Why wouldn't the moviegoing public accept Shirley Temple as a grown-up after being a child star? As a 19-year-old in this film she is as beautiful as she was cute as a child; and if she hadn't yet proved herself to be a great actress, her more mature screen persona beats her insufferably cute act as a child any day as far as this viewer is concerned.
Actually this movie's bad reputation is not hard to understand. Amazingly, Ms. Temple plays a high school student widely believed by the residents of her small town to be (gasp) illegitimate! to use an unfortunate term. Although she's as clean-cut and moral a young woman as you'll ever see, the small-minded townspeople think the worst of her in any slightly suspicious situation. Even though the movie is rather light-heated in tone, and never uses words like "illegitimate" or "pregnant," it's obvious the American public could not accept Temple in such a role.
The few dark moments that intrude into this overall lightweight movie don't mesh very well, and the film is really a rather prosaic soap opera, but it does hold some interest for latter-day viewers because of its stars. Ronald Reagan plays the man assumed to be Temple's father. It's become a cliche of Reagan's political opponents to say he's a bad actor, but the truth is he doesn't show much range in this film and it doesn't appear to be the kind of role he's suited for. Still, I find the older Shirley Temple interesting to watch and for this reason I'd recommend it to any of her fans, or movie fans in general.
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