Film Review of Our Little Girl: Shirley Temple in 1935 Drama With Joel McCrea

by DerdriuMarriner

In the 1935 film version of "Our Little Girl," characters played by Joel Mccrea and Shirley Temple fight divorce.

A little girl discovers that family life is not always idyllic.

But she likes the family maid’s advice.

Will a bored wife, an eligible bachelor, a lovelorn nurse, and a workaholic husband feel likewise in “Our Little Girl”?

In 1935, Shirley Temple made four films:
• "The Little Colonel,"
• "Our Little Girl,"
• "Curly Top,"
• "The Littlest Rebel."

Our Little Girl was the last film directed by John Stuart Robertson (June 14, 1878-Nov. 5, 1964).
Our Little Girl was the last film directed by John Stuart Robertson (June 14, 1878-Nov. 5, 1964).


What gets broken gets fixed in Our Little Girl by writers Arthur J. Beckhard and Stephen Morehouse Avery, producer Edward Butcher, and director John S. Robertson. John F. Seitz; and RH Bassett and Peter Brunelli handle cinematography and music. Filming showcases California’s Lake Sherwood.

The 65-minute drama adapts Florence Leighton Pflazgraf’s (1902-1997) and Allen Rivkin’s (1903-1990) screenplay. Its distributor was Fox Film Corporation. Its NYC-premiere and USA-release dates were May 17 and June 6-7, 1935.


The movie begins with Donald Middleton (Joel McCrea) blaming wife and daughter for missed opportunities in Heidelberg and Vienna. Nurse Sarah Boynton (Erin O’Brien-Moore) helps Don experiment with diphtheria germs and poisonous gases. Elsa (Rosemary Ames) pardons everything except missing May and September Saturday picnics in Heaven’s Gate’s woodlands. The outings remind the couple of their first meetings.

Don asks to reschedule May’s picnic to the following Saturday. He ends up going. Molly (Shirley Temple) enjoys swimming in the stream. While Molly sleeps, Elsa mentions:

  • Feeling bored and lonely;

  • Resuming nursing.

Rolfe Brent (Lyle Talbot) comes back from Europe. He needs riding companions. Don pleads workaholism. He volunteers Elsa for 10 the next morning.

Don’s experiments go well. He presents results to NYC hospitals. He rejects Elsa’s company.

Don and Elsa dine with Brent. Sarah informs Don of Mrs. Stevens’ emergency. Don leaves. Brent reveals his attraction to Elsa. Elsa shares fond, not romantic, feelings. Don throws tantrums when Elsa thanks Brent for their perfect evening.

Molly asks maid Amy (Margaret Armstrong) for advice. Amy blames Brent for Elsa’s misbehavior and Sarah for Don’s. She indicates that Brent and Sarah need to stop pushing a married couple toward divorce. Molly likes the way that sounds. She tells Brent that her family wants him long gone.

Brent announces his departure. Molly owns up to encouraging Brent’s absence. Elsa plans to divorce Don and marry Brent.

The Guggenheim Foundation awards Don a fellowship. Don feels depressed. Sarah tells him how much she loves him.

On September Saturday, Don and Elsa enjoy watching circus magicians (Gus Van), performers (Poodle Hanneford), and vaudevillians (Jack Donohue). Sarah interrupts with urgent hospital messages. Don leaves Molly with Sarah. Molly sneaks home.

Brent blames Molly for thwarting Elsa’s happiness. Molly gets dog Mr. Smith and runs away. Brent leaves to tell Sarah that Don and Elsa love each other and must reconcile.

Molly and Smithy meet Mr. Tramp (J. Farrell MacDonald). A motorist recognizes Molly. He tells police.

The movie ends with:

  • Hobo crying over a missing daughter and directing Don to Heaven’s Gate;

  • Don finding Molly swimming;

  • Elsa joining.


Shirley Temple bed time: Bestime scene of Molly (Shirley Temple) playing "Pease Porridge Hot" with her puppy and singing lullaby to her doll in "Our Little Girl."

Published on YouTube on November 12, 2007 by tamara s ~ URL:

Shirley Temple Our Little Girl Trailer ~ full-length movie

Uploaded Jan. 16, 2018, by dd235686 to YouTube ~ URL:



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


Image Credits


Staged studio photo of Shirley Temple giving director John S. Robertson direction on the set of OUR LITTLE GIRL 1935.
Our Little Girl was the last film directed by Canadian actor and film director John Stuart Robertson (June 14, 1878-Nov. 5, 1964): Joan Darc @joandarcdoll, via Twitter July 11, 2014, @

tamara s. "Shirley Temple bed time." YouTube, Nov. 12, 2007, @

dd235686. "Shirley Temple Our Little Girl Trailer." YouTube, Jan. 16, 2018, @

Unincorporated Ventura County community of Lake Sherwood overlooks Lake Sherwood Reservoir.: CameronK23, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @


Idyllic community of Lake Sherwood in southern California's Santa Monica Mountains was the film locale for "Our Little Girl."

Unincorporated Ventura County community of Lake Sherwood overlooks Lake Sherwood Reservoir.
Unincorporated Ventura County community of Lake Sherwood overlooks Lake Sherwood Reservoir.
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Our Little Girl ~ Watch or Buy; Create a Watch Party to watch and chat with others

Our Little Girl

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

"Our Little Girl": Shirley Temple, 1935, Washing Doll Clothes

Our Little Girl, Shirley Temple, 1935, Washing Doll Clothes

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: 03/02/2023, DerdriuMarriner
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