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Finishing School (1934)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  4 May 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 289 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 13 critic

The trials and tribulations in a private, snobbish girls school.


(as George Nicholls Jr.) ,


, (story), 3 more credits »
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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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Educande d'America  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


Billie: Would you loan me one of your brassieres?
Pony: What for?
Billie: Well you see, I haven't got one and I thought seeing as it's Christmas and everything, and I'm going on a house party and, well, when the maid unpacks my bag and finds I haven't got one, how do you think I'm going to feel?
Pony: It's like putting a saddle on a pekingese but here it is.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


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

not terribly enjoyable
22 April 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A great cast can't help this dated look at "Finishing School," from 1934. I decided to watch it based on the presence of Frances Dee and Ginger Rogers, both of whom are always delightful. They are here, too.

Francis Dee plays a young woman, Virginia, who is sent to finishing school at the behest of her shallow mother (Billie Burke). She is turned over to the head of the school (Beulah Bondi) and given a set of rules. When she meets her roommate (Rogers) and her roommate's wild crowd, she discovers that the only one paying attention to rules is her. She agrees to go away for a weekend with Rogers, friends, and Rogers' aunt (an actress playing a role). Then it's a wild time in the city, especially when Virginia meets Dr. Ralph McFarland, who works as a waiter (read: unacceptable job) while doing his internship. They fall in love, but the upper crust at the school, only interested in appearances, attempt to break them up. Alas, it's a little too late for that. And you really have to be sharp to figure out why! I'd like to think this sort of thing has gone out of style, but I have a nagging feeling that it hasn't. Can there really still be places that teach one the difference between a tea and a reception, and how many calling cards to leave when people are not at home? Well, they still do have débutante balls, so maybe there are - but let's face it, "coming out" parties have a new meaning today. We do know that there is still a lot of shallowness in the world, so perhaps "Finishing School" isn't so dated after all.

Bruce Cabot is enjoyable and good-looking as Virginia's suitor, and there is a nice performance from Anne Shirley, who wants to fit in with the older set. Rogers stands out as usual in her supporting role and keeps the pace going. Dee was so pretty and natural, it's a shame she left movies, but hey, I would have done that - and more - for Joel McCrea.

Interesting for the cast and as a look at an upper class woman's responsibilities back in the '30s.

13 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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