Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938 film) facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsRebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Allan Dwan|
|Produced by||Darryl F. Zanuck
|Screenplay by||Don Ettlinger
William M. Conselman
|Cinematography||Arthur C. Miller|
|Editing by||Allen McNeil|
|Distributed by||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation|
|Release date(s)||March 18, 1938|
|Running time||80 minutes|
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a 1938 American musical comedy film directed by Allan Dwan and starring Shirley Temple, Randolph Scott, and Bill Robinson. The screenplay by Don Ettlinger and Karl Tunberg is loosely based on Kate Douglas Wiggin's 1903 novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. This is the second of three films in which Shirley Temple and Randolph Scott appeared together; the others were To the Last Man (1933) and Susannah of the Mounties (1939).
The film tells the story of a talented orphan's trials and tribulations after winning a radio audition to represent a breakfast cereal. Highlights include Temple singing a medley of her hit tunes and dancing with Bill Robinson on a flight of stairs. The film was well received by Variety, and, in 2009, was available on videocassette and DVD.
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm film versions were made in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917) starring Mary Pickford; Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1932) starring Marian Nixon.
Rebecca Winstead (Shirley Temple), a musically talented orphan, is under the guardianship of her stepfather Harry Kipper (William Demarest). She auditions for the radio role of Little Miss America and wins it, but leaves the studio believing she lost it. Kipper regards her as a loser and a burden, and dumps her on the farm of her Aunt Miranda.
Tony Kent (Randolph Scott), the radio advertising executive who approved Rebecca for the role of Little Miss America, lives next door to Miranda. He recognizes Rebecca, and asks Miranda's permission to feature Rebecca on his radio show. When Aunt Miranda (Helen Westley) refuses to allow Rebecca to associate with show people, Kent broadcasts secretly from his house with Rebecca joining him on the sly.
Kipper hears Rebecca's broadcast and returns to the farm looking for easy money. As Rebecca's legal guardian, he forces Aunt Miranda to surrender the child. He takes her away from her friends and loved ones to New York City. There, he signs a contract with Kent's competitor Purvis (Alan Dinehart) to star Rebecca on another radio show.
When Rebecca suddenly develops laryngitis and cannot sing, Purvis angrily voids the contract. Kipper sells his legal guardianship to Aunt Miranda for $5,000. Rebecca reveals to her friends she feigned hoarseness to free herself from Kipper. The film ends with Rebecca and Aunt Miranda's farm hand Aloysius costumed as toy soldiers performing a dance on a flight on stairs.
Subplots include a romance between Kent and Rebecca's cousin Gwen (Gloria Stuart), a one-sided romance between radio singers Orville and Lola (Jack Haley and Phyllis Brooks), and the rekindling of an old romance between Aunt Miranda and neighbor Homer Busby (Slim Summerville).
- Shirley Temple as Rebecca Winstead, a young orphan
- Randolph Scott as Tony Kent, a radio advertising executive
- William Demarest as Harry Kipper, Rebecca's stepfather
- Helen Westley as Miranda, a farm woman and Rebecca's aunt
- Gloria Stuart as Gwen, Rebecca's cousin and Kent's romantic interest
- Bill Robinson as Aloysius, Miranda's farm hand
- Slim Summerville as Homer Busby, Miranda's old sweetheart
- Jack Haley as Orville Smithers, a radio performer
- Phyllis Brooks as Lola Lee, a radio performer
- Alan Dinehart as Purvis, Kent's competitor
- Franklin Pangborn as an organist at a radio station
The opening credits overture is an orchestral arrangement of what appears to be the film's unofficial theme tune by virtue of its several reprises, An Old Straw Hat by Harry Revel and Mack Gordon. The tune returns as an abbreviated vocal solo for Rebecca when she auditions at the radio station in the first scene, and returns later as a solo for Rebecca while she picks berries on the farm with Aloysius. In another scene, she sings it over the telephone.
When Rebecca broadcasts from Kent's country home midpoint in the film, she accompanies herself on the piano through a medley that includes On the Good Ship Lollipop, Animal Crackers in My Soup, When I'm with You, Oh My Goodness, and Goodnight My Love – all Temple hit tunes from previous films. The film ends with Temple and Robinson clad as toy soldiers dancing on a flight of stairs to The Toy Trumpet by Raymond Scott, Sidney D. Mitchell and Lew Pollack.
Other tunes in the film include the first scene's Happy Ending (Pollack and Mitchell) dubbed for Phyllis Brooks by Loretta Lee (Temple also recorded the song for the film, but it was cut before release); You've Gotta Eat Your Spinach, Baby (Revel and Gordon) sung comically and never in its entirety by girls auditioning for the radio show in the first scene; Come and Get Your Happiness (Pokrass and Yellen) sung by Temple; and Alone with You (Pollack and Mitchell) sung by Brooks (dubbed again by Loretta Lee) and Haley. The breakfast cereal's jingle Crackly Grain Flakes (Pollack and Mitchell) is sung by a male quartet.
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