Little Martha Jane, aka Little Miss Marker (Temple) is left with the bookmaker Sorrowful Jones by her dad as part of a bet on a horserace. Sorrowful (Menjou) and his group of fellow bookies... See full summary »
Little Martha Jane, aka Little Miss Marker (Temple) is left with the bookmaker Sorrowful Jones by her dad as part of a bet on a horserace. Sorrowful (Menjou) and his group of fellow bookies take to her, reluctantly at first, but their cynical ways start to rub off on her. Will a party set at Camelot bring back her faith in humanity? Written by
This is a precode film, so the bad guys don't have to be punished for their crimes, and its a good thing because most of the lovable characters would have ended up with long jail sentences if the film had been made a year or two later.
This movie may be disappointing for Shirley Temple fans as she does relative little. Most of the movie concerns the rough gangsters whose life is disrupted by her. They are wonderful characters, while Temple does little more than act like "the doll" that the characters often call her.
Adolph Menjou and Dorothy Dell really carries the movie. Menjou gives an hilariously understated performance as cheap gambler "Sorrowful Jones" Menjou was a fashionable dresser, so it is particularly funny to see him unkempt in wrinkled clothes for most of the movie. Whereas Walter Matthau played the role with a wink, Menjou plays it quite straight. Sorrowful Jones is a sorrowful human being in this movie. Dorothy Dell gives a terrific Mae West style performance as gangster moll/nightclub singer Bangles Carson. It is assured and polished, and it is impossible to believe that she was only 19 when she did it.
Incidentally Dorothy Dell and Dorothy Lamour were best friends as teenagers. When she won the Miss USA beauty pageant, Dorothy Dell invited Dorothy Lamour to come with her to Hollywood. In her autobiography, "My Side of the Road," Lamour notes that they went to the premiere of the Marx's Brother's "Animal Crackers" together in 1930. Dell helped and influenced Lamour to start her career.
Also watch some of the great comic actors in small parts here. Lynn Overman as Regret and Warren Hymer as Sore Toe are flawless.
This film is more than an excellent Shirley Temple star vehicle, it a comic masterpiece with Shirley Temple as the icing on the cake.
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