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First a Girl (1935)

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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Complete credited cast:
Jessie Matthews ... Elizabeth
Sonnie Hale ... Victor
Anna Lee ... Princess
Griffith Jones ... Robert
Alfred Drayton 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 »


Victor, the expert in Shakespeare quotes "Is love a tender thing? it is too rough, Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn. If love be rough with you, be rough with love" ending with "As You Like It" not the actual "Romeo and Juliet" from which the quote is taken. See more »


Victor: [to Robert] You have an unclean mind.
See more »


Featured in Forty Minutes: Catch a Fallen Star (1987) See more »


Goodnight Sweetheart
Written by Ray Noble, Jimmy Campbell & Reginald Connelly
See more »

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User Reviews

Makes for a good comparison to Victor/Victoria
14 November 2009 | by calvinnmeSee all my reviews

This little British-made gem of a film was one of the last movies to be released exclusively on VHS format. Too bad it wasn't one of the first to be released on DVD. It is similar in storyline to Victor/Victoria, but it is different enough that you can watch both and enjoy the comparisons without feeling that you have just watched the same film twice.

Elizabeth (Jessie Matthews) is a British shop girl working in a fashion boutique that caters to the wealthy. She dreams of being a famous entertainer. One rainy day - while wearing the fancy clothes she is supposed to be delivering - she runs into Victor, aspiring Shakespearean actor and actual female impersonator who works the bawdy music halls of London. He is down to his last shilling when he gets a one-time engagement to work in one of these halls. Unfortunately, the rain has taken a toll on his voice and he is unable to take the job. Likewise, Elizabeth has ruined the clothes she was supposed to deliver and can't go back to her job. They forge an alliance for what is supposed to be a one-time thing - Elizabeth will go on as Victor and be a woman impersonating a man impersonating a woman so they both can collect the money they badly need. A high-class booking agent sees the act and offers the pair a chance to be the toast of Europe. A reluctant Elizabeth agrees since it does give her a chance at her dream.

The complications arise in France where a princess and her fiancé, which the princess treats more as a lapdog than a man, see her act. The fiancé arrives late to the performance and is at first attracted to Elizabeth, whom he believes is a woman performing as a woman. The princess enjoys telling him the joke is on him when she shows him the program that introduces Victoria - the great female impersonator.

The differences between this film and Victor/Victoria are that the princess sees her fiancé's attraction to "Bob" and yet wants to prove "Bob" to be a girl, opening up a pathway for a romance between the two, and also the princess starts a romance of sorts with Elizabeth's mentor, Victor. Thus the princess is not the jealous gun moll that Leslie Ann Warren plays in Victor/Victoria. Instead she is a Marie Antoinette-like character that seems to take nothing seriously. There are implausibilities in both films. In Victor/Victoria the film would lead you to believe that most of 1930's Paris is gay. In this film no trace of a gay lifestyle is ever mentioned. Instead Victor is supposed to be a straight man who lives in close quarters with the very attractive Elizabeth and apparently never has an impure thought or act. However, the rather unlikely pairing of Victor with the princess seems to be thrown in just so that the audience is assured of his straightness.

There are several very good Busby Berkeley-like musical numbers in the film as well as some very good and catchy tunes to go along with them.

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