Film Review of Red Haired Alibi: First Feature Film Role for Shirley Temple in 1932

by DerdriuMarriner

Merna Kennedy and Shirley Temple learn how to survive prohibition and shootouts in the 1932 film version of "Red Haired Alibi."

A natural redhead attracts attention wherever she goes.
• Striking hair and looks get her jobs in Columbus and NYC.

Will she find second chances with a divorced father after working as a gangster’s red headed patsy in “Red Haired Alibi”?

Shirley Temple appears in her first feature film role in "Red Haired Alibi."

Shirley Temple signs her first film contract, 1932

A career in feature film begins.
A career in feature film begins.


A red-headed patsy gives a Red Haired Alibi by writer Edward T. Lowe, producer Sig Neufeld, and director Christy Cabanne. Harry Forbes, Irving Birnbaum, and Corson Jowett handle cinematography, editing, and sound. Filming showcases California.

The 75-minute drama adapts Wilson Collison’s (November 5, 1893 - May 25, 1941) 1932-published novel. Its distributor was Tower Productions. Its USA-premiere and release dates were October 15 and 21, 1932.

The movie begins with 23-year-old Lynn Monith (Merna Kennedy) selling Hotel Savoy #722 guest Trent “Jack” Travers (Theodore von Eltz) Lorigan. Trent gifts Lynn the perfume. He takes Lynn to Columbus, Ohio’s Gartenhaus Kopf Krause for club sandwiches, with

  • His coffee;
  • Lynn’s milk.

20-story offices replacing the Savoy leaves Lynn unemployed. From Victoria Hotel #501, Lynn messages Cortland #5-7219, Mansfield Apartments. Miss Hoffman’s Agency, 10 E. 43rd Street, offers nothing. Lynn plops down on Robert Shelton’s (Grant Withers) hat. Bob’s wife runs off to party. Bob thanks Lynn’s attending “Vanities” with:

  • Card;

  • Red roses.

Trent leaves Chicago the following month. Al picks up Lynn at 7:30 p.m. Trent presents big-city:

  • Jobs;

  • Morgues;

  • Streetwalking.

He proposes:

  • Clothing allowance, with $600 advanced;

  • $100/week;

  • 87th Street, Schuyler #8-3527.

He takes Lynn to:

  • Dinner, 10 the next night: Lynn is mute around Bee Lee (Marion Lessing) and Morgan (John Vosburgh). Silver Moon headwaiter Harry (Harrison Greene) offers Lynn private dining. Trent uses the window to plant “pineapples” (grenades) at Morgan’s and sneak back for Lynn’s “10:30 p.m.-onward” alibi.

  • Masquerades: Trent gets hit on the left forehead. Bee and Morgan grab Trent’s “only the best” cigarettes. Trent overpowers Morgan’s thugs. He sends Morgan’s motorboat seaward.

  • Theater: Trent shoots Morgan 20+ minutes later at Willard Antiques. He has Lynn alibi him in Cleveland since Sunday.

Detective Corcoran (Fred Kelsey) and Inspector Regan (Purnell Pratt) find Lynn with Trent’s telegram dated 9/6/1932. They posit quick departures or demises. Mrs. A.S. Johnson’s White Plains employment agency will not hire without references.

Bob contracts Lynn as almost-four-year-old daughter Gloria’s (Shirley Temple) nurse. Lynn escorts husband Bob to Grand Central Station. Stalker Trent orders Lynn to bring $10,000 to Peacock Inn’s north side dining room veranda at 8:30 p.m.

Lynn brings nothing. Trent calls White Plains’ Captain of Detectives. Trent perishes when Lynn shoots. Captain Kent (Huntley Gordon) problem-solves switches and throttles when Lynn’s car stalls on Lane Road.

The movie ends with:

  • Kent contacting Regan since “John Smith” is Trent;

  • Manager Margoli’s (Paul Porcasi) and waiter Henri’s (Arthur Hoyt) eavesdropping implicating Lynn;

  • The medical examiner identifying the fatal bullet as .45 caliber, not Lynn’s/Trent’s .32.


“Red Haired Alibi”: full movie; Shirley first appears at 0:40:28, a little under 2/3 of the way through the film

RED HAIRED ALIBI (1932) Merna Kennedy - Grant Withers - Shirley Temple ~ Published on YouTube on November 21, 2013, by Public Domain ~ URL:



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.



A scene, critical for the unfolding of "Red Haired Alibi," occurs in this historic station in New York City.

Grand Central Station main concourse
Grand Central Station main concourse
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Shirley Temple in 1932, the year of "Red Haired Alibi," her first feature film role

Shirley Temple, Early 1930s

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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DerdriuMarriner on 09/03/2014

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Web Developers Delhi on 09/03/2014

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DerdriuMarriner on 04/15/2014

Web Design Delhi, Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Web Design Delhi on 04/15/2014

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