There are no dull moments when a minister’s daughter is also an artist and suffragette in Adventure in Baltimore by writer Lionel Houser; producer Richard H. Berger; and director Richard Wallace. Robert DeGrasse, Robert Swink, and Friedrich Hollaender handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California.
The 89-minute drama adapts Christopher Isherwood’s (August 26, 1904 – January 4, 1986) story. Its distributor was RKO Radio Pictures. Its USA-premiere and release dates were April 19 and 28, 1949.
The movie begins with Miss Ingram’s Seminary expelling art student Dinah Sheldon (Shirley Temple) for:
- Attending political rallies;
- Disdaining clothed models;
- Wearing two petticoats instead of the mandatory five.
Episcopalian pastor/Dr. Andrew Sheldon (Robert Young) supports pursuing dreams since his father pressured him into abandoning ballroom dancing. Wife Lilly (Josephine Hutchinson) worries.
Absence does not make Tom Wade’s (John Agar) heart grow fonder. He dates Bernice Eckert (Carol Brannon). Dinah shares dreams of living in Paris and studying art.
Unemployed men (John Sheehan, Jack Shutta, Max Wagner) in a park argue over Dinah’s paintings. Dinah gets Tom to post bail for her and her “art critics”. Dan Fletcher (Albert Sharpe), Andrew’s vestryman, urges Dinah’s punishment.
Tom agonizes over speaking at the Forum Society’s Spring Dance. He appreciates Dinah’s offer to be his speechwriter. Dinah slightly changes a speech from her school debates. She gives Tom the speech at the last minute. Attendees mock Tom’s defense of female emancipation. The waltz contest judge’s (Harold Miller) proclaiming Andrew and Dinah winners over Bernice and Tom further upsets Tom.
Dinah comes to Tom’s workplace. She refuses to leave until Tom promises to be her model for the “Spirit of Labor” competition. She vows that he will be unrecognizable in the completed painting.
Tom agrees to pose in the Sheldon greenhouse. He dons his bathing suit. He holds a hammer. The art contest director (Douglas Wood) recognizes Dinah’s anonymous entry. An uproar results over Tom’s skimpily clothed body and recognizable face.
Bernice dumps Tom. Tom gets fired as automobile mechanic. Dan and Lilly persuade Andrew to have Dinah stay with her paternal aunt in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dinah will be out of sight, out of mind while the Church considers Andrew’s promotion.
Tom accompanies Dinah and Lilly in the Sheldon carriage. Andrew admires Dinah’s integrity. He decides to head her off at the train station and keep her in Baltimore. He instead has to go to jail to post bail on Dinah, Lily and Tom for defending suffragettes from hostile critics.
The movie ends with:
- Andrew sermonizing on tolerance;
- Tom speaking of his lifelong love for Dinah;
- Dan telling of Andrew’s appointment as bishop.