very young Ginger Rogers and Norman Foster who have to share an attic apartment due to not being able to pay their rent when they had single apartments downstairs. The landlord makes a deal that it can feel like they have their own apartment if they agree to live their home life on a shift schedule… Only in the land of films would this ever work out, and it does for some time until Ginger realizes that the man she has been going with is actually the same man she lives with in the attic. Dun Dun Dun! They end up living happily ever after, once they realize all of this and the film abruptly ends.
Okay, so what made me enjoy this film overall was thanks to Ginger Rogers. She brings so much emotion to all her characters but this one in particular you can feel her struggle of trying to get by in the big city.
She actually brought me to tears when she is working so hard to make her side of the attic attractive, and then when she sits on the bed it collapses into pieces as you can see in the picture above. Tragic! If you pause the film right there as she sits in all the debris I dare you to not feel how her whole being just doesn’t know how she can go on. It’s that feeling you get when you are just completely worn out and raw. Through out the whole film, even to the very end she is struggling which makes this romantic comedy not too funny. Had there had been another actresses who didn’t bring the sincerity to the role that Rogers plays I know I would not have cared much about this film, so I am grateful she did it… Okay, so now I shall move on to the pre-codeness. When my dad watched some of this with me he was stunned that they showed Roger’s legs. All of that dancing she had done in films and we rarely see skin like in this film. It even begins with her cleaning her stocking and proceeds with many moments of her dressings and saying sometimes scandalous things for the time. Oh those pre-codes moments! This may seem like not a big deal to movie fans today but for us old movie fans seeing Roger’s leg above the knee is rare! I often wonder why in interviews nobody asked stars like her about their pre-code films and what they thought of them… Anyway, I do recommend seeing this film at least once. It has some very nice moments and Rogers is touching and daring. This is on DVD so give it a go! – xo miss. classic film