Daydreams can get a teenager through loneliness and even may come true in Kathleen by writer Mary C. McCall Jr.; producer George Haight; and director Harold S Bucquet. Sidney Wagner, Conrad A. Nervig, and Franz Waxman handle cinematography, editing and music. Filming showcases California’s Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios.
The 84-minute drama romance adapts Catherine Van Riper’s (1907-1948) story. Its distributor was Loew’s Inc. Its NYC-premiere and USA-release dates were December 18, 1941 and January 22, 1942.
The movie begins with 12-year-old Kathleen (Shirley Temple) fabricating a happy family life and a lonely girl on the hill for antique shop owner M. Schoner (Felix Bressart). She imagines her wealthy, widowed, workaholic father John Staunton Davis (Herbert Marshall) begging her forgiveness upon reading her poem “My Heart Cries Out”. John instead makes a rare evening dinner appearance with new girlfriend Lorraine Bennett (Gail Patrick). Lorraine suggests contacting child specialist Dr. Montague Foster (Lloyd Corrigan) about Kathleen’s:
Montague concludes that Kathleen is lonely. He favors:
He is concerned that Kathleen:
Kathleen appreciates Angela’s intelligent sensitivity. She confides to Schoner that the girl on the hill is feeling much happier. She convinces John to dine at home. She matches Angela and John.
John chats with Angela about imminent marriage. It disappoints Angela that John contemplates marriage with Lorraine, not herself. But per Montague’s advice, Angela encourages Kathleen to try to like Lorraine. Kathleen fantasizes about:
Being a musical comedy star singing “Around the Corner” (and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” elsewhere);
Bribing Lorraine to leave John;
Getting police (Wade Boteler) to arrest Lorraine for accepting $100,000;
John marrying Angela.
Moving men (Monte Collins, James Flavin) are at the antique shop. Schoner is relocating to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kathleen reveals that she is the girl on the hill. Schoner suggests meeting Angela. Angela turns Kathleen and Schoner down.
John asks Angela to keep Kathleen company during his and Lorraine’s wedding and honeymoon. Angela chides John for marrying Lorraine and neglecting Kathleen. She gives notice. Kathleen leaves a note about feeling unwanted.
The movie ends with:
Lorraine accusing Angela of influencing Kathleen;
John breaking up with Lorraine;
Schoner calling John about Kathleen sneaking into the moving van;
Angela and John retrieving Kathleen and returning as a family to NYC.