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Finishing School (1934)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 4 May 1934 (USA)
The trials and tribulations in a private, snobbish girls school.

Directors:

(as George Nicholls Jr.),

Writers:

, (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Mrs. Helen Crawford Radcliff
...
Cecilia 'Pony' Ferris
...
Ralph McFarland - intern
...
Mr. Frank S. Radcliff
...
Miss Van Alstyne
Sara Haden ...
Miss Fisher
Helen Freeman ...
Dr. Hewitt
Marjorie Lytell ...
Ruth Wallace
Adalyn Doyle ...
Madeleine 'Maggy' Kelly
...
Billie (as Dawn O'Day)
Irene Franklin ...
Aunt Jessica - Pretender
Ann Cameron ...
Miss Schmidt
Rose Coghlan ...
Miss Edith Garland
Caroline Rankin ...
Miss Weber
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Storyline

Virginia Radcliff, a remarkably unspoiled but naive rich-kid, finds herself at a swank girls' school where everything appears prim and proper, but the motto is essentially "Don't Get Caught." On a surreptitious field trip to the city (engineered by "Pony"), Virginia meets Ralph, a struggling lower/middle-class med student who delivers room service at a hotel at night. They fall in love, much to the outrage of the school's headmistress (Beulah Bondi) and the embarrassment of her otherwise indifferent mother. Written by Chris Holland <cholland@atlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Educande d'America  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The date written on Virginia's application form at the beginning of the film is September 11, 1933. See more »

Quotes

Virginia: Gee, Pony, Mac's a grand person.
Pony: Well, he's gonna be awfully out of place among those Little Lord Fauntleroys they drag in here every Sunday. If you took all the hair off of their combined chests, you wouldn't have enough to make a wig for a grape.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The characters "Mr. Radcliff" and "Mrs. Radcliff" are listed as "Mr. Radcliffe" and Mrs. Radcliffe" in the credits. See more »


Soundtracks

Silent Night
Music by Franz Gruber
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr
Played by church bells on Christmas Eve
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Francis Dee Shines In A Drama With Something To Say
19 July 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The first indication that "Finishing School" is worth watching is that the Catholic church placed the film on its condemned list for 1934. But it has so much more than that to recommend it.

The star of the film is Francis Dee, who plays Virginia Radcliff, the teenage daughter of rich parents who send her off to get educated in the finer aspects of life. The mother--played by Billie Burke--seems to have little use for the daughter and is quite happy to "drop her on the doorstep" and retire to her social agenda.

Crockett Hall is an exclusive girls school where exclusivity implies a lack of racial diversity and an emphasis on blueblood backgrounds. At first the school seems like a backdrop for a film comedy about coming of age and the harmless hijinks of young women. But Virginia soon learns that Crockett is little more than a prison where the ridiculous rules of etiquette are but a small part of the personality engineering to which the girls are subjected.

Virginia forges quality relationships with a small clique, including "Pony" Ferris, played by Ginger Rogers. Being a fan of Ms. Rogers, I was pleased to find that by this time in her career she is a fully-formed, competent actress.

As the harsh headmistress, Miss Van Alstyne (played by Beulah Bondi), cracks down on the indiscretions of Virginia--especially the indiscretion of being "too different"--and we find that this teen comedy has morphed into a significant drama. Francis Dee is more than up to the challenge with her convincing portrayal of a woman who is fighting for her sanity and her life. Indeed, she raises Virginia to the level of heroine.

"Finishing School" is a stylish film with great acting. It deals with sophisticated issues and gives the viewer an emotional journey.


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