6.8/10
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22 user 14 critic

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 'long shot', Penny dives headfirst into the lake, getting thoroughly drenched, but in the nearly immediate 'medium shot', she has dry hair, hat, and face as she swims to shore. See more »

Quotes

Judson Craig: Do you realize that I have guests downstairs, that Miss Lyons was singing? I thought the ceiling would come down!
Penny Craig: Why didn't you stop her?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Three Smart Saps (1942) 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

 
Delightful entertainment with a light weight story and a teenage charmer.
9 August 1999 | by FISHCAKESee all my reviews

It has been said that Deanna Durbin invented teenagery. This first film was one of the best. The humorous story presented a delightful 14 year old Deanna, a little beauty with a gorgeous voice, as the "Miss Fixit" in a family split by divorce. For plot summary, see other IMDb entries, but quickly Deanna and her two older sisters plan to go to America from Switzerland to prevent their father from remarrying. With an excellent supporting cast especially Barbara Read and Nan Grey as the sisters, good direction and editing, the film succeeds in captivating one even on subsequent viewings. Of Deanna's three songs, only "Il Bacio" is from the classical repertoire, but when she sings it in that police station scene, the film's place in history is assured. At least it was for this viewer who at the age of 15 was smitten for life with both Deanna and classical music. One of the many nice touches that occur throughout THREE SMART GIRLS is the brief glimpse of the drunk stretching his neck for a final glimpse of Deanna as the cops hustle him by! One unfortunate result of the success of this film was that subsequent writers for Durbin vehicles became locked into the "Miss Fixit" theme, which quickly became stale. Deanna herself never did. Her stature as an actress is more questionable than her charisma, which she certainly had. It seems to me that, like many another film personality, she substituted "naturalness" for the histrionic ability that she lacked. The ploy worked well for 21 feature films.


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