Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938)

81 mins | Musical comedy | 18 March 1938

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HISTORY

According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, "the only things that have been taken from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm --the literary property which we own--are a few minor instances, the character of the little girl and the title." The legal records also note that the screenplay written by Karl Tunberg and Don Ettlinger was "entirely separate" from one written earlier by William Conselman and Ben Markson, although the producer gave Tunberg and Ettlinger ideas that were included in the earlier screenplay. According to the legal records, the songs "Nevada Moon," by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel, and "Au Revoir," by Lew Pollack and Sidney D. Mitchell, were originally to be in the film, and some scenes were shot at the Soldiers' Home in Los Angeles.
       Box commented that this film was "launching [Temple] on a flying start to maintain for another year her position as No. 1 celluloid revenue producer." According to MPPDA information, Jack Temple, one of the assistant directors on the film, was Shirley Temple's twenty-two-year-old brother. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Walter Brennan was listed in an early treatment for the role of "Homer Busby." According to correspondence in the legal records, the Quaker Oats Company objected when they learned that there was to be a song in the film about "crackly corn flakes" and noted that Shirley Temple was under contract to them to advertise their product, Quaker's Puffed Wheat. The company felt that if the song were included, they would look ridiculous, as Temple would be seen to be ... More Less

According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, "the only things that have been taken from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm --the literary property which we own--are a few minor instances, the character of the little girl and the title." The legal records also note that the screenplay written by Karl Tunberg and Don Ettlinger was "entirely separate" from one written earlier by William Conselman and Ben Markson, although the producer gave Tunberg and Ettlinger ideas that were included in the earlier screenplay. According to the legal records, the songs "Nevada Moon," by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel, and "Au Revoir," by Lew Pollack and Sidney D. Mitchell, were originally to be in the film, and some scenes were shot at the Soldiers' Home in Los Angeles.
       Box commented that this film was "launching [Temple] on a flying start to maintain for another year her position as No. 1 celluloid revenue producer." According to MPPDA information, Jack Temple, one of the assistant directors on the film, was Shirley Temple's twenty-two-year-old brother. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Walter Brennan was listed in an early treatment for the role of "Homer Busby." According to correspondence in the legal records, the Quaker Oats Company objected when they learned that there was to be a song in the film about "crackly corn flakes" and noted that Shirley Temple was under contract to them to advertise their product, Quaker's Puffed Wheat. The company felt that if the song were included, they would look ridiculous, as Temple would be seen to be boosting a competitive product, Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Because of their objections, Darryl Zanuck ordered the song title changed to "Crackly Grain Flakes." According to news items, the National Confectioners' Association filed a $500,000 libel suit against Twentieth Century-Fox claiming that a scene in the film did members of the association irreparable damage. In the scene in question, after Rebecca has arrived at Sunnybrook Farm, Miranda asks if she has had anything to eat. Rebecca says that her uncle bought her a candy bar, whereupon Miranda says, "Candy bar! Gwen, take the child into the kitchen and get her something decent to eat." According to a news item, the association claimed that the scene "libels a bar of candy and holds up the candy profession to ridicule and shame." According to the legal records, the suit was soon dropped. According to modern sources, Jule Styne was Temple's vocal supervisor for this film. In 1932, Fox produced a film based on the play Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Wiggin and Charlotte Thompson. Please see this entry above for information regarding other films based on the same source. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12-Mar-38
---
Daily Variety
5 Mar 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Mar 38
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 37
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 37
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 38
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
9 Mar 38
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Nov 37
p. 41.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Mar 38
p. 36, 39
New York Times
26 Mar 38
p. 12.
New York Times
17-Jul-38
---
Variety
9 Mar 38
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr to trmt
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
COSTUMES
Ward man
Ward girl
Ward woman
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Asst sd
Boom man
Cableman
MAKEUP
Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Scr clerk
Props
Best boy
Unit casting dir
Follow up man
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin (New York, 1903).
SONGS
"An Old Straw Hat" and "You've Gotta Eat Your Spinach Baby," music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel
"Alone with You," "Happy Ending" and "Crackly Grain Flakes," music by Lew Pollack, lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell
"Come and Get Your Happiness," music by Samuel Pokrass, lyrics by Jack Yellen
+
SONGS
"An Old Straw Hat" and "You've Gotta Eat Your Spinach Baby," music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel
"Alone with You," "Happy Ending" and "Crackly Grain Flakes," music by Lew Pollack, lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell
"Come and Get Your Happiness," music by Samuel Pokrass, lyrics by Jack Yellen
"Toy Trumpet," music by Raymond Scott, lyrics by Lew Pollack and Sidney D. Mitchell
Broadcast Medley: "On the Good Ship Lollipop," music by Richard A. Whiting, lyrics by Sidney Clare
"Animal Crackers in My Soup," music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Ted Koehler
"When I'm with You," "Oh My Goodness" and "Goodnight My Love," music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 March 1938
Production Date:
early October--early November 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
18 March 1938
Copyright Number:
LP7925
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA High Fidelity Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81
Length(in feet):
7,289
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3799
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Cyrus Bartlett, manufacturer of "Crackly Grain Flakes," berates radio advertising executive Anthony Kent because he has failed to find a girl to be "Little Miss America" after nationwide advertising has gone out about the upcoming show. However, when he hears eight-year-old Rebecca Winstead's audition, Bartlett knows they have the right girl. Tony calls the studio and orders his assistant, singer and announcer Orville Smithers, to have Rebecca stop the audition, and Orville, thinking that Bartlett is not interested in her, tells Rebecca and her stepfather, Henry "Harry" Kipper, who is also her manager, to leave. Because they have been evicted by their landlady, Harry takes Rebecca upstate to Sunnybrook Farm, which belongs to Miranda Wilkins, the sister of Rebecca's deceased mother. When he learns that Rebecca has left the studio, Tony is frantic, but Orville tells him that they have the addresses of all the girls who auditioned. After ordering Orville to find her, Tony, to escape the city, leaves for his farm upstate. At Sunnybrook Farm, Miranda, who has no use for theater people, because she thinks that they ruined her sister's life, agrees to keep Rebecca only if she can have her for good. Rebecca, who is happy at the farm, chases a piglet into the next yard and meets Tony, who owns the neighboring farm, which is run by Homer Busby. Tony retrieves the pig, but falls in a well doing so. Upon climbing out, Tony is happy to meet Rebecca's attractive cousin, Gwen Warren. Miranda, who has not spoken to Homer for the past twenty-five years because he got drunk the night before their planned wedding and ... +


Cyrus Bartlett, manufacturer of "Crackly Grain Flakes," berates radio advertising executive Anthony Kent because he has failed to find a girl to be "Little Miss America" after nationwide advertising has gone out about the upcoming show. However, when he hears eight-year-old Rebecca Winstead's audition, Bartlett knows they have the right girl. Tony calls the studio and orders his assistant, singer and announcer Orville Smithers, to have Rebecca stop the audition, and Orville, thinking that Bartlett is not interested in her, tells Rebecca and her stepfather, Henry "Harry" Kipper, who is also her manager, to leave. Because they have been evicted by their landlady, Harry takes Rebecca upstate to Sunnybrook Farm, which belongs to Miranda Wilkins, the sister of Rebecca's deceased mother. When he learns that Rebecca has left the studio, Tony is frantic, but Orville tells him that they have the addresses of all the girls who auditioned. After ordering Orville to find her, Tony, to escape the city, leaves for his farm upstate. At Sunnybrook Farm, Miranda, who has no use for theater people, because she thinks that they ruined her sister's life, agrees to keep Rebecca only if she can have her for good. Rebecca, who is happy at the farm, chases a piglet into the next yard and meets Tony, who owns the neighboring farm, which is run by Homer Busby. Tony retrieves the pig, but falls in a well doing so. Upon climbing out, Tony is happy to meet Rebecca's attractive cousin, Gwen Warren. Miranda, who has not spoken to Homer for the past twenty-five years because he got drunk the night before their planned wedding and forgot to attend, orders Rebecca to stay on their side of the fence. Rebecca, however, does visit Tony, and as she eats with him, Orville arrives and relates that he has failed to find the girl. Tony calls Bartlett, who yells at him, but during the phone call, Orville hears Rebecca singing and realizes that she is the girl they have been looking for. Tony has her sing over the phone and Bartlett is mollified, but Miranda, when she learns that Tony wants to take Rebecca to New York for the broadcast, orders him out of her house. Gwen, who likes Tony, suggests that they do a remote broadcast from Tony's house, and Rebecca and Tony agree. On the night of the broadcast, Homer helps Rebecca sneak down a ladder out her window, but as he attempts to follow, the ladder falls over and he is forced to hide in Rebecca's room. When Homer falls off a rocking chair, Miranda discovers him in the room and admonishes him. Homer, however, is relieved that she is finally talking to him, and as she softens, he succeeds in getting her to give him another chance. Rather than be angry about the broadcast, Miranda now takes a proprietary interest in Rebecca and makes sure that her salary is high enough. When Gwen learns from Orville that singer Lola Lee, who has snubbed him, is in love with Tony and gets the wrong idea that Tony wants her, she acts cold to him. Harry, who has heard the broadcast with his new wife Melba, arrives at the farm with his attorney after getting a court order to take Rebecca away. After they leave with Rebecca, Gwen tells Tony, and he takes her with him to New York, where they find Rebecca in the offices of his competitor Purvis, who has just signed a contract with Harry for Rebecca to sing as "Little Miss Universe." However, Rebecca loses her voice during the broadcast, and a doctor, after examining her in private, says she may recover in a year or two, whereupon Purvis tears up the contract. Tony pays Harry and Melba $5,000 for Harry to give up Rebecca so that she can return to Miranda, and Rebecca reveals that she was faking, with the doctor's assistance. In the audience during her broacast, Bartlett smiles, Orville and Lois hold hands, as do Homer and Miranda, and Tony watches with his arm around Gwen. +

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

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