It can be daunting to become wife #4 in A Kiss for Corliss by writer Howard Dimsdale; producer Colin Miller; and director Richard Wallace. Robert DeGrasse, Frank Doyle, and Werner R. Heymann handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California’s General Service Studios.
The 88-minute comedy boasts characters from Frederick Hugh Herbert’s (1897-1958) Corliss Archer stories. It follows the 1945-released comedy Kiss and Tell. Its distributor was United Artists. Its Des Moines-premiere and USA-release dates were November 16 and 25, 1949.
The movie begins with Kenneth Marquis (David Niven) and Attorney Taylor (Richard Gaines) discussing divorce settlements with Mrs. Marquis’ lawyer, Harry P. Archer (Tom Tully). Seventeen-year-old Corliss Archer (Shirley Temple) gets past Secretary/Miss Hibbs (Barbara Billingsley). She interrupts Kenneth’s complaints against wife #3 getting:
- Minks (blond, rainbow, silver blue);
- 50-foot/15.24-meter schooner.
Corliss claims to be down to her last $1.50. Harry insists that she wait outside. Kenneth volunteers gifting or lending Corliss what she needs. Harry refuses.
Harry alerts Corliss to boyfriend Dexter Franklin (Darryl Hickman) bringing a date to the Penguin Club restaurant. Corliss confides in BFF Mildred Pringle (Virginia Welles) at their slumber party. She gets Kenneth’s gift and message “May this brighten a youth blighted by parental stupidity and miserliness.” Janet (Gloria Holden) warns against returning the gift since Harry eats a candy.
Corliss contemplates bashing Dexter. She decides to invent romancing “sweet Kenny-boy.” Mildred’s brother Raymond (Robert Ellis) will leather-bind Corliss’ diary. He will show Dexter the Kenneth-related passages.
Corliss and Dexter get caught in the Penguin Club during a back-room gambling raid. They get locked in the basement. They manage to escape through a window at 5 a.m. They observe police (Garry Owen, Max Wagner) at Corliss’. Corliss purports not remembering anything since age 9.
Harry and Janet begin reading diary passages aloud to jump-start Corliss’ memory. Kenneth buys advertising space in Raymond’s newspaper after seeing copies of Corliss’ diary. Raymond provides diary excerpts for magazine reporter Hal Frisco (John Wald) to publish front-page.
Kenneth displays lingerie from his and Corliss’ purported night together. The newspaper publishes their engagement. Kenneth refuses to issue a denial because of breach-of-promise and stockholder suits. Harry thinks about issuing a retraction for Glimpse’s 6 p.m. or special editions.
The movie ends with:
Navy chaplain/Uncle George (Roy Roberts) conducting a wedding rehearsal, with Louise (Kathryn Card) playing;
George contemplating throwing his antique rock collection at Kenneth;
Dexter discussing being blackmailed for Corliss spending the night with him, not Kenneth;
Raymond exposing Kenneth’s bribing Mildred not to mention the fabricated romance;
Kenneth getting ejected;
Corliss and Dexter reconciling.