16 user 5 critic

Curly Top (1935)

Approved | | Family, Musical, Romance | 26 July 1935 (USA)
2:13 | Clip
Wealthy Edward Morgan becomes charmed with a curly-haired orphan and her pretty older sister Mary and arranges to adopt both under the alias of "Mr. Jones." As he spends more time with them, he soon finds himself falling in love with Mary.


Irving Cummings


Patterson McNutt (screenplay), Arthur J. Beckhard (screenplay) (as Arthur Beckhard)
1 nomination. See more awards »


Complete credited cast:
Shirley Temple ... Elizabeth Blair
John Boles ... Edward Morgan
Rochelle Hudson ... Mary Blair
Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Denham
Rafaela Ottiano ... Mrs. Higgins
Esther Dale ... Aunt Genevieve Graham
Etienne Girardot ... Mr. Wyckoff
Arthur Treacher ... Reynolds - the Butler
Maurice Murphy ... Jimmie Rogers
Learn more

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Wealthy Edward Morgan becomes charmed with a curly-haired orphan and her pretty older sister Mary and arranges to adopt both under the alias of "Mr. Jones." As he spends more time with them, he soon finds himself falling in love with Mary.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Did You Know?


After the success of Jean Webster's 1912 novel, "Daddy Long-Legs," she adapted it to a play which opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 28 September 1914 and closed in May 1915 after 264 performances. The opening night cast included Ruth Chatterton, Charles Trowbridge, Charles Waldron and Cora Witherspoon. See more »


In the song "Animal Crackers In My Soup" Shirley Temple sings "Monkeys and rabbits loop de loop". The lyric was written as "Monkeys and lions loop de loop" but Shirley sang the wrong lyrics. There are no rabbit-shaped crackers in animal crackers (and also rabbits are not generally part of a traveling circus) but there are lions amongst the animal shapes. See more »


Elizabeth: Uncle Edward, I don't want to get married to Jimmy.
Edward Morgan: Well, why not?
Elizabeth: Because I want Mary and me to get married to you.
Edward Morgan: Curly, you're a designing woman, you know that, don't you?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The introductory title credit is followed by an extreme close-up of Shirley Temple's curly top. Shirley then raises her head, and shakes her curls, smiling broadly all the while. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 11 February 2014 (2014) See more »


Animal Crackers in My Soup
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Ted Koehler and Irving Caesar
Sung by Shirley Temple with Rochelle Hudson on piano
Played as background music often
See more »

User Reviews

It's All So New to Me
10 August 2005 | by LeahcurrySee all my reviews

I must have been blind to hardly remember a thing about this film when I was a preteen! That's quite unusual because since that time, and this is a quintessential Shirley Temple film, very fun with a wonderful cast all around.

This was the first remake Shirley did of a Mary Pickford film (Daddy Long Legs). (Shirley) and her young adult sister Mary (Rochelle Hudson) are orphans adopted by wealthy orphanage trustee Edward Morgan (John Boles). The day he meets both of them, he is captivated by them both, but really has his eyes set on Shirley.

Shirley is quite the most charismatic and adorable youngster at the orphanage, but always seems to get into trouble, especially by some of the stuffy trustees and one of the matrons. Of everyone she sees besides the children, her sister, Mrs. Denham (the matron winningly played by Jane Darwell), and Edward Morgan are the only ones who stand by her. When the director orders the matrons to take her to a public institution, Edward flatly tells him he will completely withdraw his support (which is needed, as he is very wealthy). Then he talks to Shirley and asks if whether or not they can be friends. She refuses because she has to has to use "Ma'am, Sir", and smile all the time around grownup visitors. She further captivates him more, and then he asks if a "friend" of his could adopt her. She goes to ask Mary, who tells Edwards that she promised their parents to never leave Shirley. Out of sympathy, he accepts.

Edward keeps up the deception that he is not their true guardian, but that they are loaned to him for the summer. It's quite obvious why. First, he is lonely for companionship, to be loved just for himself, not his great wealth. Wealth can't buy everything, obviously. Next, he is caring enough to allow Shirley not to continue the excessive display of gratitude she's had to give.

Arthur Treacher has some wonderful scenes as the butler, completely outdoing himself when he disgustedly grabs Shirley's duck by the neck!

Rochelle Hudson, as the older sister, gets to sing "The Simple Things in Life" (and does it well), but her characterization is somewhat weak in places. She is a touch too gentle, vulnerable, and mature, but is also very sincere and sometimes light-hearted. She captivates a very young man named Jimmy Rogers, who proposes to her. She refuses him at first, but the night all this happened, Edward Morgan has already become jealous of him, not knowing he's in love with Mary. His Aunt Genevieve (excellently played by Esther Dale) tells him she thinks (actually, knows) he's very fond of her, and suspects that Jimmy will propose to Mary before the summer ends. This only makes Edward more disgusted, and Mary overhears him angrily say to his aunt that he cares nothing for Mary. She immediately takes the remark the wrong way and accepts Jimmy's proposal. But Edward cools down and wises up, finds Mary to talk to her alone, only to learn they're engaged. It's obvious that he's sad, which breaks Mary's heart. But he generously asks to add to their happiness in any way he can, little knowing what is really in store for him. Shirley learns of the engagement and says that she wants him to wed Mary. But despite Shirley simply being like she always was, John Boles really adds to the film immensely, my second favorite, and the actual reason I watch this film. He has the most rounded-out character and is utterly convincing as a very kind-hearted, generous, loving, and refreshingly human gentleman. He gives the most realistic characterization in the film, mostly because Shirley is just her normal movie persona. He beats out Jane Darwell, a wonderful character actress and Shirley's frequent co-star. He is GORGEOUS and despite being at least 38 when he did the film, looks exactly the right age to be Shirley's father and Rochelle Hudson's love interest (at 19, she looks older). He sings two songs (the same as Shirley), but with a brilliant voice that is "almost operatic" but very easy on the ears. "It's All So New To Me" is his daydream song right after he decides to adopt her, and the more upbeat "Curly Top" is a surprise for her. Discovering him for the wonderful actor and singer he is really is all so new to me.

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Release Date:

26 July 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Curly Top See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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