Film Review of Change of Heart: Shirley Temple in Bit Part in 1934 Drama

by DerdriuMarriner

In the 1934 film version of "Change of Heart," Shirley Temple in a bit part brightens cross-country air travel in drama about four chums who move to New York City.

Some people hear right off what their heart tells them.

Others stumble through loving friendship into friendly love. Will rejection and vulnerability discourage or encourage a “Change of Heart”? Ten years after "Change of Heart" Ginger Rogers and Shirley Temple acted together again in the 1944 drama, "I'll Be Seeing You."

James Dunn (November 2, 1901 – September 1, 1967) appeared in four of the ten Shirley Temple films released in 1934:
• "Stand Up and Cheer!," released on May 4, 1934;
• "Change of Heart," released on May 18, 1934;
• "Baby Take a Bow," released on June 30, 1934;
• "Bright Eyes," released on December 28, 1934.

"Change of Heart" is an adaptation of "Manhattan Love Song" by Kathleen Thompson Norris, American novelist and reporter who enjoyed reputation for four decades as most widely read and highest paid woman writer in the United States.

portrait photograph, from negative taken December 19, 1925, by Arnold Genthe (January 8, 1869 – August 9, 1942)
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Arnold Genthe Collection
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Arnold Genthe Collection


Friends become lovers and spouses in Change of Heart by writers James Gleason, Samuel Hoffenstein and Sonya Levien; producer Winfield R. Sheehan; and director John G. Blystone. Hal Mohr; Margaret Clancey and James B. Morley; and Louis DeFrancesco handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California’s Movietone City.

The 76-minute drama adapts Kathleen Norris’ (July 16, 1880 – January 18, 1966) 1934-published novel Manhattan  Love Song. Its distributor was Fox Film Corporation. Its NYC-premiere and USA-release dates were May 10 and 18, 1934.


The movie begins with California college graduation speaker (Harry C. Bradley) and Mack McGowan’s (James Dunn) and Madge Rountree’s (Ginger Rogers) mothers (Jane Darwell, Mary Carr) congratulating them, Catherine Furness (Janet Gaynor), and Chris Thring (Charles Farrell). Mack’s father, T.P. (Fiske O’Hara), funds the quartet’s 15-hour TWA flight to NYC. Passengers include Shirley (Shirley Temple), whose beautiful charm and hair gets her a paper airplane.

Careers do not divide the friends. Catherine, Chris, Mack, and Madge respectively pursue writing, big-firm lawyering, Rudy Vallee-style (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) radio crooning, and acting. Romance round-robins into:

  • Mack loving Catherine;

  • Catherine loving Chris;

  • Chris loving Madge;

  • Madge loving Chris and Mack.

Big Apple life begins auspiciously with fellow alumna Phyllis Carmichael’s (Barbara Barondess) welcoming party. Optimism cannot last in $30/month boardinghouse rooms. It dissipates with unemployment.

Dr. Nathan Kurtzman’s (Gustav von Seyffertitz) ad for parents to orphaned infants gets red-headed Catherine’s attention. “Fiery” is an orphan. She suggests becoming a nanny for the first couple whom Nathan approves for adoption.

Nathan directs Catherine to Harriet Hawkins’ (Beryl Mercer) thrift shop. Rich people recycle their clothing through Harriet. Harriet tries to convince her benefactors to adopt orphans.

Becoming employed does not help friendship or romance. Phyllis offers professional and social contacts for Madge. Madge relocates to Phyllis’ uptown quarters.

Madge distances herself from Chris. Catherine falls out of touch with Chris and Madge. She keeps in touch with Mack despite rejecting his proposal. She and Mack manage to get wealthy Louise Mockby (Drue Leyton) to adopt (Mickey Kuhn).

Wealthy businessman Howard Jackson (Kenneth Thomson) becomes interested in Catherine. Catherine discourages the attentions. Howard transfers his affections to Madge.

Madge accepts Howard’s proposal. She anticipates life as wife to one of California’s successful producers. She rejects Chris’ love and proposal.

Catherine goes to Chris’ rooms. Chris is feverish and heart-broken. He marries his nurse, Catherine, and works for Catherine’s friend Louise’s husband Gerald (Theodore von Eltz).

The movie ends with Madge:

  • Breaking her engagement to Howard;

  • Coming to NYC as a wealthy heiress;

  • Giving up when Chris abandons her for a weekend with Catherine, Gerald and Louise;

  • Re-establishing contact with Mack.


Ginger Rogers - Change of Heart - Excerpt 1

Published on YouTube on October 19, 2012 by GingerPeachyMe ~ URL:



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


Image Credits


Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Arnold Genthe Collection: No known restrictions on publication, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) @

GingerPeachyMe. "Ginger Rogers - Change of Heart - Excerpt 1." YouTube, Oct. 19, 2012, @

Will Rogers visiting Janet Gaynor and Shirley Temple on the set of Change of Heart (1934)
three of Fox Film Corporation's top box office stars in 1934: Conrad J. Barrington @cjubarrington, via Twitter Sep. 26, 2019, @


three of Fox Film Corporation's top box office stars in 1934
three of Fox Film Corporation's top box office stars in 1934
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Shirley Temple: A Pictorial History of the World's Greatest Child Star by Rita Dubas

Features film stills, many never-before-seen photographs, and personal snapshots of Shirley
Shirley Temple biographies

Shirley Temple Black's autobiography

Child Star: An Autobiography

Shirley Temple, ca. 1934

Shirley Temple, ca. 1934

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: 04/04/2024, DerdriuMarriner
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