Movie Mirrors Index

Little Miss Broadway

(1938 b 72')

En: 5 Ed: 4

In this musical comedy an orphan is adopted by managers of a hotel for actors, and she helps to save the place with her charm and talent.

Betsy (Shirley Temple) sings "Be Optimistic" in an orphanage show before she leaves for her new home at the Hotel Variety. Sarah Wendling (Edna May Oliver) calls to complain about the jazz band of Jimmy Clayton (Jimmy Durante). Going to bed, Betsy sings to Barbara Shea (Phyllis Brooks) "How Can I Thank You?" Sarah makes the hotel close for not paying rent, and Jimmy says they must raise money. Betsy calls on Sarah and waits outside. Sarah's nephew Roger Wendling (George Murphy) brings in Betsy. Roger and Betsy tap dance and sing "We Should Be Together." Betsy gives Sarah nearly $5 toward the rent. Roger disagrees with Sarah but owns only one-third. Roger offers to lend $2500 to Pop Shea (Edward Ellis) and his daughter Barbara. Roger takes Betsy out in his car, and she sings "If All the World Were Paper." At a club they find Willoughby Wendling (Donald Meek) singing in a quartet. Betsy suggests they rehearse at the hotel, where they pay $2080 for a year in advance, and with what Jimmy raised this is enough.

Barbara thanks Roger, and they help Betsy with her reading. Sarah learns that Roger is seeing Barbara and goes to the hotel to see her. Sarah accuses Roger of paying Barbara's rent. Shy Jimmy proposes to a telephone operator, who is talking to others. Officers come in for Betsy; but Jimmy delays them. Roger helps Betsy escape while Jimmy brings down a midget. Betsy sadly tells Willoughby it is her birthday. In the Wendling dining room the hotel people surprise Betsy with a cake; but Sarah comes in and tells them to get out except officers take Betsy. Roger and Barbara come in with presents and argue with Sarah. Willoughby kicks the butler Simmons for snitching.

At the orphanage Betsy cries, but her friends sing "Be Optimistic." Roger asks Willoughby's quartet for the hotel and $50,000, and Willoughby makes the lawyer take his case. Betsy has Miss Hutchins (Jane Darwell) read her the news of the injunction. Betsy sneaks out down a chain of bed-sheets and gets a ride on a bicycle with a paper boy. In court Roger testifies he plans to put on a show. Betsy comes in and objects to Sarah's opinion of the actors. The Judge (Claude Gillingwater) demands to see the show. The band plays, and Betsy sings "Thank You for the Use of the Hall." The quartet sings, and Betsy joins them for "Swing Me an Old-Fashioned Song." Roger dances and sings "Little Miss Broadway" with Betsy. The show is a success, and in the final scene Betsy asks for a marriage license for Roger and Barbara.

Shirley Temple fans will like this for the singing, the dancing, and the story-book tale that makes audiences feel good while being entertained.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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