6.8/10
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Three Smart Girls (1936)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 20 December 1936 (USA)
Three sisters scheme to reunite their divorced parents before their wealthy father marries a conniving gold digger.

Director:

Henry Koster

Writers:

Adele Comandini (original story), Adele Comandini (screen play)
Reviews

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Binnie Barnes ... Donna Lyons
Charles Winninger ... Judson Craig
Alice Brady ... Mrs. Lyons
Ray Milland ... Lord Michael Stuart
Mischa Auer ... Count Arisztid
Ernest Cossart ... Binns
Lucile Watson ... Martha
John 'Dusty' King ... Bill Evans (as John King)
Nella Walker ... Dorothy Craig
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Wilbur Lamb
Nan Grey ... Joan
Barbara Read ... Kay
Deanna Durbin ... 'Penny'
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Storyline

The three Craig sisters, in Switzerland with their ten-years-divorced mother, run away to New York to prevent their father from marrying calculating socialite Donna Lyons. The overpowering vivacity of the Smart Girls (nominal ages 14-20) sweeps all before it, but a romantic complication between middle sister Kay and their accidental ally, Lord Michael Stuart, threatens shipwreck to their schemes... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 December 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tri zlate deklice See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$326,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was made at one of the many times when Universal Pictures Corporation was on the brink of bankruptcy. It was Universal's big Christmas release for 1936. It became a critical success and a box office sensation It led to a string of highly popular Deanna Durbin pictures that helped keep Universal in the black through the war years. See more »

Goofs

In the gymnasium, Penny's hair ribbon changes when her father comes in. See more »

Quotes

Penny Craig: [after the waiter delivers her lunch in the restaurant, she feistily exclaims] Muffins and milk! That's no food for fighters!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
In the score when wedding rings are shown
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The Parent Trap", Thirties Style
15 January 2007 | by movingpicturegalSee all my reviews

Cute film about three lively sisters from Switzerland (often seen running about in matching outfits) who want to get their parents back together (seems mom is still carrying the torch for dad) - so they sail off to New York to stop the dad from marrying a blonde gold-digger he calls "Precious". Dad hasn't seen his daughters in ten years, they (oddly enough) don't seem to mind and think he's wonderful, and meanwhile Precious seems to lead a life mainly run by her overbearing mother (Alice Brady), a woman who just wants to see to it her daughter marries a rich man. The sisters get the idea of pushing Precious into the path of a drunken Hungarian count, tricking the two gold-digging women into thinking he is one of the richest men in Europe. But a case of mistaken identity makes the girls think the count is good-looking Ray Milland, who goes along with the scheme 'cause he has a crush on sister Kay.

This film is enjoyable, light fare. Barbara Read as Kay comes across as sweet and pretty, Ray Milland looks oh so young and handsome here (though, unfortunately, is given little to do), Alice Brady is quite good as the scheming mother - but it is Deanna Durbin, a real charmer and cute as a button playing youngest sister Penny, who pretty much steals the show. With absolutely beautiful vocals, she sings several songs throughout the film, though I actually would have liked to have seen them feature her even more in this. The plot in this film is a bit silly, but nevertheless, I found the film to be entertaining and fun.


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