Dimples (film)

Dimples (film)

Theatrical poster
Directed by William A. Seiter
Produced by Nunnally Johnson
Darryl F. Zanuck
Written by Nat Perrin
Arthur Sheekman
Starring Shirley Temple
Frank Morgan
Helen Westley
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Cinematography Bert Glennon
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) October 16, 1936 (1936-10-16)
Running time 79 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Dimples is a 1936 American musical film directed by William A. Seiter. The screenplay was written by Nat Perrin and Arthur Sheekman. The film is about a young mid-nineteenth century street entertainer (Temple) who is separated from her pickpocket grandfather (Morgan) when given a home by a wealthy New York City widow (Westley). The film was panned by the critics. Videocassette and DVD versions of the film were available in 2009.



Dimples is a Bowery busker living with her pickpocket grandfather "Professor" Eustace Appleby. She is hired to entertain at a soiree in the Washington Square Park home of wealthy widow Caroline Drew. Mrs. Drew is so charmed by Dimples she opens her home and heart to the child, providing her a life of comfort and plenty.

Mrs. Drew's nephew Allen, a theatrical producer, abandons his sweetheart Betty Loring for haughty actress Cleo Marsh. His family is scandalized, but Allen pursues his goal of staging a brand-new play, Uncle Tom's Cabin, with Dimples portraying Little Eva.

During rehearsals, Dimples longs for her grandfather and returns to his humble dwelling, refusing to budge without the old man in tow. Mrs. Drew traces Dimples to the Bowery and a solution is found to the impasse. Allen realizes he loves Betty and is reunited with her. The film ends with Dimples appearing in New York City's first minstrel show.


  • Shirley Temple as Sylvia 'Dimples' Dolores Appleby, a street entertainer in New York City circa 1850 and Professor Appleby's granddaughter
  • Frank Morgan as Professor Eustace Appleby, a pickpocket and Dimples's grandfather
  • Helen Westley as Mrs. Caroline Drew, Allen’s aunt and Dimples’s patroness
  • Robert Kent as Allen Drew, a theatrical producer and Caroline Drew's nephew
  • Astrid Allwyn as Cleo Marsh, a haughty actress and Allen's sudden romantic interest
  • Delma Byron as Betty Loring, Allen’s betrothed and the daughter of Colonel Loring
  • Berton Churchill as Colonel Jasper Loring, Betty’s father
  • Julius Tannen as Emery T. Hawkins, a swindler
  • John Carradine as Richards, a swindler
  • Stepin Fetchit as Cicero, a servant
  • Billy McClain as Rufus
  • Jack Clifford as Uncle Tom, a character in Allen’s new play
  • Betty Jean Hainey as Topsy, a character in Allen’s new play
  • Paul Stanton as Mr. St. Clair, a character in Allen’s new play
  • The Hall Johnson Choir as Choir


The film's songs – "Hey, What Did the Blue Jay Say", "He Was a Dandy", "Picture Me Without You", "Get On Board", "Dixie-anna", and "Wings of the Morning" – were written by Jimmy McHugh and lyricist Ted Koehler. The dances were choreographed by Bill Robinson who appeared with Temple in four films and partnered her for the famous staircase dance in The Little Colonel.

Sony Computer Entertainment later used the song Get On Board for a PlayStation 2 advertisement entitled "Mountain".[1]


Critical reception

Frank Nugent wrote in The New York Times that the film was "not the best Temple, nor the worst” and thought her performance as Little Eva in Allen's play "sheer bathos".[2]

Louella Parsons wrote, “The Golden Temple baby is growing up—both taller and broader—but her million-dollar personality remains the same fortunately and she needs it for Dimples (Edwards 101).

Temple scholar Robert Windeler notes that Temple was upstaged for the first time in one of her pictures. Frank Morgan played Temple’s “Micawberesque grandfather with such energy and fun as to render Shirley […] faltering and hollow (Windeler 175).

Home media

In 2009, videocassette and DVD editions were available in the original black and white and in computer-colorized versions of the original. Some editions included theatrical trailers and other special features.

See also


Works cited
  • Edwards, Anne (1988), Shirley Temple: American Princess, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc. 
  • Windeler, Robert (1992) [1978], The Films of Shirley Temple, New York: Carol Publishing Group, ISBN 0-8065-0725-X 
Web citations

External links

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