16 user 6 critic

First a Girl (1935)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 31 December 1935 (USA)
Elizabeth, a delivery girl, dreams of being a music-hall singer but she is refused at the first casting she takes part in. A bit depressed, she gets to know Victor, a would-be Shakespearean... See full summary »


Victor Saville


Marjorie Gaffney (scenario)


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Director: Victor Saville
Stars: Jessie Matthews, Robert Young, Sonnie Hale


Complete credited cast:
Jessie Matthews ... Elizabeth
Sonnie Hale ... Victor
Anna Lee ... Princess
Griffith Jones ... Robert
Alfred Drayton ... Mc Lintock
Constance Godridge Constance Godridge ... Beryl
Eddie Gray Eddie Gray ... Goose Trainer
Martita Hunt ... Seraphina
Donald Stewart Donald Stewart ... Singer


Elizabeth, a delivery girl, dreams of being a music-hall singer but she is refused at the first casting she takes part in. A bit depressed, she gets to know Victor, a would-be Shakespearean actor and another audition victim. When Victor quite unexpectedly gets a female part in a music-hall number he unfortunately finds himself voiceless. Why wouldn't Elizabeth replace him in it? His new friend hesitates but finally makes her debut as ... a man posing as a woman! She is noticed by McLintock, an influential talent agent who hires Mr. Victoria (Elizabeth's stage name) and launches his/her brilliant international career. One day, Robert, a handsome young man engaged to Princess Mironoff, makes friends with this young man posing as a woman posing as a man ... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

31 December 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mulher Antes de Tudo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (British Acoustic Sound Full-Range Recording System: at Shepherd's Bush London)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The long scarf worn prominently by Sonnie Hale during the early scenes had been knitted for him by Jessie Matthews on the set of her previous film, Evergreen (1934). See more »


Elizabeth's hands pose differently between shots when Victor brings medicine to her. See more »


Princess Mironoff: [watching 'Bill' on stage] Isn't he marvelous?
Robert: [absently] Adorable...
Princess Mironoff: *What*?
Robert: [hastily] Er... marvelous.
See more »


Featured in Sailing Along (1938) See more »


Do a Little Good To Someone
Music by Mischa Spoliansky
Lyrics by Frank Eyton
See more »

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User Reviews

A hysterical classic musical which became "Victor/Victoria"
19 December 2000 | by mark.waltzSee all my reviews

This rarely seen British musical stars the now almost forgotten Queen of the British movie musical, Jessie Matthews. During the 1930's, Matthews was seen in about a dozen Busby Berkley like British musicals which are rarely seen in the U.S. today. "Evergreen" is probably the best known of these as it was released on video in the U.S. about 10 years ago and was the most critically acclaimed of her films at the time of its original release. "First a Girl" is a remake of a German film called "Victor und Victoria", and was later remade as the Julie Andrews screen and stage success. Matthews is totally charming as the young girl who is desperate to make it in show business, and finds success when she poses as a man posing as a woman in order to make it in show business. Matthew's real-life husband Sonnie Hale portrays the role later made famous in the movie by Robert Preston. Anna Lee ("General Hospital's" kind-hearted Lila Quartermain) plays a snobby British socialite whose fiancee (Griffin Jones) finds himself attracted to Victor/Victoria in spite of her supposed "male gender". There are a series of campy over-the-top musical numbers later spoofed by Blake Edwards in his smash hit remake. And of course at the end we see Hale taking over for Matthews in a production number like Preston's reprise of "The Shady Dame From Seville" in which everything goes hysterically wrong. There are enough differences between this and the Julie Andrews version to make them both unique. It is a shame Matthews is almost forgotten as she has a bright personality which makes her most likable and is a talented singer and dancer. There are also some risque moments which probably would not have made it past the American censors of 1936 when it was released in the U.S.

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