Film Review of Miss Annie Rooney: Shirley Temple in 1942 Comedy Drama

by DerdriuMarriner

Can the jitterbug help characters played by Shirley Temple and Dickie Moore in the 1942 film version of "Miss Annie Rooney"?

Being born poor cannot be helped. Staying poor can.

Will a beautiful, precocious teenager find happiness with a rich man’s son, or will her hapless inventor father ruin everything in “Miss Annie Rooney”?

Shirley Temple starred in remakes of four silent films from the repertoire of silent screen legend and Hollywood powerhouse, Mary Pickford (April 8, 1892 – May 29, 1979):
• "Curly Top," 1935 remake of "Daddy-Long-Legs" (1919),
• "Poor Little Rich Girl": 1917 same-named original remade in 1936,
• “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”: 1917 same-named original remade in 1938,
• "Miss Annie Rooney": 1917 same-named original remade in 1942.

Shirley Temple with Hollywood silent screen star legend Mary Pickford:

"Miss Annie Rooney" was the last of four remakes, featuring Shirley Temple, from Mary's repertoire.
outside of Hilton home on set of "I'll Be Seeing You," October 1943
outside of Hilton home on set of "I'll Be Seeing You," October 1943


Thinking outside the box can get a family in and out of trouble in Miss Annie Rooney by writerGeorge Bruce, producer Edward Small, and director Edwin L. Marin. Lester White, Fred R. Feitshans Jr. and Darrell Calker handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California’s Edward Small Productions studios.

The drama lasts 82 minutes. Its distributor was United Artists. Its USA-release date was May 29, 1942.

The movie begins with 14-year-old Annie Rooney (Shirley Temple) calling home an apartment in a large complex in a lower-class neighborhood. She has for family:

  • Her grandfather, retired NYC policeman Timothy Rooney Sr. (Guy Kibbee);

  • Her widowed father, unemployed salesman Timothy Rooney Jr. (William Garagan).

Sixteen-year-old boyfriend Joey (Roland Dupree) prioritizes his car over Annie.

Annie and Joey enjoy playing records and practicing jitterbug moves. They go to join friends. Joey’s car slams into 16-year-old Marty White Jr.’s (Dickie Moore) car.

Unlike Joey, Marty can afford to think beyond car repairs. His father is Consolidated Rubber owner/president Marty White Sr. (Jonathan Hale). He offers to escort Annie to the party. Joey repairs his car.

Marty does not know the jitterbug. He is a quick study with Annie. The two start dating. Joey turns to Annie’s best friend Myrtle (Peggy Ryan).

Mrs. White (Gloria Holden) disdains Annie. She excludes Annie from Marty’s birthday party guest list. Marty sends Annie the invitation and roses.

Annie has no formal dress. Tim has nothing left after:

  • Investing his savings in making rubber from milkweed (Asclepias spp);

  • Quitting his sales job.

Grandpop secures a $100 loan against his pension.

Annie goes to a fancy dress shop. The saleslady (Frances Morris) helps Annie find an evening gown, sandals and wrap. Annie’s outfit passes muster at the most exclusive and formal of dances.

Annie does not pass muster with the party’s guests and hosts. Mrs. White is angry about the presence of a guest whom she deems unwanted and unworthy. Marty’s friends think that Annie does not belong in upper class environments.

The ice breaks when Marty convinces Annie to teach his friends the jitterbug. Annie feels accepted. But then Tim pushes his way in. He tries to demonstrate his synthetic rubber invention.

Annie and Tim are expelled from the White mansion. Annie breaks up with Marty. She sleeps what she thinks is her last night in her own bed.

The movie ends with:

  • The furniture being collateral on Tim’s invention;

  • Consolidated Rubber lab results confirming milkweed’s rubber-making capabilities;

  • Tim keeping the furniture and receiving payment on his invention;

  • Annie passing muster with Marty’s family and friends.


Swing Dance 1942 ~ Annie Rooney (Shirley Temple) and Marty White (Dickie Moore) dance the jitterbug.

Published June 21, 2019, by Vintage Swing Dance to YouTube ~ URL:



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


Image Credits


outside of Hilton home on set of "I'll Be Seeing You," October 1943: kate gabrielle (classic film scans), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @

Vintage Swing Dance. "Swing Dance 1942." YouTube, June 21, 2019, @

United Artists press photo of Shirley Temple in the title role of Miss Annie Rooney: Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons @


United Artists press photo of Shirley Temple in the title role of Miss Annie Rooney
United Artists press photo of Shirley Temple in the title role of Miss Annie Rooney

"Miss Annie Rooney" via Amazon Instant Video

Miss Anne Rooney
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Shirley Temple Black's autobiography

Child Star: An Autobiography

1942: Shirley Temple Taking Part in a Radio Show for Servicemen Overseas

Shirley Temple Taking Part in a Radio Show for Servicemen Overseas

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 10/03/2022, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/17/2014

Kathleen, Me, too, I agree that Shirley was adorable. She always gave so much in all that she did. I re-watched the movie just yesterday, and after countless viewings it is still charming. I hope that you find the time to watch Shirley in "Miss Annie Rooney."

KathleenDuffy on 03/16/2014

Oh, my! Wasn't she just adorable!! I love the trailer for the movie - the dance sequence is really clever and funny. I am going to have to find time to watch the whole thing!

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