6.2/10
3,161
44 user 36 critic

Sylvia Scarlett (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 3 January 1936 (USA)
Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who, to avoid detection, "disguises" herself as a boy, "Sylvester." They are ... See full summary »

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Gladys Unger (screenplay), John Collier (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A willful woman concocts an elaborate scheme to trap a handsome pediatrician into marriage.

Director: Don Hartman
Stars: Cary Grant, Betsy Drake, Franchot Tone
Holiday (1938)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man in love with a girl from a rich family finds his unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan
Mr. Lucky (1943)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A gambler has plans to swindle money from a charity program, but starts to have second thoughts when he falls for a rich society girl.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Cary Grant, Laraine Day, Charles Bickford
Alice Adams (1935)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The misadventures of two social-climbing women in small town America.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Fred MacMurray, Fred Stone
Undercurrent (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Middle-aged bride Ann Hamilton soon begins to suspect that her charming husband is really a psychotic who plans to murder her.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Robert Taylor, Robert Mitchum
Without Love (1945)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In World War II Washington DC, Jamie Rowan, enters a loveless marriage with scientist Pat Jamieson and becomes his assistant. Struggles bring them closer together.

Director: Harold S. Bucquet
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A man, Hilary Fairfield returns home after fifteen years in a mental asylum. However, he finds things are not the way they were when he left.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: John Barrymore, Katharine Hepburn, Billie Burke
Morning Glory (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When a naively innocent, aspiring actress arrives on the Broadway scene, she is taken under the wing of several theater veterans who mentor her to ultimate success.

Director: Lowell Sherman
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Adolphe Menjou
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When an itinerant reluctantly returns home to help his sickly mother run her shop, they are both tempted to turn to crime to help make ends meet.

Director: Clifford Odets
Stars: Cary Grant, Ethel Barrymore, Barry Fitzgerald
Adam's Rib (1949)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday
I'm No Angel (1933)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Circus performer Tira seeks a better life pursuing the company of wealthy New York men with improbable comic complications along the way.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Mae West, Cary Grant, Gregory Ratoff
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Sassy manicurist Eve Fallon is recruited as an even more brassy reporter and she helps police detective boyfriend Danny Barr break a jewel theft ring and solve the murder of a baby.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Bennett, Walter Pidgeon
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Katharine Hepburn ... Sylvia Scarlett a.k.a. Sylvester
Cary Grant ... Jimmy Monkley
Brian Aherne ... Michael Fane
Edmund Gwenn ... Henry Scarlett
Edit

Storyline

Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who, to avoid detection, "disguises" herself as a boy, "Sylvester." They are joined by amiable con man Jimmy Monkley, then, after a brief career in crime, meet Maudie Tilt, a giddy, sexy Cockney housemaid who joins them in the new venture of entertaining at resort towns from a caravan. Through all this, amazingly no one recognizes that Sylvia is not a boy...until she meets handsome artist Michael Fane, and drama intrudes on the comedy. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

3 January 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

En förtjusande pojke See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$641,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Dennie Moore. See more »

Goofs

When Sylvia is cracking eggs, she cracks and opens the second egg twice. See more »

Quotes

Sylvia Scarlett: Well, we're all fools sometimes. Only you choose such awkward times.
See more »


Soundtracks

HELLO! HELLO! WHO'S YOUR LADY FRIEND?
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Fragson
Lyrics by Worton David and Bert Lee (1914)
Sung by Cary Grant and Edmund Gwenn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Before Spencer, there was Cary...and this odd film
18 June 2006 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

This is an odd film - definitely an odd one. Even in a period when the Hayes Office, the Breen Office, the movie code, and the Catholic Legion of Decency were still finding their feet, this film just stretched gender roles as far as possible. And the audiences of 1935, who tolerated MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, THE INFORMER, and many other films, would not tolerate this one.

The issue is whether or not the audiences of 2006 would tolerate it. I gather that we are better used to bi-sexual, homosexual, or transsexual genres in movies in the last half century, but having said that I keep realizing that many people aren't. I also note that of the four Grant - Hepburn films this one is the least revived (which is odd, because it was the first one made). I have a feeling that the fans of this film fall into three categories: those who enjoy the sexual suggestiveness of it's storyline, those who enjoy the two stars and their acting abilities, and those who like the director, George Cukor. Outside those three groups, there are many people who are probably (at best) indifferent to this movie, and (at worst) positively hostile to it.

I could understand part of the hostility. It is the crazy screenplay in the film. This movie never comes to grips with exactly what it wants to do. It starts off with a kind of "Dr. Crippen" situation (though actually not as serious), wherein Edmund Gwenn has committed embezzlement and must flee France with his daughter Hepburn - whom he disguises as a son to help his own escape disguise (this resembles Crippen's disguising his girlfriend Ethel Le Neve as a son when fleeing to Canada on the "Montrose"). Hepburn just barely passes as a boy (her bony face just makes it). Then they meet grifter Cary Grant, and join him in a series of con games.

First problem in script here - if Gwenn and Hepburn are fleeing the French authorities to get to England, doesn't it undercut their efforts to continue a criminal path with Grant? If they are caught (as they nearly are) the British police will return Gwenn to France, rather than probably ignore him if he just behaves himself in England. Of course, for them to get into a story involving Grant the script requires them to behave in line with him.

This was the first film that Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant appeared in together, and in the wake of the later Tracy series it has somehow gotten pushed slightly (not totally) into the shadows. It is similar to the series of musicals by Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier for Paramount in the early 1930s, that are slightly (not quite totally) in the shadows of the later musical series with Nelson Eddy. The later films (particularly BRINGING UP BABY and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY) are far more popular - despite the screwiness of the former those films (and HOLIDAY) have coherent plots. We aren't trying to figure out if the film is funny or sad, or if it's about con artists or small time performers. We don't have to worry in the later three films about allegory (the scene in SCARLET when they are performing in Comedia del Arte costumes, with Gwenn - growing jealous about his girlfriend's activities - dressed as "Pierrot" is definitely allegorical). One can say SYLVIA SCARLET is a film with something for everyone - question is does that make it a good film?

Because I like George Cukor (who later would work with both Grant and Hepburn to better effect), and see that Hepburn and Grant and Brian Ahearn and Gwenn are giving their all to their parts, I am willing to say I'm favorably impressed enough to give this an "8" out of "10". But I will maintain that this odd little movie is not one meant for large audiences or for huge popular approval.


25 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 44 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed