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Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy, Family | 18 July 1936 (USA)
2:24 | Clip

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The daughter of a wealthy businessman becomes lost in the city while traveling to a new school, and is taken in by a pair of down-on-their-luck performers.


Irving Cummings


Sam Hellman (screen play), Gladys Lehman (screen play) | 3 more credits »



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Complete credited cast:
Shirley Temple ... Barbara Barry
Alice Faye ... Jerry Dolan
Gloria Stuart ... Margaret Allen
Jack Haley ... Jimmy Dolan
Michael Whalen ... Richard Barry
Sara Haden ... Collins
Jane Darwell ... Woodward
Claude Gillingwater ... Simon Peck
Paul Stanton ... George Hathaway
Henry Armetta ... Tony
Charles Coleman ... Stebbins
Arthur Hoyt ... Percival Gooch
John Wray ... Flagin
Tyler Brooke Tyler Brooke ... Dan Ward
Mathilde Comont ... Tony's Wife


Little Barbara gets lost and is then picked up by entertainers who make her part of their act. Barbara's father hears the act on the radio and finds his lost daughter. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »





English | Italian

Release Date:

18 July 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chudá bohatá holcicka See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to an article by Frederick Othman from January 10, 1940, this film marked a major break for Geneva Sawyer who was working as a dancer in this film. Bill Robinson noticed her ability and recommended her as a dance teacher for Shirley Temple. Sawyer went on to become a prominent choreographer and dance instructor to the stars in Hollywood. See more »


In the end credits, actress Sara Haden's first name is misspelled as "Sarah." See more »


Jerry Dolan: I love a military man!
Barbara Barry: I love a military man!
Jimmy Dolan: I love a military... nurse!
See more »


Referenced in Titanic (1997) See more »


But Definitely
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Revel
Lyrics by Mack Gordon
Sung by Alice Faye, Shirley Temple and Jack Haley
Also used as background when Haley and Temple are practicing tap steps
See more »

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User Reviews

Shirley Has To Eat Her Spinach
8 April 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Shirley Temple is our Poor Little Rich Girl who gets pampered by her widower father Michael Whalen a soap manufacturer with a radio program and rival to Claude Gillingwater. When a lot of the servants tell Whalen he's spoiling the child by treating her like a hothouse plant and school might be good for, he entrusts Temple with Sara Haden to take her to a boarding school.

But on the way there, Haden meets up with an accident when she's hit by a car. Temple left to her own devices decides to go on 'vacation' first with organ grinder Henry Armetta and his family and later with former vaudevillians Alice Faye and Jack Haley who are trying to get a break in radio.

Wouldn't you know it, Faye and Haley decide that Shirley is just what they need for their act and no one else has a claim on her since Shirley said she ran away from an orphanage. And of course who does our little moppet charm into giving them a radio program? None other than her father's rival soap magnate, cantankerous old Claude Gillingwater.

Since this is a Shirley Temple movie I think you know where this is all going. Shirley's little white lie about an orphanage nearly lands the innocent Haley and Faye and Armetta for that matter in some trouble. And she does almost run afoul of a real kidnapper in John Wray. If it had been me, my backside surely would have been blistered for all the trouble I caused, but this is a Temple movie not real life.

What the film does do is provide some good musical numbers by the song writing team of Mack Gordon and Harry Revel who were Alice Faye's composing team at 20th Century Fox in the late Thirties. Faye's two ballads of When I'm With You and But Definitely are not overshadowed by Shirley's obbligato. And the first one is actually first sung in the film by a young baritone named Tony Martin who wound up marrying the star.

This must have been a trying part for Claude Gillingwater. He suffered from a crippling arthritis and the scene where he gives Temple a piggy back ride must have been unbearable. Gillingwater committed suicide a few years later because he couldn't stand the intense pain in his life.

Best number in the film is You've Got To Eat Your Spinach Baby sung by Jack, Alice and Shirley, it's a charming piece. The finale they did dressed up in Ruritanian soldier uniforms called Military Man. It's a nice visual number, but after all gang they're performing on the RADIO.

After over 70 years, Shirley Temple still has the capacity to charm anyone.

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