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If this is not considered one of Shirley Temple's more popular movies,
it's easy to understand why.
First, she isn't the main attraction. James Dunn and Claire Trevor are the stars. This was Temple's first feature film but she was the third, fourth or even fifth person in here, screen time-wise. The powers-that-be must have seen the bright future she had, though, and made two more films with her in the same year (1934), beginning with "Bright Eyes," and she never looked back, becoming a huge box-office attraction on her own. This particular film featured a lot more drama and crime element and that was no longer to be, too, as light-hearted singing and dancing was the ticket...not this sort of fare.
"This sort of fare" meant a climactic scene in which Shirley is kidnapped, carried to a rooftop kicking and screaming for help while her father is pursuing and her mother is frantically looking on, screaming herself. Hey, that's not a "Shirley Temple film" as we know it.
That doesn't mean this movie is all dark or doesn't offer some typically-cute Temple moments: it does. There is a great song-and-dance number with Dunn, who was good singer in his own right, and a solo earlier in the film. However, the rest is drama about Dunn and his pal trying to go straight after a prison sentence and a few guys who don't want to see that or believe it. Overall, it's a fairly interesting movie, although very dated in spots, but it's not the kind of thing Temple fans are accustomed to seeing....so be forewarned, if you haven't seen this.
When valuable pearls are stolen, two ex-cons working in
home are immediately suspected. One of these fellows has
incredibly precocious & talented little daughter who manages
to get her chubby hands on the missing necklace. When the
real thief returns, will the tiny tot handle the dangerous
situation to everyone's satisfaction? Will, once again,
TAKE A BOW?
Except for the presence of Shirley Temple, most likely this film would long ago have slipped into complete obscurity. James Dunn, Claire Trevor & the rest of the adult performers do their best with the rather tired material, but it is Shirley that one remembers. She is a darling & lights up her scenes with her sparkling personality. Everything else fades away...
Shirley Temple is wonderful. Beyond that, this is a movie that works on many levels for me. Claire Trevor brings an added dimension to the loyal wife and mother, and the ever-hard-luck-bitten James Dunn (A Tree Grows In Brooklyn) is perfect as the ex-con father trying desperately to put his past behind him. Alan Dinehart's slick and sycophantic private detective -- an embittered and opportunistic ex-cop -- does his best to pray on people's fears and keep Dunn with no recourse from the gutter. James Flavin, who later made a career playing Irish cops in the city, plays one here, albeit generally higher in rank and nobility than most of his later characters. Shirley only has two songs and one nice dance number with Dunn, but does more acting than musical work here, and is quite good at both. This is fine family entertainment amidst a backdrop of struggling to survive while the malicious and hypocritical try to keep others down. Certainly, although the movie was made in 1934, its themes are as resonant as ever.
**Some Possible Spoliers**
It was 12pm in the afternoon, and the announcer happened to indicate that a film with Shirley Temple was to come up next. My mother told me to tape the film since she thought that any film with Shirley Temple is a sure winner.
I was reluctant, but once the film started going i was rather intrigued. The story is rather good, and the actors are not so bad. Yet the adult actors tend to be a little too rigid in some moments of the film.
Shirley has to be without a doubt, the person who steals the show in this movie. Being cute and full of charm, she has the potential to just blow other actors right off the screen.
Although sometimes you wish she hadn't done things, like cut Mr Stone loose, she still remains as the best actress on screen. The last scene of the film on the rooftop was a reassuring one. There was some pretty good acting by Claire Trevor (Kay) which made the scene believeable. And the ending was rather sweet and happy (predictable).
I really enjoyed watching this film, and the scene with the coffee pot and the beads always gets me nervous. Anyone who likes old fashioned comedy, you'll be in for a treat. Shirley's charm surely makes this film worth watching.
When I got this film from Netflix, it said that this film was Shirley's
first starring full-length film. However, I noticed that "Stand Up and
Cheer!" and "Stand Up and Cheer" (among others) came out a month
earlier. In fact, about a half dozen Temple films all came out about
that time. Perhaps they meant the first full-length film where she
received top-billing--which is the case with "Baby Take a Bow".
The film begins with Eddie (James Dunn) getting out of prison and marrying his girlfriend, Kay (Claire Trevor). He then gets a job working as a chauffeur and several years pass. Now they STILL are amazingly happy and have the world's most perfect child, Shirley (Shirley Temple). But, into their idyllic world comes a serious problem--there is a jewel robbery and when their employer finds out that Eddie and his friend, Larry, both had been to prison, they are fired. A dogged cop, Welch, is convinced one or both of these men did it and he spends the rest of the film trying to return them to Sing Sing. Are they innocent? And, if so, who did it and how will they prove it? And, more importantly, will little Shirley's heart be broken?!
The film has a couple minor problems--though neither harms the film significantly. Welch is a bit one-dimensional and annoying--perhaps too annoying. Also, there is a song near the beginning that Shirley and James Dunn sing--and it's so sickeningly sweet that diabetics in the audience are encouraged to stop the film to check their blood sugar! However, the film uses a young Shirley well. She is awfully young and so she is given a part that is mostly comic relief--and so the plot itself does not rest on her small shoulders--a good decision in hindsight. And, despite the schmaltz, the film is enjoyable and fun.
This was my first attempt at watching a Shirley Temple movie, though
this film was made before she really hit it big and therefore her
screen time isn't as much as it would quickly become. The story instead
centers on a likable ex-convict Eddie Ellison (James Dunn) who has
harmless fun playing practical jokes on his friends and comes out of
jail to marry a loyal woman (Claire Trevor). Six years later, the
couple have young Shirley as their daughter and Eddie tries to hold a
job. But a bitter and nasty private investigator (Alan Dinehart) is
determined to do whatever it takes to ruin Ellison and send him back to
the slammer again and tries to nail him for a theft he wasn't involved
in. Here is where daddy's little girl helps her father out by trying to
foil the real crook.
It's easy to sense the potential which shines off Shirley Temple during her scenes with Dunn and Trevor, and the precocious little charmer does delight with some mild dancing and her cutesy antics, but this film is reportedly not one of her best. It's lightweight stuff, though probably a feature that wouldn't be remembered at all today if not for the participation of Miss Temple. ** out of ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Released in mid '34, just after the Hays film censor code went into
full effect. As usual during her Fox years, Shirley was cast as younger
than her actual age(presumably 5, rather than 6). This is one of her
earliest feature-length films, in which she is given top billing.
Actually nearly all her films were on the short side of feature length,
this one a mere 76 min.. She seems noticeably younger than in "Bright
Eyes", released at the end of that year, being treated more like a
young child than a little girl with grown up ambitions. Of course, it
was released in B&W, although I watched the colorized version. The
screenplay is based on the '27 play and '28 silent film titled "Square
Crooks", which lacked Shirley's character. This title may seem
self-contradictory, but the point is that 2 men(Eddie Ellison and Larry
Scott), who spent time in prison for some undisclosed crimes are trying
to go straight after their release. We know that, in real life, this is
often difficult, partly due to employer's prejudice against ex-cons. In
this film, these two have some things going for them as well as against
them. Ellison earns a recommendation from the prison superintendent,
and has a beautiful girl(Claire Trevor, as Kay) waiting to marry him
upon his release. They spend a romantic honeymoon at Niagara Falls, and
make plans for the future.
However, Eddie and Scott have two important nemeses in the context of the plot. Cigar-chomping detective Welch(played by 'heavy' Alan Dinehart) has a fixation on trying to catch or frame Eddie relating to some crime, so that he can send him back to prison. His motto is "Once a crook, always a crook". He tries to make it impossible for Eddie to land or keep a job, by revealing to the employer his ex-con status. The same goes for Scott. Although not much emphasized, one scene early in the film suggests that Welch is particularly keen to make normal life for Eddie impossible because he has long lusted for his wife Kay, beginning with his involvement in Eddie's conviction. But, Kay hates Welch....Their second nemesis is 'Trigger' Stone(Ralf Harolde), an acquaintance of Eddie, who was sent to Sing Sing the same day that Eddie was released. In contrast to Eddie and Scott, who got out early for good behavior, Trigger brags about what mischief he will do when he gets out. When he gets out, just before Shirley's birthday, he heads back to NYC, steals a valuable necklace from the employer of Eddie and Scott (the Carsons), then looks for Eddie and Scott to help him 'dispose' of the necklace. But they refuse.
Before Trigger's release, we've spent some time getting acquainted with Shirley: the adorable young daughter of Eddie and Kay, seeing the love between her and her parents and between her parents. Welch now tells Carson about the ex-con status of Eddie and Scott, and that he suspects them of stealing the necklace. Carson fires them, in response. Nonetheless, a big birthday party for Shirley goes ahead. She puts on a demonstration of some of the dancing skills she has learned. She sings the catchy "On Account'a I Love You" , with Eddie participating in the singing and dancing later in the act. At the end, 'baby takes a bow'. Next morning, Trigger again comes looking for Eddie and Scott, but spies a familiar detective on the street, causing him to sneak the necklace to Shirley, as a 'birthday present', then disappears. Shirley slips it into Eddie's jacket pocket, and tries to play hide and seek with the preoccupied Eddie. Just then, Welch shows up looking for the necklace. Of course, Eddie and Scott are sure he won't find it there, until Eddie checks his jacket pocket. It's then hidden in the coffee pot, and they sweat it out when Welch wants a cup of coffee. Shirley latter pulls it out of the coffee pot, and gives it to Eddie when Welch is searching another room. It's now hidden in the carpet sweeper, which is borrowed by a neighbor, who then empties the contents into the outside trash can. All, including Welch, have quite a time trying to find the necklace in the retrieved sweeper. Fortuitously, Shirley later finds it in the trash. Trigger comes looking for the necklace, but is knocked unconscious by Eddie and tied up, before Eddie runs for the police. Shirley then encounters Trigger, who convincers her to cut his ropes. He takes the necklace from her and grabs her as a shield against capture. In the following chase, wounded Eddie finally knocks Trigger out with a head blow from behind. Detectives arrive, and Shirley pulls the necklace out of Trigger's pocket. Welch arrives and claims that Eddie and Scott had the necklace all the time. But, the detectives don't buy that, and announce that Shirley will get the reward for recovering the necklace. The still arguing Welch is backed up until he falls through a skylight onto the Ellison's bed, causing the pillows to burst their feathers, which cover him, for a happy ending.
Despite all the contrived coincidences. this was a fun film. Shirley is cute, cuddly, and, for once, in a stable family relationship from start to finish. Obviously, she had great rapport with James Dunn, as again shown in "Bright Eyes", as well as with Claire Trevor, as her mother. Alan Dinehart was as much fun, as the butt of verbal and physical humor, as he was sinister. ..It's true that Dunn and Ray Walker, as Scott, seem far too nice to have been crooks, in contrast to Trigger's sinister demeanor.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
That's what practically everybody is wondering here. Ex-con James Dunn
has been sacked from his job as a chauffeur because of a jewel heist at
his employer's. But the real thief makes sure that his daughter
(Shirley Temple) ends up with them so the police won't catch him with
the stolen goods. With obnoxious detective Alan Dinehart on Dunn's
trail, this threatens Dunn's freedom. But with "Little Miss Fix It"
(Temple) on hand, its only a matter of time before everything is
Having sung the song "Baby, Take a Bow!" in the same year's "Stand Up and Cheer!" (a homage to surviving the depression), Temple rose to top billing with this film. Dunn and his frequent co-star Claire Trevor play her loving parents and are just as good. This film gets a little agitating when Dinehart is on screen; He invades Dunn's house without a search warrant, and they simply let him go about his business. But these types of movies aren't always about reality; After all, this wasn't made at Warner Brothers where gangster films were a lot grittier and New York kids spoke with a tougher edge than Shirley can muster. Dunn and Temple perform a cute little number (a must in one of Shirley's films) that is the highlight of the film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first few films that Shirley made showed her as a cute, talented
youngster in situations were the adults were adults and made most of
the decisions. This was one of the few films where she had both a
father and mother (who were fit and well). With "The Little Colonel"
(1935) she became a star and appropriate vehicles were written so all
the other actors supported her. I prefer the earlier films (when I
watch Shirley Temple at all) when she was just a cute kid who was
treated like a child by the adults around her.
Kay (gorgeous Claire Trevor) is going to Ossining to meet Eddie Ellison who has just got out of Sing Sing. They are then off to Niagara Falls to be married. On the train she bumps into Welch (Alan Dinehart), a sleazy private investigator. He has always had a soft spot for her but she has never forgiven him for sending Eddie to jail. There is a nice scene at Niagara Falls where Eddie and Kay plan their future. (Dunn and Trevor made a couple of films together and have an easy camaraderie). Six years later Eddie is a chauffeur at the wealthy Carson residence and he has also secured his friend Larry Scott a job. Adorable Shirley Temple plays their little daughter Shirley, who we first meet at a dancing school where she is showing her mother a new step she has learned. There are several scenes involving Shirley doing cute things (playing hide and seek with her daddy, doing morning exercises with her mother).
The main story is more dramatic than the usual Temple fare with Ellison and Scott trying to go straight. They are being stymied at every turn by Welch, who has a vendetta against them. Another inmate, Trigger,(Ralf Harolde) is released and steals some pearls from the Carson residence. Ellison and Scott, who have kept quiet about their stay in the big house are found out and reluctantly asked to leave their jobs. That night there is a big rooftop party for Shirley and she (looking completely gorgeous in a frilly pink party dress) and Eddie steal the show with a catchy and comic rendition of "On Accounta I Love You". They also do a cute dance. It is clear that she and Dunn had great chemistry together.
Trigger sees Shirley playing in the street and gives her the pearls to hide - she instantly starts a hide and seek game with her unsuspecting dad, his friend Larry and Welch. The pearls eventually end up in a carpet sweeper, the carpet sweeper is emptied in the trash and the pearls are gone. There is an exciting chase across the rooftops with Trigger kidnapping little Shirley. (Is this the first and only time Shirley was manhandled by a baddie???) There is a shoot out with Eddie hurt but in the end triumphant.
You somehow know Claire Trevor is destined for better things. She doesn't have a lot to do but makes the most of the key scenes she has.
Eddie Ellison (James Dunn) made a big mistake and ending up serving time in Sing Sing. However, his lovely fiancé, Kay (Claire Trevor) waits for him and even takes him to Niagara Falls to get married on the day he leaves prison. Now, six years later, they live in New York City with their little girl, Shirley (Shirley Temple). Eddie presently works as a chauffeur and even got his good buddy a job with the same company. But, a crooked insurance investigator is certain that Eddie will break the law again and he watches the home constantly. On the day of Shirley's birthday, Eddie and Shirley entertain guests with their jokes, songs, and dances. But, things get complicated when an old, thieving friend of Eddie's gives Shirley a "hot" pearl necklace. He does this to bring Eddie back into the criminal fold but Shirley thinks it is a birthday gift. A ton of confusion reigns soon after as Eddie tries to hide the necklace from the insurance man and Shirley believes it is all an elaborate game of hide and seek. Will Eddie get fingered? This is a fun movie with a few dark elements, surprising in a Temple film. Shirley is adorable, young and talented, displaying her amazing talents for comedy, song, and dance. Dunn, too, is a stitch as her joking father, who is trying his best to go straight, while Trevor is very beautiful and touching as the faithful wife and mother. All of the lesser actors fulfill their roles quite nicely, too. The colorized version I watched had nice sets, costumes, songs, plot elements, and direction. If you like light comedy and vaudeville-type song-and-stomp, this is a good choice for you. Although there is a touch of violence, the sunny nature of the main players and their antics make it almost a second cousin to a Marx Brothers flick. My recommendation is to take a dose of Shirley on a day without sunshine, you'll feel like new.
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