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What a Life (1939)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  6 October 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 46 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

In the first Henry Aldrich film, Henry (Jackie Cooper) is falsely accused of making trouble at school. He must clear himself.


(as Jay Theodore Reed)


(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: What a Life (1939)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Betty Field ...
Barbara Pearson
Mr. Nelson
Janice Logan ...
Miss Shea
Vaughan Glaser ...
J.C. Bradley
James Corner ...
George Bigelow
Dorothy Stickney ...
Miss Wheeler
Kathleen Lockhart ...
Miss Pike
Lucien Littlefield ...
Mr. Patterson
Sidney Miller ...
Pinkie Peters
Andrew Tombes ...
Professor Abernathy
George Guhl ...
Arthur Aylesworth ...


In the first Henry Aldrich film, Henry (Jackie Cooper) is falsely accused of making trouble at school. He must clear himself.

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Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

6 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

What a Life  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


Followed by Henry Aldrich Plays Cupid (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

Pleasant High School series opener
7 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Based on a successful play, this movie launched a somewhat bland series. What's really surprising is that the screenplay was written by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder who also wrote the script for "Ninotchka" and "Midnight" that same year. There isn't any of the typical Wilder/Brackett bite in the script, but they may have been saddled with constraints of the original. Aside from Jackie Cooper who was a real teen at the time, most of the other students were considerably older. The rest of the cast is competent, including Hedda Hopper as Henry's mother. John Howard provides a pleasant counterpoint to the stuffy teachers on Central High's staff. Henry's father, who is often referred to in the dialog, never appears.

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