Curly Top (1935)

74-75 mins | Comedy-drama | 26 July 1935

Director:

Irving Cummings

Cinematographer:

John F. Seitz

Editor:

Jack Murray

Production Designer:

Jack Otterson

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The plot of this film bears a striking resemblance to the novel Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster (New York, 1912) and her play of the same name (New York, 28 Sep 1914), a fact recognized by most reviewers. The screen credits give no reference to Webster or her works. A LAEx news item from 24 Jan 1935 stated that Shirley Temple was to star in a film based on Daddy Long Legs , which was to be called either Little Miss Cupid or Daddy Long Legs . Fox, which produced an earlier film based on the novel and play in 1931 (see below), owned the motion picture rights to the novel and play. In 1924, they produced a film entitled Curlytop , which bears no resemblance to this film. This was the first of four remakes of Mary Pickford films in which Shirley Temple appeared.
       This was one of the last four productions of Winfield Sheehan for Fox. According to HR , Maurice Murphy was signed to a "term Fox contract" as a result of his work in this film. HR also noted that this was the first film in which Rochelle Hudson sang. According to a HR news item, the set of the bachelor's apartment inhabited in the film by the John Boles character was inspired by a liquor ad in Esquire . DV noted that an eight-room cottage was built on the sound stage for the film, and that after production, the studio turned down an offer by director Irving Cummings to buy it ... More Less

The plot of this film bears a striking resemblance to the novel Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster (New York, 1912) and her play of the same name (New York, 28 Sep 1914), a fact recognized by most reviewers. The screen credits give no reference to Webster or her works. A LAEx news item from 24 Jan 1935 stated that Shirley Temple was to star in a film based on Daddy Long Legs , which was to be called either Little Miss Cupid or Daddy Long Legs . Fox, which produced an earlier film based on the novel and play in 1931 (see below), owned the motion picture rights to the novel and play. In 1924, they produced a film entitled Curlytop , which bears no resemblance to this film. This was the first of four remakes of Mary Pickford films in which Shirley Temple appeared.
       This was one of the last four productions of Winfield Sheehan for Fox. According to HR , Maurice Murphy was signed to a "term Fox contract" as a result of his work in this film. HR also noted that this was the first film in which Rochelle Hudson sang. According to a HR news item, the set of the bachelor's apartment inhabited in the film by the John Boles character was inspired by a liquor ad in Esquire . DV noted that an eight-room cottage was built on the sound stage for the film, and that after production, the studio turned down an offer by director Irving Cummings to buy it for $25,000 and instead moved it to the lot to be used as a play room, dressing room and school room for Shirley Temple. According to a HR news item, Switzerland and Italy forbade the showing of this film because it was felt that the characterization of Shirley Temple as an "enfant terrible" would set a bad example for the children of their countries. For information about other films based on Webster's works, see the entry below for Daddy Long Legs (1931). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10-Aug-35
---
Daily Variety
22 Jun 35
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Jun 35
p. 2.
Daily Variety
15 Jul 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Aug 35
p. 11.
HF
1 Jun 35
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 May 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 36
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
16 Jul 35
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Jul 35
p. 83.
Motion Picture Herald
27 Jul 35
p. 48.
Variety
7 Aug 35
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr on spec seq
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
DANCE
Dances
SOURCES
SONGS
"Animal Crackers in My Soup," music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Ted Koehler and Irving Caesar
"It's All So New to Me" and "When I Grow Up," music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Edward Heyman
"Curly Top" and "The Simple Things in Life," music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Ted Koehler.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Daddy Long Legs
Little Miss Cupid
Release Date:
26 July 1935
Production Date:
25 May--10 July 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
26 July 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5972
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74-75
Length(in feet):
6,775
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1062
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Before going to sleep one stormy evening, Elizabeth Blair sees through her window at the Lakeside Orphanage that her pony "Spunky" is getting soaked and motions for Spunky to come in. In the morning, kindly matron Mrs. Henrietta Denham finds Spunky asleep in a bed next to Elizabeth's and sends Elizabeth to Mrs. Higgins, the stern superintendent, who orders that the pony and Elizabeth's duck "Betsy" be sold immediately. The animals were once part of the theatrical act of Elizabeth's parents, who were killed in an automobile accident. Later that day, the trustees of the orphanage come into the dining hall just as Elizabeth finishes singing a song that her older sister Mary, a drudge at the orphanage, wrote. When one of the trustees, Mr. Wyckoff, calls Elizabeth a wicked child, Mary retorts by calling him a mean and hateful man. After Wyckoff and the other trustees leave, attorney Edward Morgan, the richest trustee, who has just inherited his father's estate, praises Mary for her spunk and confesses that he too likes to write songs. Later, when Wyckoff catches Elizabeth imitating him and threatens to send her to a public institution, Edward decides to adopt Elizabeth, whom he calls "Curly Top." Because he does not want her to feel obliged to him, Edward invents a client, Hiram Jones, who, he tells Elizabeth, wants to adopt her. When Mary explains that she promised her parents that she and Elizabeth would never be separated, Edward arranges for both of them, along with Spunky and Betsy, to move into his summer beach house at Southampton on Long Island, where his Aunt Genevieve lives. As Elizabeth learns proper ... +


Before going to sleep one stormy evening, Elizabeth Blair sees through her window at the Lakeside Orphanage that her pony "Spunky" is getting soaked and motions for Spunky to come in. In the morning, kindly matron Mrs. Henrietta Denham finds Spunky asleep in a bed next to Elizabeth's and sends Elizabeth to Mrs. Higgins, the stern superintendent, who orders that the pony and Elizabeth's duck "Betsy" be sold immediately. The animals were once part of the theatrical act of Elizabeth's parents, who were killed in an automobile accident. Later that day, the trustees of the orphanage come into the dining hall just as Elizabeth finishes singing a song that her older sister Mary, a drudge at the orphanage, wrote. When one of the trustees, Mr. Wyckoff, calls Elizabeth a wicked child, Mary retorts by calling him a mean and hateful man. After Wyckoff and the other trustees leave, attorney Edward Morgan, the richest trustee, who has just inherited his father's estate, praises Mary for her spunk and confesses that he too likes to write songs. Later, when Wyckoff catches Elizabeth imitating him and threatens to send her to a public institution, Edward decides to adopt Elizabeth, whom he calls "Curly Top." Because he does not want her to feel obliged to him, Edward invents a client, Hiram Jones, who, he tells Elizabeth, wants to adopt her. When Mary explains that she promised her parents that she and Elizabeth would never be separated, Edward arranges for both of them, along with Spunky and Betsy, to move into his summer beach house at Southampton on Long Island, where his Aunt Genevieve lives. As Elizabeth learns proper etiquette from Reynolds, the butler, to whom she endears herself, Edward, who has been unable to find real happiness, begins to fall for Mary, although he does not tell her. Mary, who likewise has become enamored of Edward, is courted by Jimmie Rogers, a wealthy youth who takes her flying and dancing. After Elizabeth and Mary give a charity bazaar for the orphanage, Mary refuses Jimmie's proposal. However, when she overhears Edward, annoyed at Genevieve's suggestion that he is jealous of Jimmie, emphatically deny that he is interested in Mary, she agrees to marry Jimmie. Without revealing his true feelings, Edward congratulates Mary and prepares to sail for Europe, but Mary breaks the engagement after she realizes that she does not really love Jimmie. She and Edward then make plans to marry, and he reveals that there really is no Hiram Jones. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.