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Three Smart Girls (1936)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Musical, Romance  |  20 December 1936 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 769 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 12 critic

Three sisters scheme to reunite their divorced parents before their wealthy father marries a conniving gold digger.

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(original story), (screen play), 5 more credits »
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Title: Three Smart Girls (1936)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Binnie Barnes ...
Charles Winninger ...
...
Mrs. Lyons
...
Lord Michael Stuart
...
Count Arisztid
Ernest Cossart ...
Lucile Watson ...
Martha
John 'Dusty' King ...
Bill Evans (as John King)
...
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Wilbur Lamb
Nan Grey ...
Barbara Read ...
Kay
...
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Storyline

The three Craig sisters, in Switzerland with their ten-years-divorced mother, run away to New York to prevent their father from marrying calculating socialite Donna Lyons. The overpowering vivacity of the Smart Girls (nominal ages 14-20) sweeps all before it, but a romantic complication between middle sister Kay and their accidental ally, Lord Michael Stuart, threatens shipwreck to their schemes... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Trois jeunes filles à la page  »

Box Office

Budget:

$326,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was reportedly when viewing the rushes that the decision was made to increase Deanna Durbin's screen time in the picture. See more »

Goofs

In the 'long shot', Penny dives headfirst into the lake, getting thoroughly drenched, but in the nearly immediate 'medium shot', she has dry hair, hat, and face as she swims to shore. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Lyons: I thought you were a gentleman!
Judson Craig: I'm not a gentleman, I'm a father!
Mrs. Lyons: You're an old fool!
Judson Craig: And you're an old
[pauses to think]
Judson Craig: buzzard!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hers to Hold (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Someone to Care for Me
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Bronislau Kaper and Walter Jurmann
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Performed by Binnie Barnes (piano and vocal)
Reprised by Deanna Durbin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
And introducing Universal's new discovery
5 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Deanna Durbin, Nan Grey and Barbara Read are "Three Smart Girls" in this Universal film from 1936, which introduces Deanna Durbin to film audiences. It also stars Ray Milland, Mischa Auer, Charles Winninger, John King, Binnie Barnes and Alice Brady. It's a sweet story about three young women, now living in Switzerland with their divorced mother, who hear their father (Winninger) is marrying again. Not having seen him in 10 years and knowing their mother still loves him, they board a ship to America, with the help of the housekeeper/nanny, determined to stop the wedding. Realizing that the intended, called "Precious" (Barnes) is nothing but a gold-digger aided and abetted by her mother (Brady), they arrange for her to be introduced to a wealthy Count. This is arranged by their father's accountant (King). The man he chooses is a full-time drunk (Auer), but the girls mistake him for an actual wealthy count (Milland). What a mess.

This is a delightful film, not cloying or overly sugary at all, with some nice performances, particularly by Auer, Milland, Barnes and Brady. The young women are pretty and all do good work. The emphasis, of course, is on young Durbin, who is a natural actress and a beautifully-trained singer. In fact, her voice as a youngster is much more even than it would be as an adult - she has no trouble with the high notes, as she did later on because she put too much weight in the middle voice. She sings a delightful "Il Bacio" in a police station.

One of the nicest things about the film is to see the father, played by Charles Winninger, not want his children around - until he sees them and gets to know them. Barnes as the gold-digger isn't all that young, but the girls' mother looks way up there, so the inference probably was the older man seeking his youth with a younger, more glamorous woman. In fact, he finds the youth he was seeking in his daughters.

Universal gives Durbin the big star buildup here - she has the final shot in the movie. Ray Milland at this point was still paying his dues, and it will probably be a surprise even to film fans how young and attractive he is.

Very entertaining and of course, this led to a sequel and big stardom for Deanna.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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