6.2/10
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42 user 35 critic

Sylvia Scarlett (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 3 January 1936 (USA)
Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who, to avoid detection, "disguises" herself as a boy, "Sylvester." They are ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

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Storyline

Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who, to avoid detection, "disguises" herself as a boy, "Sylvester." They are joined by amiable con man Jimmy Monkley, then, after a brief career in crime, meet Maudie Tilt, a giddy, sexy Cockney housemaid who joins them in the new venture of entertaining at resort towns from a caravan. Through all this, amazingly no one recognizes that Sylvia is not a boy...until she meets handsome artist Michael Fane, and drama intrudes on the comedy. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

3 January 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

En förtjusande pojke  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$641,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael's car is a 1932 Wolseley Hornet. See more »

Goofs

When Sylvia is cracking eggs, she cracks and opens the second egg twice. See more »

Quotes

Michael Fane: [speaking to Sylvia dressed as a boy] "I say, uh! I know what it is that gives me a queer feeling when I look at you. There's something in you to be painted."
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Connections

Featured in Kisses (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

WHO WANTS A KISS FROM ME?
(uncredited)
Written by Alberto Colombo
Sung by Dennie Moore
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User Reviews

 
eh.
5 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

You can't really love this picture, to be honest, though I really do want to love anything with Hepburn. In fact, this was the first time I ever caught myself thinking she'd put in a second-rate performance, but that's arguable - some will say that her boyishness actually was well done, and I can't entirely disagree with that.

The truth is that this movie is bursting with melodramatic affectation, and that is rather off-putting to us who are so used to the post-Brando state of character representation. We have to believe that the actor IS the character for the whole thing (writing, characterization, acting, everything) to be a success. If we are embarrassed by what we perceive as a bad performance, the whole thing's in danger of being embarrassing. Now I am no expert on 30s cinema, but I have seen a lot of this kind of thing originating from that decade and I kind of reckon it was the expected style of performance, still left-over from the silent days when body language was all a performer had. Knowing what Hepburn would be capable of bringing later, I think it can't be that she relied on the melodrama like a crutch - instead it's my feeling that she was too easily by Cukor's direction, since many of the other cast members act similarly.

The script is also weak, as it relies on the audience using their imagination far too much in order to fill in the gaps we assume exist in the novel. A good writer/director team will indicate passage of time more fluidly than this; we are left with a lurching sensation, like weeks or months have passed for the characters but not for us, and some might even be confused by the sudden shift of action. If it hadn't been for this clumsiness, I would have given the picture another star for scope.

The film gets the five stars I gave it for Cary Grant's performance, which is one of the best of his career, a superb, well rounded job, and of course it is good enough to deserve a recommendation for the film, even if everything else about it was not-so-good.


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