(director: Henry Hathaway; screenwriters: Vincent Lawrence/Sylvia Thalberg/story Harry Bright by Jack Kirkland & Melville Baker; cinematographer: Harry Fischbeck; editor: Ellsworth Hoagland; music: Harry Revel/Mack Gordon; cast: Shirley Temple (Penny Day), Gary Cooper (Dennis Day), Carole Lombard (Toni Carstairs), Guy Standing (Felix Evans), Charlotte Granville (Mrs. Crane), George Webb (Uncle George), Henry Kolker (Mr. Clark), Gilbert Emery (James Higginson); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Louis Lighton; Paramount; 1934-B/W)

The six-year-old Shirley Temple steals this Depression-era comedy.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The six-year-old Shirley Temple steals this Depression-era comedy. The film has badly dated. Director Henry Hathaway (“The Desert Fox”/”Kiss of Death”) lets the child sensation Shirley Temple, the most popular actress of the 1930s, steal all the scenes from stars Gary Cooper and Carole Lombard.

It’s based on the story by Jack Kirkland and Melville Baker, and is written by Sylvia Thalberg and Vincent Lawrence.

A high-living itinerant international conman Jerry Day (Gary Cooper) and his traveling companion Toni Carstairs (Carole Lombard), flee Shanghai by boat after his latest scam, where Jerry receives a telegram from his deceased first wife’s brother that he wishes to adopt Jerry’s child Penny (Shirley Temple). Jerry heads to the Connecticut home of his stuffy brother-in-law and intends to sell him the child for $75,000, while Toni goes to Paris thinking she might dump Jerry for a crime-free life. When Jerry meets Penny for the first time he falls in love with her and takes her to Paris. He promises Toni he will reform, but his real estate salesman job doesn’t make him happy. When he meets the smooth jewel thief Felix Evans (Guy Standing) he’s lured into stealing for him a valuable pearl necklace from the wealthy Mrs. Crane (Charlotte Granville), but changes his mind and returns the pearls after getting into a gunfight with Felix. While Felix dies, Jerry is wounded. Realizing he can’t support his child honestly, he returns the pearls and Mrs. Crane refuses to press charges. The loving woman also adopts Penny and sends her to a wealthy boarding school to get a good education. It’s the kind of sentimental drama that would be a turn off without Shirley’s dancing, singing and cheery quips.