Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  12 August 1938 (USA)
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Reviews: 10 user | 1 critic

A rich businessman wants to marry his secretary, but first he has to pass muster with her middle-class family.


(as Reinhold Schunzel)


(screen play) (as Joseph A. Fields) , (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Bill Harrison
Henry Thayer
Joan Thayer
Rita Johnson ...
Sally Harrison
Don Castle ...
Sarah Padden ...
Tom Grogan
Virginia Grey ...
Miss Selma Willis
Mrs. Gussler


A rich businessman wants to marry his secretary, but first he has to pass muster with her middle-class family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 August 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

It's Now or Never  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In Sept. 1938, M-G-M distributed this film on a double bill with Three Loves Has Nancy (1938) starring Janet Gaynor, Robert Montgomery and Franchot Tone'. The tag line said "Comedy swings to a new high in these two romantic M-G-M hits!" See more »


Referenced in The John Garfield Story (2003) See more »


Sailing, Sailing, Over the Bounding Main
(1880) (uncredited)
Written by Godfrey Marks
Sung a cappella by Sarah Padden twice
See more »

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User Reviews

Meet the Thayers, the Great Working Class
2 February 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ruth Hussey works for Robert Young and is preparing to go on vacation, so she instructs Virginia Grey what to do and how and when to do it in her absence. But then Bob enters the office and we see that Bob and Ruth are more than boss and secretary. Long story short, she doesn't go on her vacation after all, when Bob on the spot proposes to her. But, after missing her train, instead of jumping in with both feet, her pride gets in the way and she tells him they need to wait, because essentially they come from different backgrounds. So he decides, in order to understand her point of view, he must live with her family for a spell. Enter Ruth's zany family, especially Lew Ayres, who plays a cousin and who is constantly spouting off about "the great working class." Picture this. A rich man needs his appendix out. No problem. He can pay it. A poor man needs his appendix out. No problem. He's poor and not expected to pay. But the working class, woe is him. He's always behind the eight ball with bills and an operation he's expected to pay and go in debt because of it. This film is never dull and is very stimulating with constant bickering between him and sister Lana Turner, who dreams of a plush life, with nice things and keeps calling their place "a dump." Lana makes the most of her supporting role and gives a great performance, especially in her big crying scene. It could be said that she stands out as the highlight of the film, aside from Lew's tirades. (Lana had already been in the Andy Hardy series at this point and would make two more pictures with costar Lew Ayres. Lana's stardom was definitely on the ascendant. And, by the way, this is the first time she and costar Virginia Grey would be in the same picture together. Ms. Grey would be Lana's most frequent costar in her career.) Guy Kibbee is the father, who works in a hardware school and the mother loves the sea, as her ancestors were whalers. From stimulating conversation about "the great working class" and health reform (ideas still relevant today) and the chaotic life it appears the Thayers live, this short film delivers a punch and will leave you pleasantly fulfilled. "Rich Man, Poor Girl" is a stepping stone in the career of Lana Turner that has gotten lost in the shuffle, but its ideas are timeless and its characters are too vivid to forget.

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