“That kid in there’s a novelty — just what we need for our act!”
The only daughter (Shirley Temple) of a wealthy widower (Michael Whalen) is suddenly on her own when her caretaker (Sara Haden) is accidentally killed while taking her to boarding school. Soon Temple joins forces with a pair of married musical performers (Jack Haley and Alice Faye) who are eager to add her to their act — but when will her true identity be revealed?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Alice Faye Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Shirley Temple Films
This in-name-only remake of Mary Pickford’s 1917 silent classic offered mega-child-star Shirley Temple yet another opportunity to charm Depression-era audiences in the way she did so well — and to that end, it certainly succeeds. Temple is as adorably precocious as ever, singing a few cutesy tunes while instantly charming an old curmudgeon (Claude Gillingwater):
… aiding the fortunes of a talented young couple in desperate need of a break (Haley and Faye):
… and avoiding capture by a nebulously lecherous stalker (John Wray).
Highlights include Temple singing to her dolls (who eventually get up and dance):
… and her truly impressive tap finale with Haley and Faye, which apparently took countless attempts to get just right. However, this one ultimately isn’t must-see viewing; Peary lists other Temple titles in his GFTFF, and film fanatics need only see one or two at most to get a representative sense of what Temple’s phenomenal fame was all about.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Temple singing “Oh My Goodness!” to her dolls
- Temple, Faye, and Haley’s impressive finale tap dance to “Military Man”
No, though of course Shirley Temple fans will want to check it out.