IMDb > Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
Sylvia Scarlett
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Sylvia Scarlett (1935) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Gladys Unger (screenplay) &
John Collier (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Sylvia Scarlett on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 December 1935 (USA) See more »
Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who... See more » | Add synopsis »
(10 articles)
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User Reviews:
Is she, or isn't he? See more (36 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Katharine Hepburn ... Sylvia Scarlett a.k.a. Sylvester

Cary Grant ... Jimmy Monkley

Brian Aherne ... Michael Fane

Edmund Gwenn ... Henry Scarlett
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Adair ... Turnkey (uncredited)
Bunny Beatty ... Maid (uncredited)
May Beatty ... Older Woman on Ship (uncredited)
Daisy Belmore ... Fat Woman on Beach (uncredited)
Carmen Beretta ... Woman (uncredited)
Nina Borget ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Thomas Braidon ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Elsa Buchanan ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Colin Campbell ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Patricia Caron ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Harold Cheevers ... Bobby (uncredited)
E.E. Clive ... Customs Inspector (uncredited)
Edward Cooper ... Customs Inspector (uncredited)
Adrienne D'Ambricourt ... Stewardess (uncredited)
Kay Deslys ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Nola Dolberg ... Woman in Bathing Suit (uncredited)
Elspeth Dudgeon ... Older Woman (uncredited)
Harold Entwistle ... Conductor (uncredited)
Gaston Glass ... Purser (uncredited)
Daisy Goodill ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Robert Hale ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Alec Harford ... Man Taking Half a Crown (uncredited)
Peter Hobbes ... Steward (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten ... Customs Inspector (uncredited)
Lilyan Irene ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Lorimer Johnston ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Connie La Mont ... Girl at Park Scam (uncredited)
Gwendolyn Logan ... Concerned Woman (uncredited)
Elsie Mackay ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Ella McKenzie ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Dennie Moore ... Maudie Tilt - the Maid (uncredited)
Frank Moran ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Edmund Mortimer ... Park Scam Onlooker (uncredited)
Leonard Mudie ... Train Steward (uncredited)
George Nardelli ... Frenchman (uncredited)
Natalie Paley ... Lily Levetsky (uncredited)
Lionel Pape ... Sergeant Major (uncredited)
Lennox Pawle ... Drunk (uncredited)
Ethel Rawson ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Harrington Reynolds ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Roger Roughton ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Violet Seton ... Minor Role (uncredited)
C. Montague Shaw ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Dina Smirnova ... Russian (uncredited)
Pat Somerset ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Jacques Vanaire ... Steward (uncredited)
Michael Visaroff ... Purser (uncredited)

Directed by
George Cukor 
Writing credits
Gladys Unger (screenplay) &
John Collier (screenplay) &
Mortimer Offner (screenplay)

Compton MacKenzie (novel) (as Compton Mac Kenzie)

Produced by
Pandro S. Berman .... producer
Original Music by
Roy Webb (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Joseph H. August (photographed by) (as Joseph August)
Film Editing by
Jane Loring (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Van Nest Polglase 
Makeup Department
Mel Berns .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kenneth Holmes .... assistant director (uncredited)
Argyle Nelson .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Sturges Carne .... associate art director
Sound Department
George D. Ellis .... recordist
Special Effects by
Harry Redmond Sr. .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Louie Anderson .... grip (uncredited)
Ernest Bachrach .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Muriel King .... costumes: Miss Hepburn
Bernard Newman .... costumes: Miss Paley
Music Department
Philip Faulkner Jr. .... music recordist (as P.J. Faulkner Jr.)
Roy Webb .... musical director
Other crew
Patricia Doyle .... stand-in: Katharine Hepburn (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
95 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Victor System)
Argentina:16 | Finland:K-16 | Portugal:M/12 (DVD rating) | Spain:13 | UK:A (original rating) (cut: by 1 min 17 sec) | UK:U (tv rating) | UK:U (video rating) (1986) (1997) | USA:TV-PG | USA:Approved (certificate #1697)

Did You Know?

After a disastrous preview, director George Cukor and Katharine Hepburn went to RKO producer Pandro S. Berman's home and offered their services for free for another film. Berman, who was furious at the quality of the movie, replied tersely, "Don't bother please."See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: In the scene in which Sylvia and Michael are having a conversation and then lie down to go to sleep, their conversation continues though their lips have stopped moving.See more »
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."See more »
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20 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
Is she, or isn't he?, 6 April 2001
Author: lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida

SYLVIA SCARLETT (RKO Radio, 1935/released early January 1936), directed by George Cukor, and starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Brian Aherne, is a movie that was somewhat ahead of its time. In the early 1970s during the so-called "nostalgia boom" era, I kept hearing about this being the worst Katharine Hepburn movie ever made. Because of that reputation, I became curious. Could it really be that bad? In a TV documentary about classic movies I saw many years ago, Hepburn was interviewed and said the majority of the theater patrons walked out long before the movie was over. Today it has gained a reputation as a "camp classic." Well, I finally got to watch this curious item for the first time on public television's WNET, Channel 13, in New York City in 1977 as part of the Katharine Hepburn Film Festival, which aired every Saturday night. After watching it, I kept wondering if this was supposed to be a comedy or drama. I guess a combination of both.

As for the plot, which opens in Paris, Henry Scarlett (Edmund Gwenn) commits larceny and takes off aboard ship with his daughter, Sylvia (Hepburn). To put the authorities off the track, she decides to cut her long hair and accompany him disguised as Scarlett's son, "Sylvester." They later meet up with a fast-talking swindler named Jimmy Monkley (Cary Grant) and travel with him around England like gypsies, making some easy money by cheating the public. Later, Sylvia, still disguised as Sylvester, encounters Michael Fane (Brian Aherne), an artist, and becomes interested in him, to later abandon her disguise to win him over.

Of the entire cast, Cary Grant comes off best in a very offbeat role, cockney accent and all, thus stealing every scene he's in. He even gets the closing shot sitting in a train compartment laughing himself silly after looking out the window and seeing Sylvia running off with Michael. Also in the cast are Natalie Paley as Lily, a Russian adventuress who tries to nab Henry Scarlett for herself, causing tragedy for him; and Dennie Moore as a daffy servant girl.

In spite of its reputation, SYLVIA SCARLETT is more interesting to see today because of the premise of a woman masquerading as a man/boy which pre-dates the more recent, VICTOR/VICTORIA (1982) with Julie Andrews. But let's not forget the 1933 MGM drama, QUEEN Christina in which Greta Garbo's character is mistaken for a young lad by an ambassador from Spain (John Gilbert), but at least that masquerade didn't go on for the entire movie. Unfortunately, Hepburn's version is an idea that might have looked good on paper, but not on screen. She does make a convincing boy, so to speak, in spite of her height, but I wonder how she felt about it years after it was made. A box office bomb at the time of its release, Hepburn and Grant did get to work together in screen again in three more comedies, BRINGING UP BABY (RKO, 1938), HOLIDAY (Columbia, 1938) and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (MGM, 1940). SYLVIA SCARLETT, which formerly played on American Movie Classics prior to 2000, can be seen on Turner Classic Movies, or as a video rental. (**1/2)

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