7.1/10
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Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)

Unrated | | Comedy, Musical | 24 March 1939 (USA)
Now that their parents are back together, the Craig girls think life is going to be easy. It is, until Kay falls in love with Joan's fiance! Complications arise when youngest sister Penny ... See full summary »

Director:

Henry Koster

Writers:

Bruce Manning (original screenplay), Felix Jackson (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Deanna Durbin ... Penny Craig
Charles Winninger ... Judson Craig
Nan Grey ... Joan Craig
Helen Parrish ... Kay Craig
Robert Cummings ... Harry Loren
William Lundigan ... Richard Watkins
Ernest Cossart ... Binns the Butler
Nella Walker ... Dorothy Craig
Felix Bressart ... Music Teacher
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Storyline

Now that their parents are back together, the Craig girls think life is going to be easy. It is, until Kay falls in love with Joan's fiance! Complications arise when youngest sister Penny tries to find Joan a new boyfriend so that Kay and Richard can be together. Written by April M. Cheek <Aravis2713@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Of all the brilliant screen personalities who ever thrilled the country, she is now the most amazing, the most exciting! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

3 Smart Girls Grow Up See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In this sequel to the 1936 hit "Three Smart Girls," two of the actresses playing the Craig sisters reprise their roles. Deanna Durbin and Nan Grey play Penny and Joan respectively, but Helen Parrish replaces Barbara Read as Kay. Charles Winninger and Nella Walker play their parents in both films. See more »

Goofs

When Penny enters the studio E at the music school, buttons of her coat are suddenly undone alternately. See more »

Quotes

Harry Loren: Dad was a lawyer. He always wanted to be a musician - you should have heard him play the cello! But his father made him be a lawyer. They were all lawyers, his father, his grandfather - his great-grandfather was a pirate too. They hanged him in Jamaica. I guess that's why Dad never liked to wear a necktie.
Penny Craig: We had a grandfather who was a horse thief.
Dorothy Craig: A great-great-grandfather, Penny. And he didn't really steal the horses.
Kay Craig: And they didn't hang him.
Penny Craig: 'Cause they couldn't catch him.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Booky Makes Her Mark (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Invitation to the Dance
(uncredited)
Music by Carl Maria von Weber
Music adapted by Charles Henderson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Craig's Family Affairs
30 April 2009 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP (Universal, 1939), directed by Henry Koster, is a continuing story about the trials and tribulations of New York City's daughters of high society, the three Craig Sisters, first introduced in THREE SMART GIRLS (1936). Three years later, the sisters, mature and vibrant, as portrayed by Deanna Durbin (the talented singer), Nan Grey (the attractive blonde) and Helen Parrish (enacting the role originally enacted by brunette Barbara Read), along with Charles Winninger and Nella Walker as their parents, this original screenplay by Bruce Manning and Felix Jackson, is almost reminiscent to the Fannie Hurst's based story, FOUR DAUGHTERS (Warners, 1938) that served as a star attraction for both the Lane Sisters and Gale Page in the title roles, where romantic problems revolve around two of the four sisters in love with the same man. For this well intentioned sequel, two of the "three smart girls" encounter similar situations, but less dramatically.

The story opens with the credit titles imposed over Kay (Helen Parrish) and Joan (Nan Grey) rehearsing their younger sister, Penny (Deanna Durbin), on how to address her birthday party guests with "How do you do?" and correctly pronouncing the name of the visiting Mrs. Kithaven (Kathleen Howard), a friend of the family who's not really "dead." As Penny entertains with her singing, Bostonian Richard M. Watkins II (William Lundigan) proposes marriage to Joan. While this is pleasing news for everyone, Kay, who is secretly in love with Richard, holds in her true emotions. Penny discovers something terribly wrong when she sees Kay placing her diary that expresses her true feelings for Richard into the fireplace and crying herself to sleep. The next morning, Penny stumbles upon an idea from Binns (Ernest Cossart), the family servant, by obtaining a new beau for Kay so she'll forget the one she loved and lost. Penny locates one in a music school she attends, Harry Loren (Robert Cummings), a flute player in the orchestra formerly from New Hampshire, whom she feels to resemble that of actor "Clark Gable." Inviting him over for dinner so she can play matchmaker, Penny finds Richard paying more attention to Joan than to Kay, and for this orders him from the house, much to the surprise the family. Plans continue to backfire for Penny as she intends to set things right, causing the embarrassed Kay to publicly give her intrusive sister a facial slap in front of Richard, thus, bringing some very hard feelings and unhappiness for all, especially on the eve of Joan's wedding.

While THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP gives indication of being a story devoted equally to the Craig sisters, which it actually is, the main emphasis is on Deanna Durbin as it was in her first starring role, THREE SMART GIRLS, as the kid sister making every effort getting her divorced parents together again. With the parents united again, they're hardly together this time around, with Mother busy with society functions and wedding preparations, and Judson, "The Wizard of Wall Street," keeping his absent-mindedness more towards business and long distance phone calls from Paris. The scene where Penny has her father realize how out of touch he is with family troubles is so well written that it comes close to ringing true, though much of the story is a screenwriter's notion of a rich American family.

Other highlights within the story include Durbin's singing of "Invitation to the Dance" (by Carl Maria Von Weber); "Faradoe" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; "The Last Rose of Summer" by Richard Allen-Miller and Thomas Moore; and "Because" by Guy D'Hardelot and Edward Techemoschler. Robert Cummings takes part with some piano playing to a composition by Johann Strauss. Supporting players consist of Felix Bressart (The Music Teacher); Thurston Hall (The Senator); along with familiar stock players as Grady Sutton, William B. Davidson, Charles Coleman, Jack Mulhall and John Hamilton assuming smaller roles.

As entertaining as THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP can be, which can't compete with other 1939 blockbusters, it certainly ranks one of the finer ones of the year. In spite of limited television revivals (on PBS) that turned up in the 1980s, and distribution to home video in 1995, this latest edition on the Craig sisters is as forgotten as its third installment, HERS TO HOLD (1943), with Durbin, Winninger and Walker once again playing the Craigs, but without her two older sisters. Overall, THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP is further indication of how a simple story can work itself to a fine motion picture. (***1/2)


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