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Shirley had left Fox and was in a sort of limbo waiting for suitable roles when she did 'Miss Annie Rooney' for Edward Small, her first teen-age role before the more successful one in 'Since You Went Away'. I saw this in the colorized video version and, although certainly not one of her best films, it was passable enough and fun seeing Shirley develop into her "older" roles. A lot of teen-age jive talk (1940s-style) makes up most of the dialogue and the plot is a slender one about a poor girl infatuated with a rich boy and facing disapproval of his friends. Guy Kibbee is enjoyable as Shirley's grandfather and William Gargan and Peggy Ryan do well enough in supporting roles. Shirley's teen-age poise is impressive and she looks charming--but this is a distinctly minor item among her credits, an interesting curiosity piece if you want to compare today's teen-agers to the swinging juveniles shown here. The script is weak, and yet Temple manages to be her charming self. As far as the colorization goes, it's one of the better jobs I've seen.
It would be hard for me not to like any Shirley Temple movie.
It's too bad most people think of her as the cute little tyke, because, as she grew into an adult, she just got better as an actress, and in fact became a beautiful woman.
She was at the in-between stage in this movie, playing a young teenager, which was appropriate since she was 14.
As usual, she was adorable. Even as a fan, I will admit that sometimes she relied too much on pouty expressions left over from her very young years, but she also had the ability necessary to portray the pertinent emotions.
She liked dancing, as she wrote in her autobiography (which I highly recommend, to everyone), and she got to dance here, and was a lot of fun to watch.
Dickie Moore, of whom also I am a fan, was just not quite right as the rich boy. He didn't come across strongly enough, but his performance still does not detract enough to lessen one's enjoyment.
Roland du Pree, on the other hand, gave a very strong performance, strong enough, in fact, that I am dumbfounded he didn't have a major career.
He was a very good-looking young man, a good dancer, and a scene stealer, but apparently nothing is known about him, since even his birth date is not shown here at IMDb.
Look for a very young Noel Neill and a very young June Lockhart in the party scene.
The adults, by the way, rather varied in watchability, but, again, nothing can detract much from this very nice movie.
In my opinion, "Miss Annie Rooney" is the best Shirley Temple movie ever made. The movie features a fourteen year-old Annie Rooney(Temple) who meets a young man(Moore) from a wealthy family by accident(literally). He invites her to his birthday party and Annie's family(her father and grandfather) go through many changes to raise the money for Annie's evening gown and accessories. After she arrives at the party, she soon discovers that the fireworks has just begun. Real good PG family entertainment.
Poor Irish teen, living with her crusty grandpa and unemployed inventor-father, needs a party frock after a wealthy boy she likes asks her to his birthday bash. Naturally, along with a new dress, she'll need a matching wrap and evening sandals, too! Shirley Temple on the wane: she proves not to be a natural movie talent in her teenage years, nor does she seem to connect with this character or with the other kids in the cast (though one can hardly blame her for steering clear of Peggy Ryan's over-the-top Myrtle!). William Gargan, playing Shirl's father--a purveyor of a new technique which turns weeds into a rubbery substance--manages a nice sense of loving desperation, and Temple does break out her dancing shoes in the party sequence. But these teen-trials are completely unreal. This is the kind of penniless movie family with one foot on the street who still manage to live in a large apartment complete with telephone extension in the daughter's room! The film failed to get Temple's career on the right track, and her manner is blasé and indifferent throughout. ** from ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
By 1942 the bloom was off the rose, the rose being Shirley Temple. Her
performances in her teen years just didn't come across well, and I
often wonder if it was because of how her mother shielded her from
associating with other people of her age. In fact, the only really good
Temple performance in her "later" career was in "The Bachelor And The
Bobby Soxer" with Cary Grant.
This film is quite fun...not because of Shirley Temple, but in spite of Shirley Temple. Most of the teens here actually do quite well. Shirley seems the least natural of all of them.
William Gargan, nominally the male lead here -- as Shirley's father -- does alright...a sort of hapless ne'er-do-well...although it isn't much of a part. Guy Kibbee as Grandpop is much better, and this is a fairly endearing role...something he had quite a few of. Dickie Moore as the rich, geeky love interest for Shirley is excellent. You'll recognize Jonathan Hale as Moore's father. The other "kids" aren't very recognizable, but all do a decent job, particularly Roland Dupree as the other "man" ;-).
The plot here revolves first around teenagers acting like adults. And secondly the upper crust parents not being very accepting of lower class Annie Rooney. The crunch comes when Annie (Temple) is invited to Dickie's birthday party. The jitterbug dance at the party is really quite impressive.
Although I liked this film, there are a few problems here. For example, William Gargan is a little bit too much of a buffoon and a fool. It's just done over the top, and that aspect of the script lost credibility for me. And, the kids were just a little too adultish.
Of course, we all know everyone will live happily ever after.
As Miss Annie Rooney, we have Miss Shirley Temple officially reaching
adolescence in a Hollywood motion picture. The acceptable effort is a
production from Edward Small's company distributed through United
Artists. Despite the obviousness of its limited budget, the movie has
plenty of merit, though its script could easily have undergone a
rewrite to remove some of the more blatant stereotypes about the
Guy Kibbee is cast as Temple's grand-pop and serves stew along with an authentic-sounding brogue. However, William Gargan, who plays his son and Temple's father curiously does not attempt to convey the Irishness of his character much at all. For that matter, he does not attempt to convey much in the way of acting, either.
There are some charming moments in this film that make up for the occasional inconsistencies. One such moment is a teen party where our blossoming star dances with Dickie Moore, who has also officially reached puberty in this film. Like Temple, he suffers the pangs of young love in between fits of barely decipherable young folk slang.
Shirley Temple was now a teenager and she may have left 20th Century
Fox, but even as a young teen she was busy raising the adults in her
life. In Miss Annie Rooney the adults are grandfather Guy Kibbee
complete with the brogue of an Irish cop which he was in the film and
father William Gargan who has big dreams of hitting it big not unlike
Frank Sinatra's character in A Hole In The Head.
A chance encounter with rich young teen Dickie Moore and invite to his birthday party has Temple mixing with society. But Gargan sees it as an opportunity to pitch his latest cause, synthetic rubber. The results are a social disaster.
Just like she did when she was a toddler on up Shirley sticks by her dad or father figure as the picture would have it. The ending was way too much to swallow though. I prefer the far more realistic ending of the Frank Sinatra film.
Still Shirley Temple fans will approve.
In the 1930s, Shirley Temple was BIG--I am talking HUGE. When it came
to popularity, this kid managed to be the top box office draw four
years in a row! However, by 1940, things had changed radically. Shirley
was no longer a cute child but a budding adolescent and she left her
familiar haunts at Twentieth Century-Fox. MGM and a few other studios
tried her out in films--mostly to a mediocre reception from the crowds
and reviewers. The bottom line is that the studios just didn't know
what to do with her--and her talents just didn't fit most of the script
she was given. There were some exceptions, such as her supporting
performances in "Since You Went Away" and "Fort Apache", but most of
the rest of her films were very, very forgettable. She deserved better.
Among the worst of these post-Fox films I've seen is "Miss Annie Rooney". Most of this is because the dialog is simply godawful and the writers, I think, were chimps. All the pubescent characters were one-dimensional and uttered the same annoying catch phrases again and again. Shirley always talked like her dialog was written by a BAD romance novelist--and she must have said 'divine' about 193 times. Dickie Moore was worse and seemed VERY ill-at-ease as a rich boy--who said 'old man' in practically every other sentence.
The bottom line is that the writing was so bad, it made me cringe and getting through this film was a HUGE chore. I rarely, if ever, enjoyed the thing and have nothing particularly good to say about it. If you are a masochist, try watching it streaming on Netflix. Why? Because their print is colorized and most of it looked really, really pink! An ugly film AND annoying one at that.
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