Elizabeth, a delivery girl, dreams of being a music-hall singer but she is refused at the first casting she takes part in. A bit depressed, she gets to know Victor, a would-be Shakespearean... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Sonnie Hale ...
...
Princess Miranoff
Griffith Jones ...
Robert
Alfred Drayton ...
Mr. McLintock
Constance Godridge ...
Beryl
Eddie Gray ...
Goose Trainer
Martita Hunt ...
Madame Seraphina
Donald Stewart ...
Singer
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Storyline

Elizabeth, a delivery girl, dreams of being a music-hall singer but she is refused at the first casting she takes part in. A bit depressed, she gets to know Victor, a would-be Shakespearean actor and another audition victim. When Victor quite unexpectedly gets a female part in a music-hall number he unfortunately finds himself voiceless. Why wouldn't Elizabeth replace it? His new friend hesitates but finally makes her debut as ... a man posing for a woman! She is noticed by McLintock, an influential talent agent who hires Mr. Victoria (Elizabeth's stage name) and launches his/her brilliant international career. One day, Robert, a handsome young man engaged to Princess Mironoff, makes friends with this young man posing as a woman posing as a man ... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

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Details

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Release Date:

31 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mulher Antes de Tudo  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The climactic musical number in a gigantic birdcage was filmed in the open air at night at Gaumont British's 70 acre backlot at Northolt. See more »

Goofs

Elizabeth's hands pose differently between shots when Victor brings medicine to her. See more »

Quotes

[pointing to male dressing room]
Elizabeth: [to Victor] Listen - I've put your trousers on, but I'm not going to take them off in *there*!
See more »

Connections

Remade as Victor/Victoria (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep Tempo
(uncredited)
Written by Jack Stanley and George A. Little
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User Reviews

 
The best of it is funny and for its time a bit daring. Fun, funny, stiff, and improbable. Yes.
15 July 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First a Girl (1935)

Musicals in the 1930s were stiff mash-ups of song and dance numbers until the geometric fantasies of Busby Berkeley and then the narrative Fred Astaire movies, both in beginning in 1933 and 1934. This is a weird 1935 British affair that's well-enough filmed to remind you of Berkeley but is tepid by comparison. And as for plot, it takes awhile to get to that, following some decent and sometimes almost surreal dance/fashion scenes.

This is, in short, the original movie version of "Victor/Victoria." Once you get into the story, which will still be interrupted by old-fashioned feeling dance numbers, you'll get the cross-dressing stuff. All in fun. The leading woman (who does the switching, just as Julie Andrews did in the famous remake) is Jessie Matthews, who is a sort of Ginger Rogers type with a doll face. It's the doll face, highly feminine, that removes some of the credibility of the story--she does look slightly like a boy, when dressed as a man, but it doesn't quite carry. And of course, the point is to fool at least the other characters. The leading man Victor, played by Sonnie Hale, is also a problem, at least for audiences today, because he lacks charm, or sincerity, or pathos, or whatever might carry him through along with Matthews. He is meant to be the set-up for what "Victoria" has to do. But he's usually too dull for his own good, or he tries too hard. Matthews, at least, is purely charming and delightful. By the final number, however, when the tables are turned once again, Victor comes into his own. You might see it coming, but then it's divine.

It gives nothing away to say that the changing identities ruse is eventually suspected and the tension then begins. It's all done with a bit of stiffness, and filmed with uniform bright intensity, which makes it all a bit superficial, but is still enjoyable.


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