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Spitfire (1934)

Passed | | Drama | 30 March 1934 (USA)
Mountain girl Trigger Hicks, a fierce loner equally handy with a rock or a prayer, is in danger of having her faith-healing mistaken for witchcraft by the neighbors. She shows a vulnerable ... See full summary »


John Cromwell


Lula Vollmer (from the play by), Jane Murfin (screen play) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Katharine Hepburn ... Trigger Hicks
Robert Young ... John Stafford
Ralph Bellamy ... George Fleetwood
Martha Sleeper ... Eleanor Stafford
Louis Mason ... Bill Grayson
Sara Haden ... Etta Dawson (as Sarah Haden)
Virginia Howell ... Granny Raines
Sidney Toler ... Mr. Sawyer
Will Geer ... West Fry (as High Ghere)
John Beck John Beck ... Jake Hawkins
Therese Wittler Therese Wittler ... Mrs. Sawyer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Irene Rich ... Undetermined Role (scenes deleted)


Mountain girl Trigger Hicks, a fierce loner equally handy with a rock or a prayer, is in danger of having her faith-healing mistaken for witchcraft by the neighbors. She shows a vulnerable side when John Stafford, a philandering engineer working on a new dam, is attracted to her. Matters come to a head when Trigger "rescues" an abused baby from its parents, and seeks help from the engineers. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

engineer | dam | baby | witchcraft | prayer | See All (28) »


From love to hatred and from faith to jealousy and unreasoning rage. She dominates every foot of the picture with her brilliant exposition of comedy drama and pathos. (Print Ad-Woodville Republican, ((Woodville, Miss.)) 16 June 1934) See more »




Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film was a success at the box office, earning RKO a profit of $113,000 (about $2.2M in 2020) according to studio records. See more »


When Trigger is reciting a biblical verse from her cards to Etta; she is holding the cards with her left hand. But on the next cut, she is now holding the cards with both hands. See more »


John Stafford: You trust me, don't you?
Trigger Hicks: Don't trust no man farther than a shotgun can hit.
John Stafford: Oh, you never loved a man, then, did you?
Trigger Hicks: Sure, I've loved a heap of 'em. The more I love 'em, the less I trust 'em.
See more »


Featured in Katharine Hepburn: All About Me (1993) See more »


At the Cross
(1885) (uncredited)
Music by Hugh Wilson from "Martyrdom" (1800)
Hymn by Isaac Watts (1707)
Refrain and arrangement by Ralph E. Hudson (1885)
Sung a cappella by Katharine Hepburn
See more »

User Reviews

An Interesting Experiment
12 May 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Though the role of Trigger Hicks in Spitfire turned out to be disastrous commercially for RKO and did nothing to help the career of Katherine Hepburn, it's still an interesting experiment when seen today. Especially seen by fans who regard Kate as a feminist icon.

Trigger Hicks is about as far as you can get for a role from the most well known graduate of Byrn Mawr in history. Kate's an illiterate hillbilly lass who is a mountain faith healer, respected by many and feared by more for her alleged powers.

Two who don't fear here are a pair of engineers sent to the Ozarks to build a railroad, Ralph Bellamy and Robert Young. Hepburn unfortunately falls for the married Young who of course doesn't tell her of his marriage to Martha Sleeper.

In her own way Trigger Hicks is as much an independent spirit as Tess Harding or Pat Pemberton or any of the other more sophisticated women that Kate later portrayed. I'm sure she thought of the film as expanding her range a bit even though it didn't quite stretch in that direction.

Still it's interesting to watch.

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Release Date:

30 March 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trigger See more »


Box Office


$223,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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