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Girls on Probation (1938)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  22 October 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 155 users  
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This film proves the old adage "You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you shouldn't pick friends who rob banks." Local bad girl Hilda convinces Connie to join her at a ... See full summary »


(as William McGann)


(original screen play)
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Title: Girls on Probation (1938)

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Complete credited cast:
Connie Heath
Neil Dillon
Anthony Averill ...
Tony Rand
Sheila Bromley ...
Hilda Engstrom
Henry O'Neill ...
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Kate Heath
Sig Ruman ...
Roger Heath (as Sig Rumann)
Dorothy Peterson ...
Jane Lennox
Gloria Adams
Larry Williams ...
Terry Mason - Hilda's Date
Arthur Hoyt ...
Mr. Engstrom
Janet Shaw ...
Prison Inmate
Joseph Crehan ...


This film proves the old adage "You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you shouldn't pick friends who rob banks." Local bad girl Hilda convinces Connie to join her at a party and lends Connie a dress she "borrowed" from the cleaners where they both work. When the dress gets torn, the owner Jane and her boyfriend Neil notice and Connie gets blamed, fired, and prosecuted for it. Neil is the prosectuing attorney, but feels sorry for Connie, so he drops the charges and loans her the money to pay off the dress. Connie goes to the big city to escape the shame and get a job to pay off Neil. She meets Hilda there and gets mistakenly arrested, along with Hilda and Tony, for bank robbery. A kindly parole officer believes her story and helps get her paroled. Connie returns home, gets engaged to Neal and is doing well when Hilda returns once more and threatens to ruin her life by spilling Connie's secret shame. Written by R Reay <>

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Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

22 October 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Girls on Probation  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Max Hoffman Jr. and 'Dick Rich' (Officers) and George Offerman Jr. (Elevator Operator) are in studio records/casting call lists for their roles, but they were not seen in the movie. Carole Landis was in listed as a cast member before production started, but she also was not seen in the movie. See more »


Hilda Engstrom: [to a priest, as she's dying] Pretty soon I'll be seeing your boss!
See more »


Featured in Bad Girls (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

Bad Girls, Bad Girls, What Ya Gonna Do
25 January 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The only significance that Girls On Probation has in cinema history is that it was the first role of significance for Susan Hayward who plays Ronald Reagan's date at a party. Susan was dropped by Warner Brothers after this film and her contract picked up with Paramount who saw what Jack Warner missed. Despite Girls On Probation Hayward went on to a great career.

The subject of the film however is Jane Bryan who borrows a dress that friend Sheila Bromley who 'borrowed' it from the dry cleaner she works at. Fine, but at the party that Bryan goes to Hayward spots the dress and identifies it as her's and Bryan is arrested. She tells her story, but no one believes her but Reagan who is taken with Bryan. He's a lawyer and defends her and she's let off with a first offense.

Not good enough for her strict father Sig Ruman who throws her out of the house. She moves to another town, but who does she run into but Bromley and gets whisked into a getaway car from a bank robbery driven by Bromley's boyfriend Anthony Averill. They all get arrested and Jane's now in a real jackpot.

The girl just can't catch a break until a sympathetic probation officer Dorothy Peterson convinces Judge Henry O'Neill to grant her probation. Back she goes to her home town and takes up with Reagan who is now an Assistant District Attorney.

Of course trouble follows and I won't say more because the story gets more clichéd as it goes on. Let's say it all conveniently works out in the end.

Two things connected with this film. Jane met and later wed Justin Dart of Rexall Drugs and retired from the screen. When Ronald Reagan started a political career she got her husband behind him and he became part of the unofficial Reagan kitchen cabinet.

Also when Susan Hayward was at the height of her career in the mid Fifties, Warner Brothers re-released Girls On Probation to take advantage of that. It was inflicted on the public again after Hayward scored in I'll Cry Tomorrow, an infinitely better film than this. I'm not sure she appreciated Warner Brothers gesture.

She survived Girls On Probation and if you see you will too.

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