Film Review of A Kiss for Corliss: Shirley Temple Reprises a Comedic Role in Her Last Film

by DerdriuMarriner

Diaries and divorce impact characters played by David Niven and Shirley Temple in the 1949 film version of "A Kiss for Corliss."

A precocious, pretty teenager deplores her boyfriend sneak-dating a rival. A thrice-divorced man sends her romantic gifts and messages. What will she do when pranks seem to corral her into an unwanted marriage in “A Kiss for Corliss”?

In 1949 Shirley's last film in a storied career mirrored reality, for Shirley's personal life also was themed with divorce. On December 5, 1949, two and one-half weeks after the premiere of "A Kiss for Corliss," Shirley divorced her first husband, John Agar (Jan. 31, 1921 – April 7, 2002), on grounds of mental cruelty. The wealthy scion of a Chicago meat packing dynasty already had a problem with alcohol, which worsened in the fishbowl of the couple's high profile marriage, with Hollywood first favoring Shirley's career over his and then favoring neither of them.

1949 was a year of dramatic changes for 21-year-old Shirley Temple:

the end of her film career, after 17 years, and the end of her first marriage, after 4 years 3 months
Shirley Temple, c. 1949
Shirley Temple, c. 1949


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);
  • Money;
  • Pearls;
  • 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.


Growing up on the silver screen:

"Kiss for Corliss" was Shirley Temple's swan song, the final film in a career which began for her at age 3 and ended at age 21.
film poster for Shirley's last film
film poster for Shirley's last film

A Kiss For Corliss Trailer

Uploaded to YouTube on Dec 26, 2018, by maxustaxus: URL:



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


Image Credits


Shirley Temple, c. 1949: pds209, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @[email protected]/12576857345

film poster for Shirley's last film: Nesster, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @[email protected]/5793226056/

maxustaxus. "A Kiss for Corliss Trailer 1949." YouTube, Dec. 26, 2018, @


Sources Consulted


Richard Wallace. "A Kiss for Corliss." Uploaded by Unknown to Internet Archive, Dec. 24, 2013.

  • Available at:


the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

"A Kiss for Corliss" was also released under the title of "Almost a Bride"

Almost a Bride

Shirley Temple Black's autobiography

Child Star: An Autobiography

Shirley Temple in 1949: the year in which her film career and her marriage ended

Shirley Temple

Poster for 4th of 8 shorts released as ensemble title, "Baby Burlesks": Shirley's first onscreen appearance was in the 1932-1933 satirical series.

L to R: besotted Nightclub Owner (Eugene Butler); Nell with stage name La Belle Diaperina (Shirley Temple), and Nell's boyfriend, Elmer (Georgie Smith)
Glad Rags to Riches

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: 05/14/2022, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 09/28/2015

Web development company, Thank you! I'm happy to have access to Shirley Temple's autobiography although I also wish that she'd written more about all the goodwill she spread from her diplomatic postings in the Czech Republic and Ghana.

Web development company on 09/28/2015

I have gone through your article it's a very good experience that how nicely you have present all the things.
I'm very much inspiring legacy as a skilled child actress, a talented young adult, and a wise ambassador in Africa and Europe.

DerdriuMarriner on 09/18/2015

Mobile App Developers Delhi, Thank you for liking the review! Shirley Temple leaves a enriching, educationally entertaining, geo-historically enthralling legacy as a skilled child actress, a talented young adult, and a wise ambassador in Africa and Europe.

DerdriuMarriner on 09/18/2015

Mobile app development Company, Thank you for appreciating the review! Shirley Temple leaves memorably amusing and inspiring films not only as a child actress but also as an accomplished beauty in her teens and twenties!

Mobile app development Company on 09/16/2015

How beautifully you have explained this movie and after reading your review about this mobile now I'll watch this movie, because you have increased my interest.

Mobile app development Company on 09/16/2015

How beautifully you have explained this movie and after reading your review about this mobile now I'll watch this movie, because you have increased my interest.

Mobile App Developers Delhi on 11/10/2014

I don’t know how should I give you thanks! I am totally stunned by your article. You saved my time. Thanks a million for sharing this article.

DerdriuMarriner on 04/15/2014

Web Design Delhi, Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Web Design Delhi on 04/15/2014

This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure that I will bookmark it and open this page again to read this useful information provided by you.

DerdriuMarriner on 03/17/2014

VioletteRose, Thank you! It's also fun for me to write them. :-)

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