Because Michael Medved decide to give That Hagen Girl a place in his book The Fifty Worst Films Of All Time when one decides to watch it one doesn't expect much. And one is definitely not disappointed.
In the Citadel Film Series book on The Films Of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president wasn't crazy about this film either. But he was kind of hammerlocked into doing it because he had turned down a few films already and Jack Warner was getting kind of testy about it. So Reagan did it.
Even so he protested to no avail the absolutely insane ending where Reagan of whom it was whispered that he was Shirley Temple's father in the end runs out of the town where she's lived with that gossip all of her young life. How that one got by the Code one can only speculate.
Two unrelated incidents that happen to take place on the same day get connected by gossip which starts when Moroni Olsen brings home his daughter Barbara Brown and then walls himself into his house and lives like a hermit. On the same day Charles Kemper meets his wife who had gone away to her sister's and brings home a baby girl. Someone starts a rumor connecting the two events and it is thought that Ronald Reagan who was seeing Brown must be the baby's father and that Olsen gave her to Kemper and his wife Dorothy Peterson. On the advice of Judge Harry Davenport who is Reagan's friend and guardian, Reagan leaves town.
But as the girl who grows up to be Shirley Temple is ready to graduate high school the rumors get a second wind as Reagan comes back to town, now a very successful lawyer and as it turns out, a war hero. He gets a little something something going with Lois Maxwell a new school teacher in town and Shirley kind of likes young Rory Calhoun who also goes to that school. Calhoun definitely looked way too old for high school and Shirley was kind of pushing it herself.
The film didn't do anything for the careers of Ronald Reagan, Shirley Temple or anyone else connected with it. Maybe it isn't one of the Fifty Worst films of all time, but it sure gets an honorable mention.
3 out of 5 found this helpful