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Colleen (1936)

Approved | | Musical, Romance | 21 March 1936 (USA)
The Ames Company makes every effort to keep Uncle Cedric away from any decisions or work. This is in the best interests for him and the company. Trouble starts when he hires a schemer named... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Colleen Reilly
Joe Cork
Minnie Hawkins
Cedric Ames
Alicia Ames
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Pop Reilly
Charles Coleman ...


The Ames Company makes every effort to keep Uncle Cedric away from any decisions or work. This is in the best interests for him and the company. Trouble starts when he hires a schemer named Joe as his personal assistant and then a gal named Minnie who loves fashion. He buys Minnie a dress shop where Colleen is the bookkeeper and scandal soon follows. When Donald goes to shut down the shop, he doesn't as he is infatuated by Colleen. Colleen runs the shop and fashion shows and starts to make a profit, but Minnie starts a scandal when Cedric tries to adopt her, but doesn't - much to the horror of Alicia and the amusement of the press. Then Joe sues Donald for the loss of Colleen's affection. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


DICK POWELL Starts Singing....RUBY KEELER Starts Tapping... See more »


Musical | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 March 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Colleen, A Modista  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The $50,000 Ames paid out to settle everything would equal nearly $870,000 in 2016. See more »


Cedric Ames: [aboard an ocean liner] Ah, the sparkling salt air. Nothing like an ocean voyage - nothing, nothing!
Alicia Ames: [she's seasick] No, except ptomaine poisoning. I'm never going to Europe again until they build a bridge from New York.
See more »


Edited into Six Hits and a Miss (1942) See more »


You Gotta Know How to Dance
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Played during the opening photo credits and sung with special lyrics by Dick Powell,
Ruby Keeler, Jack Oakie, Joan Blondell, Hugh Herbert, Louise Fazenda,
, Luis Alberni and Marie Wilson and chorus and tap-danced by Paul Draper and chorus
Sung by Dick Powell, danced by Paul Draper and Ruby Keeler in the finale
Played also as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

Pleasant if bland final collaboration with Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell
3 November 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Of Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell's collaborations together, 'Colleen' is, along with 'Shipmates Forever', their weakest. This is not in any way saying that it's bad, because it isn't.

It's just that the pair did make much stronger films, that had more memorable songs and much better choreographed dance numbers, especially '42nd Street', 'Footlight Parade' and 'Goldiggers of 1933'. 'Dames' is also great fun, and 'Flirtation Walk' has enough charm and likability to make up for the flawed story.

There are numerous pleasures here. Joan Blondell and Jack Oakie come very close to stealing the film. Blondell is a bundle of joy with a natural screen presence and irresistible charm and Oakie is a lot of fun. Their scene together is a sheer delight and for me the highlight of 'Colleen'.

Keeler and Powell themselves don't disappoint either. Powell sings beautifully and is very likable, and while singing is not a strong suit of hers (and that to be honest is putting it mildly) Keeler fares better at dancing than in a few of her previous films and also has the charm and likability factor. While none of the songs are hits, they are still very pleasant and more than listenable, certainly deserving of better dance direction.

Didn't care for Hugh Herbert personally. He does have some amusing moments, but it just felt too much of The Hugh Herbert Show and, while some parts are entertaining, his broad and effete style of comedy did get tiresome. The script has the odd nice moment, but overall it's pretty feeble. The story is both silly and flimsy, yes even for a musical comedy.

One always says that musicals shouldn't be judged for their stories but it does depend though on how well executed the rest of the elements are, and 'Colleen' was an example of one where some things were done well and others left wanting. Paul Draper is like agreed a minor Fred Astaire without the elegance or grace, and he shows severe limitations as an actor, even in his dance with Keeler Keeler outperforms him by a country mile.

Lastly, the choreography and dance direction were seriously uninspired and leaden, am aware that you can't have Busby Berkeley all the time but the dance direction and how things were choreographed had such a lack of imagination that they were crying out for his involvement.

All in all, pleasant if bland. Watchable, but this should have been a better swansong collaboration overall for Keeler and Powell. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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