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Three Smart Girls (1936)

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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 671 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 12 critic

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



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

Three Smart Girls (1936) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »





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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 December 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Smart Girls  »

Box Office


$326,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Penny loses her shoes after she dives into the lake, but regains them a few seconds later. See more »


Mrs. Lyons: You say the most amusing things, Count.
Lord Michael Stuart: Family trait, you know; a ready wit and complete lack of character. We drink, you know.
[Kay kicks him under the table]
Mrs. Lyons: [laughing] Oh, how amusing! You drink. Oh, yes, of course, you drink.
Lord Michael Stuart: They're funny things, these family traits. For instance, the Stuarts drink and the Craigs, they like to kick people. Tell me, what do the Lyonses do, madam?
Mrs. Lyons: The Lyons roar!
[laughs giddily]
See more »


Featured in Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood (2009) See more »


Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Music by Richard Wagner
In the score when the wedding announcement appears in a newpaper
See more »

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User Reviews

Charming & Funny
14 July 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This charming, funny movie combines Deanna Durbin's numerous talents with a far-fetched but enjoyable story, a set of interesting characters, and a cast and settings that make it all work. It combines the feel of the old screwball comedies with a little of the pace of a vintage musical, and a dash of commentary on family life. The combination works well, and is not as easy as it looks, as is so often demonstrated by the numerous gauche, hammy "family comedies" of more recent years.

Although she was quite young at the time, Durbin already had quite a singing voice, and she also had the kind of stage presence that allows her young character to take command of a scene in ways that would otherwise seem forced. She and the other two of the "Three Smart Girls" make a winning and energetic set of heroines. The rest of the cast members do well, too, and several of them have some very good moments. Charles Winninger makes the indecisive father very believable, Ray Milland's smooth, slightly exaggerated performance fits in nicely, Mischa Auer steals a number of scenes, and Binnie Barnes keeps her "other woman" character from being a stereotype.

Despite having a short career, Deanna Durbin left behind several very pleasant, enjoyable pictures that are worth the trouble to find for fans of classic cinema. This early feature is particularly charming.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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