Kathleen is a 12 year old who lives in a big house with a nanny, a butler, maids, no mother and a father who is working most of the time. She dreams of a family with a mother, father and ... See full summary »
Kathleen is a 12 year old who lives in a big house with a nanny, a butler, maids, no mother and a father who is working most of the time. She dreams of a family with a mother, father and her, and tells everyone that she has such a family. Because of this story, she cannot invite any friends over as they will see that it is not true. Kathleen and her nanny, Mrs. Farrell do not get along, so her father hires a psychologist name Dr. Kent to be her new nanny for the summer. Her father has a new girlfriend, named Lorraine, who he is considering for his wife and mother to Kathleen. Kathleen does not like her and Lorraine is cold to Kathleen. Kathleen envisions Dr. Kent as the perfect mother for her and wife for her father. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
A rather sad change of pace for Shirley but it's still a nice little film.
Kathleen (Shirley Temple) is a lonely young lady. Her mother is deceased and her father is never home. Because of this, she has a governess--a woman who is just plain nasty. As for Kathleen, she's a bit of a brat--mostly because she's so emotionally neglected and lonely. However, her clueless father (Herbert Marshall) takes her to see a psychotherapist instead of giving her what she needs--his time and attention. Fortunately, the therapist quickly realizes the situation and tells the father that the governess is evil. Instead, the therapist recommends a child psychologist (Laraine Day) becomes the child's governess--at least temporarily. Almost immediately, Kathleen decides that this woman would make a perfect mother for her. Unfortunately, the manipulative girl has a problem with her plan--Dad already has a woman picked out to be his new wife. And, this wife-to-be is a superficial and annoying woman indeed (Gail Patrick). What's Kathleen to do?!
"Kathleen" is an odd film. It isn't bad, but along with other films like "The Blue Bird", it managed to alienate the public from Temple because the films were such a departure from the sweet Temple films of the 1930s. Part of this, of course, is because Shirley was older and the old style films wouldn't have worked as well with a child about to become a teen. Part of it, however, is that the studios didn't really seem to know what to do with her.
I liked the Kathleen character. Her manipulative personality was pretty funny and I liked some of her bratty moments. However, what I didn't like about her were the fantasy scenes. These involved musical interludes that just weren't necessary and really slowed down the film. In fact, had they cut them all out, the movie would have worked much better--especially since music seemed inappropriate to this style of film. Plus, while Shirley was great singing as a child, here she seems a bit out of her element in these production numbers.
So is it worth seeing? Sure. The negatives about this one are far outweighed by the good. Shirley's performance is very nice and the story quite clever. And, although the ending was a bit sticky, I did like it. A very different sort of film for the actress, that's for sure--but a nice one. But also it's so different that I could easily see folks disliking it.
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