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Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 18 March 1938 (USA)
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Rebecca's Uncle Harry leaves her with Aunt Miranda who forbids her to associate with show people. But neighbor Anthony Kent is a talent scout who secretly set it up for her to broadcast.

Director:

Allan Dwan

Writers:

Karl Tunberg (screen play), Don Ettlinger (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley Temple ... Rebecca Winstead
Randolph Scott ... Anthony Kent
Jack Haley ... Orville Smithers
Gloria Stuart ... Gwen Warren
Phyllis Brooks ... Lola Lee
Helen Westley ... Aunt Miranda Wilkins
Slim Summerville ... Homer Busby
Bill Robinson ... Aloysius
Raymond Scott and His Quintet Raymond Scott and His Quintet ... Themselves (as Raymond Scott Quintet)
Alan Dinehart ... Purvis
J. Edward Bromberg ... Dr. Hill
Dixie Dunbar ... Receptionist
Paul Hurst ... Mug
William Demarest ... Henry Kipper
Ruth Gillette ... Melba
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Storyline

Rebecca's Uncle Harry leaves her with Aunt Miranda who forbids her to associate with show people. But neighbor Anthony Kent is a talent scout who secretly set it up for her to broadcast.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 March 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mam'zelle vedette See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Bill Robinson visited Shirley Temple at an exclusive and restricted hotel to rehearse the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" number for this film. Temple later recalled, "I asked Bill what cottage he was staying in. He told me, 'I'm staying in the chauffeur quarters above the garage.' It wasn't until years later that I understood why." See more »

Goofs

The "greatest hits" debacle gets even worse, however, when rather than offering a few cobbled together lines of fake "hits" which would've at least kept her in character as Rebecca, Shirley instead sings a medley of... Shirley's hits. Ouch. See more »

Quotes

Rebecca Winstead: [to a piglet] Oh, you bent your tail. I'm surprised Aunt Miranda lets you wear it curled. I'll bet you haven't had any breakfast. I'll ask Aunt Miranda to get you some eggs and bacon.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2005, a new colorized version appeared, prepared by Legend Films, replacing the older colorized version used for television and video. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Get Smart: Rebecca of Funny-Folk Farm (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Come and Get Your Happiness
(1938) (uncredited)
Music by Samuel Pokrass
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
Sung by Shirley Temple
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Rebecca of Radio Land
27 December 2005 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM (20th Century-Fox, 1938), directed by Allan Dwan, stars Shirley Temple as the title character in a screenplay suggested on but not entirely from the story written by Kate Douglas Wiggin. Returning to the formula best suited for Temple's musical talents following her performances in the more faithful adaptations to the literary works of 1937's WEE WILLIE WINKIE and HEIDI, REBECCA is actually a rehash of Temple's earlier effort, THE POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL (1936), which not only has her singing some songs composed for that production, reuniting her with co-stars Jack Haley and Gloria Stuart, with much of the setting taking place in a radio station, but another well staged military dance number finish.

The story revolves around Anthony Kent (Randolph Scott), a radio station manager, assisted by Orville Smithers (Jack Haley), on a promotional talent search auditioning hundreds of little girls for their upcoming "Little Miss America" campaign sponsored by Cyrus Bartlett (Paul Harvey), an important client for Crackling Grain Flakes. Enduring through the intercom of listening of one bad singer after another vocalizing the same song of "You Got to Eat Your Spinach, Baby" over and over again, plus having to deal with overbearing parents, Kent finally gets to hear Rebecca Winstead's (Shirley Temple) singing and is very much impressed by her. However, due to a misunderstanding by Orville, Rebecca, accompanied by her stepfather/manager Harry Kipper (William Demarest), leave the studio thinking the audition a failure. Now that he has found himself evicted from their 950 10th Avenue apartment, and flat broke, Harry, who is unable to support his stepdaughter, decides to have Rebecca live upstate with her Aunt Miranda (Helen Westley) at Sunnybrook Farm. Realizing Orville's mistake, and now at this point of a nervous breakdown, Kent decides to get away from it all by taking a rest on his farm in the country, which also happens to be at Sunnybrook. Eventually the paths of Kent and Rebecca meet, thanks to a little piggy, and discovering that Rebecca is the talented child he's been searching for, he sets out to star her on the "Crackling Grain Flakes Hour," but there's only one problem, Aunt Miranda, who detests show people, especially since her late daughter had married an actor, refuses to give Rebecca permission to perform on the radio. Gwen (Gloria Stuart), Rebecca's first cousin, also living under Miranda's roof, and in love with Kent, schemes in having Rebecca sneak out at night on a hook to book broadcast set in Kent's home. All goes well, even after Miranda hears her on the radio, until Uncle Harry, now remarried to a tough babe (Ruth Gillette), returns to Sunnybrook Farm with an attorney (Clarence Wilson) to reclaim his talented stepchild.

Amusing moments consist of Haley's love for Scott's temperamental fiancée (played by Phyllis Brooks), who performs with him but refuses to give him the satisfaction; William Demarest's frequent pratfalls on Aunt Miranda's loose board in front of her home; and Helen Westley as the strong-willed Miranda, who continues to hold a grudge on Scott's servant, Homer Busby (wonderfully played by Slim Summerville), her former fiancé, due to some misunderstanding 25 years ago. One thing about Wesley's character, every time she speaks, one expects her to lay an egg. Also in the cast are Alan Dinehart as Mr. Purvis, Kent's radio station rival; J. Edward Bromberg as Doctor Hill; and best of all, Franklin Pangborn as Hamilton Montgomery, a substitute organ player waiting for his big chance to go on the air; and Bill Robinson as Miranda's dancing farm hand.

The motion picture soundtrack includes: "Happy Ending" (sung by Phyllis Brooks); "You've Got to Eat Your Spinach, Baby" (sung by individual auditioning girls); ""An Old Straw Hat" (sung by Shirley Temple); "Crackling Grain Flakes" (sung by quartet); "Alone With You" (sung by Phyllis Brooks and Jack Haley); "Come and Get Your Happiness" (sung by Temple/by Jack Yellen and Sam Polgrass); a medley of Temple oldies: "On the Good Ship Lollipop" (by Richard Whiting and Sidney Clare); "Animal Crackers in My Soup" (by Ted Koehler, Irving Caesar and Ray Henderson); "When I'm With You," "Oh, My Goodness," and "Goodnight, My Friends (formerly "Goodnight, My Love" (all sung by Temple); and "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" (performed by Temple and Bill Robinson/by Sidney Mitchell, Lew Pollack and Raymond Scott).

One of the better radio musicals of the period, Temple shines as the little girl who is very self-reliant. This is also the initial film in which she loses her legendary curls, which comes after living under Aunt Miranda's roof on Sunnybrook Farm. And speaking of legendary, her tap dancing opposite Bill Robinson ranks one of their better team efforts, even if the tapping takes place on the radio for listeners to hear and not see, except for the movie viewing audience. REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM is not the sort of movie for grammar school students to base a book report on, for that this is the least faithful of the earlier screen treatments, 1917 with Mary Pickford, and 1932 with Marian Nixon. It seems interesting that the writers didn't come upon a musical version to the book from which it is based, as MGM later did with THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), and not stray away from its original concept, but overlooking these major changes, with no harm done, it does make fine family viewing.

Distributed on video cassette and later DVD, REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM is currently available in both colorized and black and white versions. Formerly shown on American Movie Classics from 1997 to 2001, other cable broadcasts include the Fox Movie Channel and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: November 22, 2012). See youz in church.(***1/2)


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