Stowaway (1936)

86-87 mins | Comedy | 25 December 1936

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HISTORY

Robert Young was borrowed from M-G-M for this film. According to a press release, dancer Tommy Wonder created the "rag doll dance," during which a performer dances with a life-sized rag doll, and he taught Shirley Temple how to do the dance. She uses his technique in the vaudeville section of this film, in which she dances with a male dummy and imitates Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. She also imitates Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor in this sequence. Honorable Wu's character, called "Li Ze Mon" in the film, is called "Latchee Lee" in some contemporary and modern sources. A 16 Mar 1939 HR news item reported that Stephen Tamas filed a lawsuit against Twentieth Century-Fox, in which he claimed Fox had plagiarized a scenario that he had written for Temple and submitted to them in Mar 1936. According to Temple's autobiography, Joan Storm Dezendorf, who alleged that story writer Sam Engel had plagiarized one of her stories, also filed a lawsuit against Twentieth-Century Fox. In addition, Temple notes that Charles McCord accused songwriters Mack Gordon and Harry Revel of plagiarizing "Goodnight My Love" from one of his songs, and that Juan Calaby made a similar claim, saying that the song was taken from his song "Señorita." No other information about these lawsuits has been found. Temple also states that Bessie Nyi, a student from Shanghai, taught her "several hundred Chinese phrases," in the "Mandarin dialect of North ... More Less

Robert Young was borrowed from M-G-M for this film. According to a press release, dancer Tommy Wonder created the "rag doll dance," during which a performer dances with a life-sized rag doll, and he taught Shirley Temple how to do the dance. She uses his technique in the vaudeville section of this film, in which she dances with a male dummy and imitates Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. She also imitates Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor in this sequence. Honorable Wu's character, called "Li Ze Mon" in the film, is called "Latchee Lee" in some contemporary and modern sources. A 16 Mar 1939 HR news item reported that Stephen Tamas filed a lawsuit against Twentieth Century-Fox, in which he claimed Fox had plagiarized a scenario that he had written for Temple and submitted to them in Mar 1936. According to Temple's autobiography, Joan Storm Dezendorf, who alleged that story writer Sam Engel had plagiarized one of her stories, also filed a lawsuit against Twentieth-Century Fox. In addition, Temple notes that Charles McCord accused songwriters Mack Gordon and Harry Revel of plagiarizing "Goodnight My Love" from one of his songs, and that Juan Calaby made a similar claim, saying that the song was taken from his song "Señorita." No other information about these lawsuits has been found. Temple also states that Bessie Nyi, a student from Shanghai, taught her "several hundred Chinese phrases," in the "Mandarin dialect of North China." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Nov 36
p. 11.
Daily Variety
4 Dec 36
p. 4.
Daily Variety
21 Dec 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Dec 36
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 36
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 36
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 36
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 39
p. 6.
Motion Picture Daily
19 Dec 36
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Nov 36
p. 51.
Motion Picture Herald
26 Dec 36
p. 54, 56
New York Times
19 Dec 36
p. 16.
Variety
23 Dec 36
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
DANCE
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech dir
Publicity dir
SOURCES
SONGS
"Goodnight My Love," "You've Gotta S-M-I-L-E to Be H-A-double-P-Y" and "One Never Knows, Does One?" music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel
"That's What I Want for Christmas," music and lyrics by Irving Caesar.
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 December 1936
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 December 1936
Production Date:
late September--early December 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
25 December 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6984
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
86-87
Length(in feet):
7,811
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2849
SYNOPSIS

Sun Lo, the magistrate of Sanchow, China, begs Alfred Kruikshank and his wife to send their young ward Ching-Ching to safety when the village is invaded by bandits. Kruikshank refuses, even though Ching-Ching's parents were killed in a similar uprising. Sun Lo disobeys Kruikshank and sends her to Shanghai with his brother Chang, who steals her money and deserts her. After leaving Chang's boat in search of food, Ching-Ching translates for American tourist Tommy Randall as he purchases a souvenir, and the rake is charmed by her. Tommy takes her to meet his friends, with whom he is to sail that night, but when he leaves her to wait in his car, she runs after her dog when he chases a cat. Upon finding her gone, Tommy is disappointed and leaves to get drunk. Ching-Ching returns, climbs into the rumble seat to avoid the rain and falls asleep before the car is loaded onto the ship. The next morning, the frightened stowaway hides in the cabin of Susan Parker and Mrs. Hope, who are traveling to Bangkok to meet Richard Hope, Mrs. Hope's son and Susan's fiancé. Because of Tommy's playboy reputation, Susan becomes the child's temporary guardian. Tommy and Susan are attracted to each other, and soon Mrs. Hope catches him kissing her. Concerned, Mrs. Hope wires Richard to meet them ahead of schedule. One afternoon, Tommy, Susan and Ching-Ching go ashore at Hong Kong and attend a vaudeville show. Afterward, Tommy carries Susan across a muddy street just as Richard and Mrs. Hope walk by. The Hopes and Susan return to the ship, while Tommy and Ching-Ching visit a ... +


Sun Lo, the magistrate of Sanchow, China, begs Alfred Kruikshank and his wife to send their young ward Ching-Ching to safety when the village is invaded by bandits. Kruikshank refuses, even though Ching-Ching's parents were killed in a similar uprising. Sun Lo disobeys Kruikshank and sends her to Shanghai with his brother Chang, who steals her money and deserts her. After leaving Chang's boat in search of food, Ching-Ching translates for American tourist Tommy Randall as he purchases a souvenir, and the rake is charmed by her. Tommy takes her to meet his friends, with whom he is to sail that night, but when he leaves her to wait in his car, she runs after her dog when he chases a cat. Upon finding her gone, Tommy is disappointed and leaves to get drunk. Ching-Ching returns, climbs into the rumble seat to avoid the rain and falls asleep before the car is loaded onto the ship. The next morning, the frightened stowaway hides in the cabin of Susan Parker and Mrs. Hope, who are traveling to Bangkok to meet Richard Hope, Mrs. Hope's son and Susan's fiancé. Because of Tommy's playboy reputation, Susan becomes the child's temporary guardian. Tommy and Susan are attracted to each other, and soon Mrs. Hope catches him kissing her. Concerned, Mrs. Hope wires Richard to meet them ahead of schedule. One afternoon, Tommy, Susan and Ching-Ching go ashore at Hong Kong and attend a vaudeville show. Afterward, Tommy carries Susan across a muddy street just as Richard and Mrs. Hope walk by. The Hopes and Susan return to the ship, while Tommy and Ching-Ching visit a tapestry shop, where Tommy accidentally takes another child's hand, and consequently is jailed with Ching-Ching for kidnapping. The ship's captain bails them out, but Susan sees Tommy helping his drunken friends on the ship and assumes the worst. After the captain receives word that Ching-Ching must be sent to a missionary girls' home in Shanghai, Tommy is crushed to find out that, being a bachelor, he cannot adopt her. He asks Susan to adopt her with Richard, which she agrees to do. However, when Richard and his mother forbid the adoption, Susan breaks her engagement. Tommy and Susan marry in order to adopt the waif, but agree that the marriage will be in name only. When Susan goes to Reno for a divorce, Tommy tries to prove he has changed, but Susan is unswayed and becomes engaged again to Richard. Ching-Ching and Judge Booth conspire to trick Susan and Tommy into admitting they love each other, and the divorce is denied. Later, Ching-Ching sings to her new parents in front of their Christmas tree. +

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.