The Girl Downstairs (1938)

75-77 mins | Romantic comedy | 23 December 1938

Director:

Norman Taurog

Producer:

Harry Rapf

Cinematographer:

Clyde De Vinna

Editor:

Elmo Veron

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's pre-release titles were Katherine the Last and The Awakening of Katrina. According to the film's program, this was Franciska Gaal's third appearance in American films, and her first for M-G-M. Biographical sources on Gaal note that this was her final American film before her return to Hungary in 1940. The program, as well as reviews, noted that this was to be Franchot Tone's final screen appearance before returning to the Broadway stage. He did return to M-G-M in 1939, however, in Fast and Furious (see entry). ...

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The film's pre-release titles were Katherine the Last and The Awakening of Katrina. According to the film's program, this was Franciska Gaal's third appearance in American films, and her first for M-G-M. Biographical sources on Gaal note that this was her final American film before her return to Hungary in 1940. The program, as well as reviews, noted that this was to be Franchot Tone's final screen appearance before returning to the Broadway stage. He did return to M-G-M in 1939, however, in Fast and Furious (see entry).

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
31-Dec-38
---
Daily Variety
21 Dec 1938
p. 3
Film Daily
31 Jan 1939
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 1938
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1938
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 1938
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 1938
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 1938
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 1938
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald
19 Nov 1938
p. 57
Motion Picture Herald
24 Dec 1938
p. 42
New York Times
26 Jan 1939
p. 17
Variety
28 Dec 1938
p. 13
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITERS
Scr
Contr to dial
Comedy seq
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on an Hungarian short story by Sándor Hunyady (publication undetermined).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"When You're in Love," music and lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Katherine the Last
The Awakening of Katrina
Release Date:
23 December 1938
Production Date:
7 Oct--30 Nov 1938
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Loew's Inc.
21 December 1938
LP850
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75-77
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4918
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In Berne, Switzerland, when playboy Paul Wagner sneaks into Rosalind Brown's box at the opera, her father lets him know once again that he is not a proper suitor. Later, while Rosalind cajoles Brown into giving Paul another chance, Paul gets so drunk that he is thrown out of a nightclub. Despite a hangover, Paul arrives at the Brown house the next day, but when Brown's secretary, Adolf Pumpfel, turns out to be a man Paul socked the night before, Paul is banished from the house. All of the servants, except scullery maid Katerina Linz, are shown Paul and ordered not to allow him into house, so Paul arranges to meet Katerina. On Sunday, disguised as a chauffeur, he takes her to a fair, and later sneaks upstairs to see Rosalind. The next day, when Rosalind sends a note to Paul, it must be delivered by Katerina, because the other servants are occupied. When Katerina arrives at Paul's, he pretends that "the master" is out, then, when his friend Charlie arrives, Charlie pretends to be Paul's employer. After Charlie brusquely kisses Katerina, she slaps him, and Charlie "fires" Paul for laughing. Because Katerina is in love with Paul and feels responsible for his predicament, she uses her savings to buy a taxi for him, then asks him to meet her at the fair on Sunday for a surprise. Feeling remorseful for his deception, Paul sends her an apologetic goodbye note, but, as she cannot read, she thinks it is a love letter and waits for him. When he doesn't show up, she goes to his house, and is greeted by Karl, Paul's ...

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In Berne, Switzerland, when playboy Paul Wagner sneaks into Rosalind Brown's box at the opera, her father lets him know once again that he is not a proper suitor. Later, while Rosalind cajoles Brown into giving Paul another chance, Paul gets so drunk that he is thrown out of a nightclub. Despite a hangover, Paul arrives at the Brown house the next day, but when Brown's secretary, Adolf Pumpfel, turns out to be a man Paul socked the night before, Paul is banished from the house. All of the servants, except scullery maid Katerina Linz, are shown Paul and ordered not to allow him into house, so Paul arranges to meet Katerina. On Sunday, disguised as a chauffeur, he takes her to a fair, and later sneaks upstairs to see Rosalind. The next day, when Rosalind sends a note to Paul, it must be delivered by Katerina, because the other servants are occupied. When Katerina arrives at Paul's, he pretends that "the master" is out, then, when his friend Charlie arrives, Charlie pretends to be Paul's employer. After Charlie brusquely kisses Katerina, she slaps him, and Charlie "fires" Paul for laughing. Because Katerina is in love with Paul and feels responsible for his predicament, she uses her savings to buy a taxi for him, then asks him to meet her at the fair on Sunday for a surprise. Feeling remorseful for his deception, Paul sends her an apologetic goodbye note, but, as she cannot read, she thinks it is a love letter and waits for him. When he doesn't show up, she goes to his house, and is greeted by Karl, Paul's servant, who tells Paul what has happened. When Paul finds Katerina, he is touched by her gesture and, when he realizes that she couldn't read the letter, he tells her that it said that he loved her. That night, Brown goes to Paul and tells him he has changed his mind and will now accept him as his son-in-law and will announce the engagement at a party on Friday. The next day, Pumpfel shows Brown a picture of Katerina and Paul that he had secretly taken, and Brown conceives of a plan to promote Katerina to parlormaid in time for the party, hoping to break up Rosalind's romance. Paul shows up late, then, just as he tries to tell Rosalind what has happened, Katerina appears. Heartbroken, she tells Brown she doesn't know Mr. Wagner, only his chauffeur, and refuses to listen to Paul. After apologizing to Rosalind, Paul tries to find Katerina, who has left for the train station, so he tells a policeman that she has taken a brooch from him. After her arrest, Paul tells the police that she is his fiancée, and, though she says that she couldn't marry a gentleman, especially one who lies, he tells her that he has always told her the truth, even when he didn't know it.

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

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