Curly Top (1935) Poster

(1935)

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8/10
Sweetness And Values A La Shirley Temple
ccthemovieman-112 January 2008
This is another solid Shirley Temple film with some wonderful, sweet scenes and lines you certainly wouldn't hear in movies today. For instance: "It's Sunday. Would you like to go to Sunday School? Ohh, I love Sunday School!"

In addition to the innocence, truly nice characters, decent humor and music, what I appreciated was the lack of screen time of the villain. Many movies have some nasty person giving Shirley a hard time. To me, that's uncomfortable, but in this film the villain gets little screen time. Thus, much of the film features nothing but good, likable people.

That list is headed by pretty Rochelle Hudson as "Mary Blair" and charming singer/good guy John Boles as "Edward Morgan" and, finally, good old Arthur Treacher as the butler (what else?!), "Reynolds.".

To be fair, I didn't think the songs were that super, except for Shirley's "Animal Crackers In My Soup," which is a great song. If I recall, at least half the songs in this film were by the adults (two by Boles and one by Rochelle) and, frankly, I'd rather hear little Miss Temple. Boles' numbers and voice are too outdated for today. He has that Rudy Vallee-type 'early 30s voice.

Do not watch this on a colorized VHS version as I did. Shirley's teeth are green and it's distracting. Stick to the black-and-white, especially now that it is available with a good DVD transfer.

Overall, a nice story with lots of nice people give you a warm feeling when viewing this.
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10/10
Drop Dead Gorgeous
overseer-324 January 2002
Shirley was cute, but if you are a woman, and honest, you will admit to yourself that while you are enjoying Shirley as the little orphan charmer, that it is John Boles and Rochelle Hudson who keep your interest perked in this film. John Boles was drop dead gorgeous, probably THE best looking leading man EVER to come out of Hollywood. I have to admit that he is the reason I enjoy watching this film over and over again. They don't make leading men like him anymore in Hollywood. Men who looked like real men, distinguished, wearing real suits and ties: not models, porn stars, hippies, or gay stereotypes.
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8/10
The Right to Be Happy
lugonian4 January 2008
CURLY TOP (Fox, 1935), directed by Irving Cummings, stars popular child star Shirley Temple and her most distinctive features of all, the curls of her hair seen flashing on camera during the opening credits before her smiling face fills up the screen. This is followed by the faces and listed names of her co-stars John Boles and Rochelle Hudson who are equally matched in the story that revolves around Temple's character. Reportedly an unofficial remake to the Jane Webster story "Daddy Long Legs" most recently filmed in 1931 with Janet Gaynor and Warner Baxter, this version remains one of the most beloved movies in Temple's early career.

In an fade-in reminiscent to a Charles Dickens novel that opens during a cold, dark, rainy night at the Lakeside Orphanage where a group of little girls are seen marching upstairs in perfect order, escorted by the stern Mrs. Higgins (Rafaela Ottiano) and the very nice Henrietta Denham (Jane Darwell). Other members of the orphanage are the Blair sisters, Mary (Rochelle Hudson) and Elizabeth (Shirley Temple), whose parents, stage performers, were killed in an automobile accident. Mary, the eldest, not only earns her keep helping with the chores from morning till night, but looks after Elizabeth, who playful manner always lands her in trouble. Aside from acquiring a pony named Spunky and a duck as her pets, Elizabeth, better known as "Curly," entertains the orphans by singing the songs written by Mary. Her entertainment is witnessed by the visiting members of the board of trustees headed by Mr. Wyckoff (Etienne Girardot), and Edward Morgan (John Boles), a bachelor heir to millions whose fortune may be the means of financial support for the orphanage. So impressed by this little girl, Morgan decides to sponsor the girls in secret, acting as a lawyer to his millionaire friend, "Hiram Jones" who wants to adopt them. Morgan fulfills his act of human kindness by having the girls (pony and duck, too) stay with him for the summer at his beach house, accompanied by his Aunt Genevieve (Esther Dale), Reynolds (Arthur Treacher), the butler, and a chef (Billy Gilbert), giving them every happiness money can buy. While Elizabeth is having the time of her life, ranging from water skiing with "Uncle Edward" and entertaining guests by doing a hula dance at the beach, Mary, who has attracted the attention of Jimmy Rogers (Maurice Murphy), a young pilot, becomes disillusioned when she overhears the reason why she and "Curly" were actually taken in by Morgan in the first place.

A light-hearted story with doses of fine tunes thrown in, compliments of composers Ted Koehler, Edward Heyman, Irving Caesar and Ray Henderson, including "Animal Crackers in My Soup" (sung by Shirley Temple); "It's All So New to Me" (sung by John Boles as he envisions wall paintings of Curly coming to life); "The Simple Things in Life" (sung by Rochelle Hudson); "When I Grow Up" (sung by Temple enacting the part of a little girl, young adult and grandmother in a wheelchair); and "Curly Top" (sung by Boles, danced by Temple on top of piano). Boles and Hudson each provide solos to best advantage while "Animal Crackers in My Soup" became as synonymous to Temple's "On the Good Ship Lollipop."

Although Hudson never appeared opposite Temple again, John Boles would enact the role as her father in THE LITTLEST REBEL (Fox, 1935). Next to James Dunn, Boles works extremely well with Temple. Such a likable actor, Boles, through his good graces captured on screen, demonstrates how much he enjoys working with Temple, particularly with his sincere hug. Arthur Treacher, whose butler characters has become his trademark, is teamed with Temple for the first time. With his catch phrase "My word!" taking precedence over Temple's constant "Oh, my goodness," they make a wonderful pair. One of their key scenes together finds Treacher teaching Temple table etiquette. "My word!" Another notable moment finds Temple doing a Hawaiian dance on the beach, a scene that was used for Temple's latter movie, YOUNG PEOPLE (1940), and a segment for the 1970s documentary about the movies, "That's Hollywood" narrated by Tom Bosley. In an episode dedicated to deleted scenes from the final movie print, the writers of that series mislabeled the hula dance number edited from CURLY TOP because of Temple being topless, sporting only a hula dress and a lei over her neck, while in reality this scene has always existed in the finished product.

Formerly presented on many local TV channels since the 1960s on its Shirley Temple festivals, by which many stations eliminated the opening ten minutes, having the movie begin instead in the morning where Mrs. Denham (Jane Darwell) is seen raising the window shades and finding Curly's horse sleeping on the bed next to her. CURLY TOP, along with other Temple favorites, were later shown on various cable channels, ranging from The Disney Channel (1990s); American Movie Classics (1996-2000, sporadic revivals after-wards), Fox Movie Channel and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: July 6, 2015). Available in both VHS and DVD in black and white or "colorized" formats, the most complete copy for CURLY TOP (77 minutes) happens to be from its 1988 VHS copy distributed by Playhouse Video that even goes as far as including the exit music to the title song in blank screen following the closing casting credits.

CURLY TOP may not be reality, but it sure serves its purpose as a happy kind of movie for everyone and anyone to enjoy, thanks to those who've made it all possible, the staff, supporting players, and most of all, "Curly Top" herself. (***)
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10/10
Little Shirley Invites You To Join Her For A Snack Of Animal Crackers
Ron Oliver7 September 2000
A spunky little orphan, who brings happiness into the rather bleak institution where she lives, shakes her CURLY TOP and wins the heart of a young bachelor millionaire. Her beautiful older sister doesn't do so badly, either...

Shirley Temple is in her prime in this delightful family film. Her infectious smile & sparkling personality are ample indications as to why she was Hollywood's box office champ for years. Replete with talent & abundant charm, Little Miss Temple is a constant joy to watch & a source of never-failing amusement.

Up against a champion scene stealer, the romantic leads in Shirley's films never got a great deal of attention and it is no different here. Although both are attractive and more than competent, John Boles & Rochelle Hudson are the latest duo to sacrifice themselves on Temple's altar. Each are even given pleasant songs to sing, but the viewer squirms impatiently, wishing the story to return to The Real Star.

Shirley always found much stiffer competition from the wonderful character actors who populated her films. Here she's up against some heavy hitters. Sweet Jane Darwell & peppery Rafaela Ottiano appear as the matrons of the orphanage. Etienne Girardot plays a nasty-tempered trustee. Most especially there's the inimitable Arthur Treacher, adding another comic butler to his resume. This tall, imperious Englishman with the properly stiff upper lip was always a memorable cinematic companion to Miss Temple and he was more than capable of holding his own against the little moppet in the four films they shared. Movie mavens will recognize the great Billy Gilbert as Boles' comic cook.

Shirley gets to sing `When I Grow Up' & her classic `Animal Crackers.'
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Classic Shirley
trueluvnanarchy4 September 2005
Being an extremely rebellious teenage girl and a huge Shirley Temple fanatic seemed really odd to everyone who knew me. Not only did I love the strange alternate universe she existed in where little orphan girls can triumph over any tragedy, and sing and dance all the while, but I easily recognized the young actress's remarkable talent and charisma. I can't think of any child star, now or then, who could carry an entire film the way she did every year in the 1930's. She is completely unrivaled. In "Curly Top" she plays Elizabeth Blair, a sweetly precocious orphan who, along with her older sister Mary, is adopted by a kind-hearted wealthy businessman. The musical numbers are absolutely classic, and include the famous "Animal Crackers In My Soup" in which she leads her fellow orphans in a dining room singalong. Then there's the ultra-adorable song n' dance (and jump-rope) number "When I Grow Up", where we get to see little Shirley dress up in various costumes that include a wedding gown and an old lady getup, gray hair and all. Last but not least, Shirley does one of her most famous tapdance numbers on top of a white grand piano in the aptly-titled song "Curly Top". The seasoned supporting cast definitely shines as well. John Boles is extremely charming as the handsome bachelor Edward Morgan, although his piano-accompanied operatic singing can seem a little tedious, especially to younger viewers. One of my favorite actors, Arthur Treacher, expertly plays the quietly sarcastic butler whose stiff exterior quickly melts after befriending young Elizabeth. Treacher is better known for his role in the later Shirley Temple film, The Little Princess, in which he plays the cruel schoolmaster's flamboyant brother, Mr Birdy. Filled with interesting characters and situations, "Curly Top" is such a delightful movie. It's got musical numbers, romance, drama, and comedy, all wrapped up in a cute little package. It's a must-have for Shirley Temple fans, and classic movie fans in general.

~Darlene
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9/10
It's All So New to Me
Leahcurry10 August 2005
I must have been blind to hardly remember a thing about this film when I was a preteen! That's quite unusual because since that time, and this is a quintessential Shirley Temple film, very fun with a wonderful cast all around.

This was the first remake Shirley did of a Mary Pickford film (Daddy Long Legs). (Shirley) and her young adult sister Mary (Rochelle Hudson) are orphans adopted by wealthy orphanage trustee Edward Morgan (John Boles). The day he meets both of them, he is captivated by them both, but really has his eyes set on Shirley.

Shirley is quite the most charismatic and adorable youngster at the orphanage, but always seems to get into trouble, especially by some of the stuffy trustees and one of the matrons. Of everyone she sees besides the children, her sister, Mrs. Denham (the matron winningly played by Jane Darwell), and Edward Morgan are the only ones who stand by her. When the director orders the matrons to take her to a public institution, Edward flatly tells him he will completely withdraw his support (which is needed, as he is very wealthy). Then he talks to Shirley and asks if whether or not they can be friends. She refuses because she has to has to use "Ma'am, Sir", and smile all the time around grownup visitors. She further captivates him more, and then he asks if a "friend" of his could adopt her. She goes to ask Mary, who tells Edwards that she promised their parents to never leave Shirley. Out of sympathy, he accepts.

Edward keeps up the deception that he is not their true guardian, but that they are loaned to him for the summer. It's quite obvious why. First, he is lonely for companionship, to be loved just for himself, not his great wealth. Wealth can't buy everything, obviously. Next, he is caring enough to allow Shirley not to continue the excessive display of gratitude she's had to give.

Arthur Treacher has some wonderful scenes as the butler, completely outdoing himself when he disgustedly grabs Shirley's duck by the neck!

Rochelle Hudson, as the older sister, gets to sing "The Simple Things in Life" (and does it well), but her characterization is somewhat weak in places. She is a touch too gentle, vulnerable, and mature, but is also very sincere and sometimes light-hearted. She captivates a very young man named Jimmy Rogers, who proposes to her. She refuses him at first, but the night all this happened, Edward Morgan has already become jealous of him, not knowing he's in love with Mary. His Aunt Genevieve (excellently played by Esther Dale) tells him she thinks (actually, knows) he's very fond of her, and suspects that Jimmy will propose to Mary before the summer ends. This only makes Edward more disgusted, and Mary overhears him angrily say to his aunt that he cares nothing for Mary. She immediately takes the remark the wrong way and accepts Jimmy's proposal. But Edward cools down and wises up, finds Mary to talk to her alone, only to learn they're engaged. It's obvious that he's sad, which breaks Mary's heart. But he generously asks to add to their happiness in any way he can, little knowing what is really in store for him. Shirley learns of the engagement and says that she wants him to wed Mary. But despite Shirley simply being like she always was, John Boles really adds to the film immensely, my second favorite, and the actual reason I watch this film. He has the most rounded-out character and is utterly convincing as a very kind-hearted, generous, loving, and refreshingly human gentleman. He gives the most realistic characterization in the film, mostly because Shirley is just her normal movie persona. He beats out Jane Darwell, a wonderful character actress and Shirley's frequent co-star. He is GORGEOUS and despite being at least 38 when he did the film, looks exactly the right age to be Shirley's father and Rochelle Hudson's love interest (at 19, she looks older). He sings two songs (the same as Shirley), but with a brilliant voice that is "almost operatic" but very easy on the ears. "It's All So New To Me" is his daydream song right after he decides to adopt her, and the more upbeat "Curly Top" is a surprise for her. Discovering him for the wonderful actor and singer he is really is all so new to me.
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10/10
Warms the heart
lora649 September 2001
Just an all-round charming musical film that shows little Shirley at her best. She sparkles, sings and dances, and has some amusing moments no one can resist, as in "Oh my goodness!" when she gives us a quizzical look.

The story opens at the orphanage with Elizabeth Blair (Shirley Temple) as an orphan along with her older sister Mary (Rochelle Hudson). The cute youngster comes to the attention of a visiting wealthy beneficiary of the orphanage, Edward Morgan (John Boles), who can't seem to put her out of his mind after meeting her and eventually he arranges to adopt her but she's not to be parted from her older sister, Mary, so both are accepted.

Lovely Mary is so appreciative of their good fortune that Edward becomes captivated by her charms also, and soon love grows between them but unspoken. Enter young Jimmie (Maurice Murphy) who's intent on getting engaged to Mary and succeeds, but how will it end?

Arthur Treacher is amusing with his formal butler ways and adds to the fun, particularly the kitchen scene.

I think that after "The Little Princess" this one is my next favorite of all Shirley's movies. Very enjoyable, uplifting and heartwarming.
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7/10
"Animal Crackers In My Soup"
bkoganbing29 July 2014
Shirley Temple is at the top of her adorable moppet game in Curly Top as she becomes the catalyst that gets her and her older sister Rochelle Hudson out of an orphanage and married to a rich man. Cinderella never had it better.

Shirley and Rochelle's parents were killed in an accident and Rochelle promised them as they were dying that she and Shirley would not be separated. She even stayed on at the orphanage to cook and clean after she became an adult.

Prince Charming who looks a lot like John Boles is captivated by Shirley when she sings one of the songs most identified with her Animal Crackers In My Soup. He's inherited a ton of money and is the newest member of the orphanage's board of directors. Boles brings them to his dream house with aunt Esther Dale, butler Arthur Treacher, and cook Billy Gilbert. Sounds like a dream house to me.

All that's missing in this Cinderella story is a coach that turns back into a pumpkin.

Even at my age I have to admit to being charmed by Shirley and her singing and dancing and all around sunny disposition. Curly Top ranks as one of her best films and holds up well for today's audience.
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7/10
Perhaps a bit too cute...
MartinHafer19 July 2013
"Curly Top" is an enjoyable film--as are most of Shirley Temple's films. And, while I do recommend it, the film cannot be counted among her very best even if it did feature one of her most famous songs, "Animal Crackers".

The film begins with Shirley living in a stuffy orphanage. Her precocious ways are NOT appreciated by the head mistress, but the chairman of the board of directors, Edward Morgan (John Boles,) is instantly captivated with her charms (as was most of America at the time!). His wanting to adopt her was not at all surprising--but his insistence that he was acting as an agent for a rich benefactor never really made sense*. As for Shirley, she wants to be adopted but declines, as she doesn't want to be separated from her sister (Rochelle Hudson) who works doing menial work at the orphanage. When Morgan hears of this, he agrees to take both (though the sister is about 19--which makes it all a bit odd!) and takes them to his home--but still not divulging that HE was their new benefactor. Later, when Morgan falls in love with the older sister, things get complicated!

Throughout most of the film, Shirley is simply adorable--perhaps too adorable. I have a VERY high tolerance for her sweetness, but here she seemed a bit less of a person and more of a performing machine. This is because she sings a few too many songs (one of which is HEAVILY scripted and choreographed) and too often she seemed to mug for the camera--definitely NOT typical of most of her vehicles. Simply put her saying "Oh my goodness" all the time eventually wore thin--though she was still, without question, quite adorable.

Overall, I did like the film--even with the way they used Shirley's character. But, the film (even apart from Shirley), had too much singing (Hudson's number was very weak and Boles' voice was too thin by today's standards), the plot was thin and made little sense as well as the idea of a man taking that much interest in Shirley did, by today's standards, seem a bit creepy. But, as I said, it was good overall due to Shirley's charm.

*This film is a re-working of the old novel "Daddy Long Legs" (which was also a play and Mary Pickford vehicle). While the plot worked fine around the turn of the century, by 1935 it was quite dated.
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10/10
One of the best of Shirley's films
smaniaci25 July 2001
I have watched Curly Top so many times. It is a classic. Shirley Temple makes it very much so. The title alone lets you know that it is a charming film, albeit from the 1930s.

Little Shirley sings one of her signature songs in the film. It is "Animal Crackers in my Soup." She sings it near a table at the orphanage. Everyone else tries to stop her. However, Shirley's teen sister, in the movie, sticks up for her as always. Her screen name is Mary (played by Rochelle Hudson).

I'm so glad that's what happens.
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8/10
Shirley is tops!
JohnHowardReid22 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
My lovely grandmother took me to see this film when I was ten years old. I can still remember the huge theater, packed to the doors. So it was a real pleasure to find the film available on a DVD - even if that DVD was somewhat less than perfect and seems to have been duped from a worn if serviceable projection print which has an ugly jump in the middle of Shirley's delightful song, "Animal Crackers".

The movie also has rather modest production values, but Rochelle Hudson also has a song and she looks absolutely terrific! On the other hand, Mr. Boles carries the air of having strolled into the wrong film by mistake! Fortunately, the rest of the players are most agreeable and it's real nice to see Esther Dale in such a large part.

However, I don't like Cummings' direction. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now! This guy had a TV complex long before TV became a household necessity. He just loves (and way overdoes) close-ups! But despite the director's attempt at sabotage, I still give the movie an 8/10 rating.
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10/10
Squirrelly, Pearly, Curly, Shirley "Oh my goodness"
weezeralfalfa19 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The only Shirley Temple(S.T.) film I can think of where Shirley has a sister(Rochelle Hudson as Mary) interacting with her. However, clearly, Mary is an adult, maybe a dozen years older than Shirley. In fact, she's the romantic interest of the lead male(John Boles),and we wonder what she is doing still being treated as an orphan?! Most of the personal conflicts are relatively mild compared to many S.T. films. The exceptions are Shirley vs. the orphanage superintendent: Mrs. Higgins and orphanage trustee Wyckoff: a no nonsense elderly gentleman. Unfortunately, he came visiting on the wrong day for Shirley. Some of Shirley's antics understandably angered the power elite of the orphanage. John Boles, an easy-going trustee, who held the purse strings of the orphanage, had to bail Shirley out of trouble by offering to adopt her and her sister Mary. When these two left the orphanage, the superintendent and matron(Jane Darnell) broke down in tears, which they told each other was occasioned by happiness. But, it's obvious this isn't the explanation.

The second half of the film, which takes place in Boles' aunt's home, where Boles lives, is almost free of significant conflicts. There is the question who is going to marry Mary. The obvious choice is Boles. However, he inexplicably doesn't let on that he's interested in her until the end, although it's obvious he likes her. This leaves Mary open to other suitors, and Boles almost looses her. Such conflicts are mostly kept under wraps.

There are 5 main songs. Shirley's lengthy rendition of "Animal Crackers in my Soup", sung during supper at the orphanage, is much the best remembered. However, I think all are catchy. Shirley's other big song "When I Grow up" is actually composed of several distinct segments, making it quite long, with changes of wardrobe. Later, Arthur Treacher, as the very tall, thin, amusing butler, and Billy Gilbert, the chubby cook, sing their version of this song. Shirley also briefly sings "On the Beach at Waikiki", while doing the hula. Rochelle Hudson(Mary)sings "The Simple Things in Life". Near the end, John Boles sings "Curly Top" to Shirley, primarily. He had a great singing voice.

All in all, a pleasant viewing experience, and one of the most tuneful of S.T. films... I lost count of the number of times Shirley exclaimed "Oh, my goodness". But in the closing frames, she changes it to "Oh, my word", which was Treacher's standard exclamation.

John Boles was also the lead male in the S.T. film "The Littlest Rebel". He obviously had great rapport with Shirley. This is the first of 4 S.T. films that Arthur Treacher played the eccentric, if proficient, butler. Jane Darwell played a minor character in quite a few S.T. films.
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7/10
Little Miss Fix-It takes care of everybody's problems.
mark.waltz5 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
When Shirley Temple takes over in curing everybody's woes, they stay fixed. Late depression era audiences couldn't get enough of this adorable moppet, and for good reason. She put a face on President Roosevelt's New Deal. If a heavyset old lady (Marie Dressler), an aging vamp (Mae West) and an adorable little girl (Shirley) could dominate the box office of Hollywood during different years of the 30's, all could be right in the world.

Temple is a lovable orphaned tot whose older sister (Rochelle Hudson) has professed never to be separated from her. When one of the orphanages' trustees (John Boles) takes an interest in Temple, he becomes her secret benefactor, a la "Daddy Long Legs". It's obvious that one of the situations she cures is bringing together Hudson and Boles.

In the supporting cast are such dependable character actors as Esther Dale (as Boles' aunt), Arthur Treacher (as, what else?, their butler), Rafaela Ottiano (as the initially chilly but ultimately kind orphanage manager), Jane Darwell (as her chipper assistant), and Etienne Girardot (as the overly staid head trustee). Temple, Boles and Hudson all sing, but it is Temple's "Animal Crackers in My Soup" that will become the hit. She sings another song where she ages up to an old lady that is nicely done. A nice comical exchange between Temple and Ottiano involving a duck is one of the classic wisecracks of all time. That's what makes Temple so much fun in the way she deals with authoritarian adults. Like "Kids are People Too" years later, you never know just what she's going to say or do.

It seems that much of the character of Little Orphan Annie in the musical "Annie", was taken from this, especially Temple's repetition of "Oh, My Goodness". Ottiano is perhaps the only actress in Hollywood history who had a character in a Broadway musical, "Grand Hotel", changed to her name after she originated the part in the movie with a different name for the character.
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1/10
oh my word!!!
sratkiew0310 August 2003
you know all the bad things they say about Shirley temple?.... they're true. in curly top, she plays the part of a poor little orphan who charms all who meet her, (of course, isn't that what she does in all her movies?) including "handsome" edward morgan. all the people who are present during the LONG songs seem to think that singing the same thing over and over makes for a good song. (come to think of it, they pretty much SAY the same over and over too) all in all, this movie seems to display Shirley temple's cuteness other than really HAVE a plot.
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7/10
Curly Top (1935) ***
JoeKarlosi22 February 2006
This was only my second Shirley Temple film and therefore I don't have much to compare it with, but I have to say it was pretty good and it's very obvious why little Shirley was such a hit with audiences way back in the 1930's. Full of sweetness, charm, charisma, and sometimes even a hint of darling incorrigibility, Miss Temple gets to shine brightly in this picture.

Shirley stars as Elizabeth Blair (later dubbed "Curly"), a little girl residing at an orphanage with her much older sister Mary (Rochelle Hudson). It's an awfully tough place to live in, as Shirley gets into all sorts of trouble for doing things like allowing her little pony to sleep in her bed and daring to sing her popular song "Animal Crackers In My Soup" during mealtime with all her friends in the lunchroom. Enter the rich trustee of the orphanage, Edward Morgan (John Boles; I've always wondered what happened to him after FRANKENSTEIN), who instantly takes a special interest in little Elizabeth and then can't stop thinking about her; alone in his living room he plays the piano and sings (yucch) as he sees the little girl's cherubic face in the wall paintings he gazes at. He ultimately convinces his old aunt to let him adopt the child as well as her grown-up sister Mary. In their new ritzy environment, both sisters are very adoring of the handsome Edward, and Mary begins to fall in love with him. But there is another man who is also longing for Mary's hand, so it's up to Curly Top to try and bring Edward and Mary together.

I can't let this review go by without mentioning at this point that it occasionally struck me as a little peculiar that Mr. Morgan seemed more interested in little Elizabeth than he was in her older sister. I'm sure it was innocent enough in its day, but it just came off as odd sometimes. Well -- enough of that. This is, after all, a Shirley Temple showcase and she gets to sing another song, "When I Grow Up," during a sequence where she stages a benefit show for all her less fortunate friends back at the orphanage, and changes costumes and dances. Watching her sing and dance her way into our hearts, it's clear that she was a highly talented performer who could completely carry a film. *** out of ****
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7/10
Shirley in top form...talented tot with abundant charm...
Doylenf15 May 2005
CURLY TOP is indebted to SHIRLEY TEMPLE for whatever charm it has as a vehicle for the talented tot--and she gets to strut her stuff often enough to keep an audience happy. It's the kind of Temple film where you start getting restless when the spotlight goes to the romantic leads (John Boles and Rochelle Hudson), bland and poorly scripted as the leads usually are in a Temple film.

But with the spotlight on Temple--as when Shirley does her tap dancing atop a white piano or sings "Animal Crackers in my Soup" with cheerful confidence and a bit of mugging at an orphanage, you can see why she was America's box-office sweetheart during a four-year period.

Clearly ranks among the best early Temple vehicles with all of her charisma and dimpled charm on full display. Nice to see her sharing some good scenes with Arthur Treacher.
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