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Shirley Temple SOTM Night Two


sewhite2000
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I was very selective in viewing of Shirley Temple movies last night. The only one I watched all the way through was STOWAWAY. I skipped WEE WILLIE WINKIE - I watched some of the clips on the TCM website and saw a lot of Victor McLaglen in a kilt and colonial English attitude and decided, nah, don't think so.

 

Later on in the night, I thought I might want to give LITTLE MISS BROADWAY a try, so I turned the TV back on and watched the last 25 minutes of HEIDI. Though I came in at the very tail end of it, it was easy to pick up on everything I had missed - Shirley teaches wheelchair-bound girl to walk; rich family offers her the chance to stay as a legitimate family member, not just a servant, but she pines for her rustic grandfather. Evil governess shatters her Christmas present, tries to sell her to a gypsy woman, but Grandfather saves the day. I turned on the TV just in time for all the heaviest melodrama, but it ends, of course, on a closeup of Shirley's beaming face as she wishes everyone could be as happy as her.

 

So, I started LITTLE MISS BROADWAY, but it was very late in the night by this time, and I don't think I made it more than about 15 minutes into it. I turned it off just after Shirley and George Murphy did their song-and-dance number. A dizzying number of characters were introduced in the hotel in the first minutes of the movie - most of them are probably pretty unessential to the plot - but at the late hour, I thought that's too many characters to keep track of. Jimmy Durante hadn't done very much up to that point in the movie. I was tickled by the casting of Donald Meek and Edna May Oliver as a couple. I almost stayed up to watch more of them, but ultimately I didn't.

 

So, the only movie I can really give any kind of review to is STOWAWAY. Robert O. called it a TCM Premiere, but I don't believe that's true, because I've definitely seen it before, and where else would I have ever seen it except on TCM? I don't get the Fox Movie Channel. I distinctly remember cringing before as Shirley manhandles that poor dog as she crawls over the rear of Robert Young's roadster, dragging him along with her. There was no ASPCA monitoring of movies back then!

 

There has been a frenzy of discussion about GONE WITH THE WIND in another thread, which has led me to wonder if all these old movies with their depictions of minority races and foreign cultures that often appear insensitive today will come under scrutiny. With that thought in mind, I was happy to see STOWAWAY present a fairly sensitive view of China/Hong Kong culture. The presence of the always dignified Philip Ahn early on certainly helped. I feel like Ahn must have been very selective of his roles in his half-century-plus career, something that was probably hard for an Asian-American actor to successfully do for many of those years. The characters he played were never the subject of ridicule. It was interesting that the white missionaries were clearly shown to be in the wrong regarding the welfare of a child, and Ahn's character has no moral quandary about defying their wishes to ensure Shirley's safety. There was some insensitivity with Robert Young talking pigeon English to all the Chinese characters as if that's somehow going to make them understand him, and a number of the Chinese characters mixing up their "l"s and "r"s, a movie staple for decades. But compared to a lot of movies of the time, I found the movie to be impressively non-condescending. I liked how the little coalescing potential family to be of Temple, Young and Alice Faye thrill to the Asian show they watch, actually appreciating what a foreign culture has to offer and never speaking condescendingly about it.

 

I don't know if an idle playboy in the movies ever just got to stay an idle playboy by film's end, not if he's going to be the one who ends up with the girl. They are forever being pushed toward marriage, employment and domesticity. Maybe Dennis Morgan was still an idle playboy at the end of KITTY FOYLE, but Ginger Rogers runs away with the responsible doctor. In this film, Faye mocks Young for being one of the few people who can still live like the Wall Street crash never happened. She holds it against him like it's a weakness, even though she admires his devotion to Shirley. I thought that was interesting.

 

Anyway, a fun little movie that oddly travels from a very exotic locale to a very mundane one (Reno) by the end. Lots of Shirley films seemed to climax in courtroom scenes. BRIGHT EYES and LITTLE MISS BROADWAY do also.  

 

There was certainly a wonderful economy to the narratives of films of the '30s. So much happens this movie, it feels like a miniseries, yet I think it clocks in at about 82 or 83 minutes. Most of these superhero movies coming out now ramble on for 130, 140 minutes and nothing really happens except somebody gets powers and then has a couple of fights with some other people with powers.

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So, the only movie I can really give any kind of review to is STOWAWAY. Robert O. called it a TCM Premiere, but I don't believe that's true...

 

Whoever wrote R.O.'s intros last night got kind of mixed up. STOWAWAY was introduced as a TCM premiere even though they've aired it before, and WEE WILLIE WINKIE was a premiere despite there being no mention of that in the intro.

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Whoever wrote R.O.'s intros last night got kind of mixed up. STOWAWAY was introduced as a TCM premiere even though they've aired it before, and WEE WILLIE WINKIE was a premiere despite there being no mention of that in the intro.

Right. STOWAWAY has aired before on TCM, because I made a recording of it. Probably back in 2012 or 2013. It was definitely not a premiere for the channel.

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     I was wondering if there's any Shirley Temple movies from 1934-1940 where she's not an orphan or motherless or fatherless.  It seems like all her movies had the same basic plot where she's orphaned

and either makes an old man happy or brings a couple together and they all live happily ever after.

     The only movie I know of where she has both parents is "Baby Take A Bow".

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     I was wondering if there's any Shirley Temple movies from 1934-1940 where she's not an orphan or motherless or fatherless.  It seems like all her movies had the same basic plot where she's orphaned

and either makes an old man happy or brings a couple together and they all live happily ever after.

     The only movie I know of where she has both parents is "Baby Take A Bow".

Actually there are 3 other movies where she does have both parents:

 

1935 - Our Little Girl (parents are played by Joel McCrea and Rosemary Ames)

 

1935 - The Little Colonel (parents are played by John Lodge and Evelyn Venable)

 

1940 - The Blue Bird (parents are played by Russell Hicks and Spring Byington)

 

Then there's  The Littlest Rebel (1935).  I don't know if that counts because she starts out with two parents, but part way into the picture her mother dies.  In this one her parents are played by John Boles and Karen Morley.

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I was wondering if there's any Shirley Temple movies from 1934-1940 where she's not an orphan or motherless or fatherless.  It seems like all her movies had the same basic plot where she's orphaned

and either makes an old man happy or brings a couple together and they all live happily ever after.

     The only movie I know of where she has both parents is "Baby Take A Bow".

Those tired old plots worked and made the studio lots of money.

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Those tired old plots worked and made the studio lots of money.

 

"Our Little Girl" has a thin plot and it's more a soap opera.

 

"Bluebird" was a flop,  because people took it literally.  It's a fairy tale that's symbolic in nature with a moral ending....Happiness is in your own back yard, not in fantasy land.  Could that ever be so TODAY!

 

I have it and the 1918 silent version.  It was saved from nitrate self destruction in the nick of time.

 

this_is_theBlueBird.2_original.jpg

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"Our Little Girl" has a thin plot and it's more a soap opera.

 

"Bluebird" was a flop,  because people took it literally.  It's a fairy tale that's symbolic in nature with a moral ending....Happiness is in your own back yard, not in fantasy land.  Could that ever be so TODAY!

 

I have it and the 1918 silent version.  It was saved from nitrate self destruction in the nick of time.

 

this_is_theBlueBird.2_original.jpg

I have the Temple version, as well as the fairly execrable mid 1970s version with Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Ava Gardner and Cicely Tyson.

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Whoever wrote R.O.'s intros last night got kind of mixed up. STOWAWAY was introduced as a TCM premiere even though they've aired it before, and WEE WILLIE WINKIE was a premiere despite there being no mention of that in the intro.

The guy who played Alice Faye's fiancée in STOWAWAY was a really handsome actor. I checked out his name, and it didn't ring a bell.

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Many may not know Allan because he mostly played in the old (now mostly forgotten) serials and low grade movies. Went though his filmography and  never heard of them until today. :mellow:

 

7562_DW300.jpg

 

51r9PaWLcFL.jpg

True that. He never became a major star.with the presence of, oh,.say, um.....Tor Johnson.

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