She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952) starring Virginia Mayo, Ronald Reagan
She’s Working Her Way Through College is an interesting musical. The basic plot has former burlesque dancer Hot-Garters Gertie (Virginia Mayo) having saved up enough money to attend college. So after talking to her former high school teacher (Ronald Reagan) who’s now a college professor. Who just happens to be in the audience for a totally innocent reason … And getting hit on by a sleazy man who offers her an oversize fur coat (an important plot point later). She leaves to attend the college where Reagan is teaching, in hopes of writing a successful play.
Ronald Reagan has his own issues, with insecurity in his marriage. This leads to a funny drunk scene later … And hiding his new student’s background from his wife. Eventually, a jealous female student, “Poison” Ivy tries to blackmail Gertie into dropping out of school. So that Poison Ivy can take her place. This leads to a fine example of yellow journalism, with the head of the school calling for her expulsion. And, he wants his fur coat back. Ronald Reagan gives a supportive speech in front of the entire school, putting his job on the line. But all turns out for the best.
In short, She’s Working Her Way Through College is an enjoyable musical, although not extraordinary. The musical numbers, in my opinion, are forgettable, with the exception of the finale.
Editorial review of She’s Working Her Way Through College courtesy of Amazon.com
Let other coeds wait tables or shelve library books. Burlesque queen Hot-Garters Gertie is working her way through college one article of clothing at a time! Virginia Mayo and Ronald Reagan headline this rollicking campus musical comedy based on the stage and screen classic The Male Animal. Hoping to leave the daily bump — n’ grind behind, gorgeous Gertie (Mayo) enrolls at Midwest State, where she proceeds to complicate the lives of a handsome theater arts professor (Reagan), Midwest’s star quarterback (Gene Nelson) and jealous rival “Poison” Ivy Williams (Patrice Wymore). It takes a smash-hit student musical, featuring tunes by Sammy Cahn and Vernon Duke, to put everything right.