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W.S. Van Dyke
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Francis is the mother of four kids, three of whom are ungrateful to their widowed mom and move in with their wealthy aunt. Only Moore remains faithful to his mother. He befriends a wealthy ... See full summary »
Orphaned Betsy Brown is sent to live in a New York City theatrical boarding hotel and quickly becomes involved in the struggle to keep the sour old landlady from closing down the establishment. By starring as LITTLE MISS BROADWAY in a show staged in a judge's courtroom, the moppet hopes to sway the verdict in her friends' favor.
Shirley Temple shines in this pleasant musical comedy. Her youthful spunk and astonishing talent are very much on display. As her leading man, dancer George Murphy is elegant & charming, just what the audience expects from Shirley's knight errant. Murphy's flirtation with Phyllis Brooks is dull stuff; we can't wait for him to dance again with Miss Temple.
Along with Murphy, Shirley faces unusually stiff competition from the comics & character actors involved in this film. The inimitable Edna May Oliver is the villainess here, and she doesn't care a fig for the feelings of the little girl; diminutive Donald Meek is her brother who longs for an adventurous theatrical life.
The great Jimmy Durante brings his own brand of insanity to the proceedings as a band leader; it's almost criminal that he's given so little screen time with Shirley. Dialect comedian El Brendel has some funny moments and gets to interact with a peculiar penguin. That's Jerry Colonna as one of the band members.
Jane Darwell is sweet, as always, in her matronly role as the orphanage director - she would appear in several Temple films in similar roles. Old Claude Gillingwater has fun with his role as the sympathetic judge. George & Olive Brasno, two of Hollywood's famous Little People, appear as themselves.
Movie mavens will spot an unbilled Dick Elliott as a cheerful cellist.
Shirley warbles `Be Optimistic,' `How Can I Thank You?' & `If All The World Were Paper;' Murphy joins her in singing & dancing through `We Should Be Together' & `Little Miss Broadway.'
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