Film Review of Just Around The Corner: Shirley Temple with Bojangles and Bert Lahr in Musical

by DerdriuMarriner

America's Great Depression impacts characters played by Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Shirley Temple in the 1938 film version of "Just Around the Corner."

Foreclosure trips a little girl socioeconomically.

But she warms most hearts.

Will ornery bankers and managers keep her and a doorman friend from reversing depressing effects of the Great Depression of the 1930s in “Just Around the Corner”?

"Just Around the Corner" closes the quartet of films spotlighting the dancing and singing rapport of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (May 25, 1878 – November 25, 1949) and Shirley Temple:

• "The Little Colonel" in 1935,

• "The Littlest Rebel" in 1935,

• "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" in 1938, and

• "Just Around the Corner" in 1938.

1938: Shirley Temple visited Chicago and enjoyed a 40-mile tour of the Windy City via the Elevated Lines;

also three of her films were released: "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm," "Little Miss Broadway," and "Just Around the Corner"
"Shirley Temple rides the 'L'": learning the controls on 4000-series L cars from motorman Charlie Blade
"Shirley Temple rides the 'L'": learning the controls on 4000-series L cars from motorman Charlie Blade

 

Happiness and solvency come to those who entertain and network in Just Around the Corner by writers Ethel Hill, J.P. McEvoy and Darrell Ware; producer Darryl F. Zanuck; and director Irving Cummings. Arthur C. Miller, Walter Thompson, and Harold Spina handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases Movietone City west of Beverly Hills, California.

The 70-minute musical adapts Paul Girard Smith’s (September 14, 1894 - April 4, 1968) novel Lucky Penny. Its distributor was 20th Century-Fox. Its USA-release date was November 11, 1938.

The movie begins with Penny Hale (Shirley Temple) disenrolling from the exclusive boarding school where she studies. She believes home still to be atop beautiful, expensive Riverview Hotel. Milton (Benny Bartlett) and Lola (Amanda Duff) now have the penthouse with widowed mother Julia Ramsby (Cora Witherspoon) and banker/Uncle Samuel G. Henshaw (Claude Gillingwater). Penny lives in the basement.

Samuel forecloses architect Jeff Hale’s (Charles Farrell) $10,000,000 East Gate Project. Jeff now is Riverview’s electrician. But Penny riles building manager Waters (Franklin Pangborn) by dancing and singing “This Is a Happy Little Ditty” with:

  • Chauffeur Gus (Bert Lahr);

  • Doorman Corporal Jones (Bill Robinson);

  • Pet groomer Kitty (Joan Davis).

Waters threatens homelessness and joblessness.

Jeff believes happiness and success still possible even though:

  • Milton disdains Penny;

  • Lola gets upset;

  • Samuel refuses to share East Gate.

But Penny comes to the rescue. She helps Milton survive Mugsy’s urchin-like gang (Leonard Kibrick, Sidney Kibrick). Milton invites Penny to Riverview’s playroom where their peers and Waters behave snobbishly.

Penny believes Samuel to be the “Uncle Sam” whom Jeff says will end the Depression with jump-started business. She impresses Samuel by:

  • Distancing him from reporters;

  • Exchanging Milton’s pristine clothes for rough, tough streetwear;

  • Trimming Milton’s Little Lord Fauntleroy-styled (published 1885 and 1886 by Frances Hodgson Burnett [November 24, 1849 - October 29, 1924]) curls.

But Julia and Samuel interfere with Milton’s and Penny’s getting Jeff and Lola reconciled. Samuel offers Jeff employment in Borneo, without Lola’s and Penny’s company.

Penny arranges to hold a fundraiser 2 days before Jeff’s departure. She expects the money to go to Samuel’s business revivals. Reporters hear about Penny’s benefit show. They make Samuel’s financial distress – which really is true – front-page news.

Samuel’s assistants (J. Anthony Hughes, Orville Caldwell) bring Penny to Samuel’s office. Jeff comes along too. Samuel lets Penny return to fundraising after hearing about “Uncle Sam”. Waters manages to escape from confinement in the laundry shoot and inform police (Ethan Laidlaw) who arrest him.

The movie ends with Jones’ and Penny’s “I Love to Walk in the Rain” routine convincing Samuel to let Jeff:

  • Date Lola;

  • Direct the re-opened East Gate Project.

 

Shirley Temple with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in July 1938:

about 4 months before release of "Just Around the Corner," the last of 4 films in which Shirley and Bojangles sang and tap danced their way into the hearts of filmgoers
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, 1882 - 1962
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, 1882 - 1962

singing and tap dancing duet of Shirley Temple and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson to "I Love to Walk in the Rain"

Shirley Temple - I Love To Walk In The Rain ~ Uploaded to YouTube on April 21, 2009 by sarahluvsshirley ~ URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya02B1zHdbA

contagious, uplifting charm of singing and dancing "This Is a Happy Little Ditty": Joan Davis, Bert Lahr (Wizard of Oz's Cowardly Lion), Bojangles Robinson, and Shirley Temple

Uploaded on YouTube on April 21, 2009 by sarahluvsshirley ~ Shirley Temple - This Is a Happy Little DittyURL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzr2TplpgEQ

Just Around The Corner: uploaded to Dailymotion 4/19/2012 by Craze Digital Movies

 

Click on link to watch full-length movie:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xq8etz_just-around-the-corner_shortfilms

 

 

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

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

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Just Around The Corner

Shirley Temple celebrates her 10th birthday on the set of "Just Around the Corner."

JUST AROUND THE CORNER, Shirley Temple celebrates her birthday, on set, 1938.

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: 08/20/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
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