This wonderful film from the 1930's has a quiet charm all to itself. Screwball comedy elements are intertwined deftly with a warmth missing from many films in the genre. Director Gregory La Cava produced and directed this film, putting the final touches on Allan Scott's screenplay as well. Walter Connolly and Ginger Rogers are marvelous as a lonely businessman and a young girl out of work, but making do just fine. The pair cast a lovely spell on the viewer from the opening scene.
Alfred Borden (Walter Connolly) has been forgotten by his own family on his birthday. On a bench in Central Park, he meets the flip Mary Grey (Ginger Rogers). Business woes, a philandering wife, an irresponsible son, and a daughter falling for his leftist leaning chauffeur all melt as Mary brightens his day with her take on life. The two end up having a great time, and when his family finally takes an interest because of it, he hires the out of work Mary to pretend she's his mistress.
There are fun scenes of the two partying, but mostly they just have Mike (James Ellison) drive them around town. There is a lovely magic to these scenes which endear the pair to the viewer. Embarrassed by newspaper reports of their exploits, his wife tries to buy Mary off through her son Tim (Tim Holt). He initially wants her gone as well, but then begins to fall in love. All Alfred's time spent with Mary forces Tim to finally pay attention to business rather than polo. Mary has good words of advice for his daughter Katherine (Kathryn Adams) also. Her presence has a delightful affect on everyone, in fact, but to her own detriment.
Mary finally breaks under the strain and confesses it was all a charade, and that it's time to end it. Rogers is wonderful here, giving an enchanting performance. It will be up to Tim to keep her from leaving. The final exchange between Mary and a beat cop captures the quiet magic of this film, which has been too often dismissed by modern critics. La Cava imbued a gentleness into Fifth Avenue Girl and Rogers is deceptively captivating in one of her best films from this period. A must for fans of Ginger.