Film Review: “Baby, Take a Bow” (1934)


Theatrical Poster

(1934-Fox Film)

Cast: Shirley Temple, James Dunn, Claire Trevor, Ray Walker, Dorothy Libaire, Alan Dinehart

Director: Harry Lachman

Plot: Two ex-cons (James Dunn and Ray Walker) try to go straight while being constantly hounded by an over-zealous detective. When an expensive set of pearls goes missing, the boys are the prime suspects. When one of the men’s toddler daughter gets into the act, she finds herself in mortal peril.

Review: This film was the first to feature young Shirley Temple as a headliner, and she certainly shines! Despite top billing, however, her character does little in the first 3/4ths of the film besides be cute. However, Temple shows her acting chops in the latter portion of the film, completely obscuring the grown-ups alongside her. James Dunn and Claire Trevor do much with the threadbare script, quite effectively playing a young couple struggling to get by. The one musical number, “On Account-A I Love You,” while not as strong as the Dunn/Temple classic from Stand Up and Cheer, is still delightful, although Jimmy is offscreen for much of the dance portion, the camera squarely on Temple. The ending may frighten some younger children, as Temple is at the mercy of a desperate criminal, but older children will probably enjoy this film, as will their parents. Despite being an “A” picture, it plays like a “B” and that actually adds quite a bit of charm.

Lobby Card

Notes: The new DVD release contains both a restored Black and White version as well as a (surprisinly nice looking) colorized version. Beware of older DVD editions, as they used the video masters from the old colorized VHS release. The version contained in the Shirley Temple Collection series of DVD packs is the newer release.

Review by Jonathan Ruskin.

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Categories: Film Reviews | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Film Review: “Baby, Take a Bow” (1934)

  1. Geraldine Hawkins

    I didn’t see this one until after I grew up (on late-night television), and I was stressed-out in those last scenes worrying about Shirley!

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