*½/**** Image F (colorized)/C (b&w) Sound C
starring Shirley Temple, John Boles, Rochelle Hudson, Jane Darwell
screenplay by Arthur J. Beckhard and Patterson McNutt
directed by Irving Cummings
by Alex Jackson It's funny how a film like Curly Top can feel so weird and so derivative at the same time. Starting with the writing, there is barely any plot to speak of. Shirley Temple is Curly Top, the orphaned child of two circus performers who has only her older sister Mary (Rochelle Hudson) to protect her from mean headmistress Mrs. Higgins (Rafaela Higgins). After becoming enchanted with Curly during a visit to the orphanage, wealthy benefactor Edward Morgan (John Boles) seeks to adopt her under the alias "Mr. Jones." Mary insists that she be adopted along with Curly, as she had promised her parents that the two would never separate. Morgan agrees, but as he spends more time with them he begins to fall in love with Mary. Though Mary likes Morgan back, she's engaged to the handsome Jimmie Rogers (Maurice Murphy). It's up to Curly to bring her "two favourite grown-ups" together.