AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Little Colonel
Director: David Butler (Dir)
Release Date:   22 Feb 1935
Production Date:   late Nov 1934--9 Jan 1935
Duration (in mins):   80
Duration (in feet):   7,345
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Shirley Temple (Lloyd Sherman)  
    Lionel Barrymore (Colonel Lloyd)  
    Evelyn Venable (Elizabeth)  
    John Lodge (Jack Sherman)  
    Sidney Blackmer (Swazey)  
    Alden Chase (Hull)  
    William Burress (Dr. Scott)  
    Frank Darien (Nebler)  
    Robert Warwick (Colonel Gray)  
    Hattie McDaniel (Mom Beck)  
    Geneva Williams (Maria)  
    Avonne Jackson (May Lily)  
    Nyanza Potts (Henry Clay)  
    Bill Robinson (Walker)  
    David O'Brien (Frank Randolph)  
    Captain C. E. Anderson (Overseer)  
    Lillian West (Neighbor woman)  
    Lucille Ward (Aunt Sally)  
    Frank Hammond (Carriage driver)  
    Ford West (Village hanger-on)  
    Vester Pegg (Frontiersman)  
    Marty Faust (Frontiersman)  
    John Ince (Sheriff)  
    Arthur Stuart Hull (Passerby)  
    Frank O'Connor (Aide)  
    Roland Hamblen (Card manipulator)  
    Charles C. Wilson (Higgins)  
    Harry Strang (Sergeant)  

Summary: In Lloydsburg, Kentucky, in the 1870's, Colonel Lloyd tries to stop his daughter Elizabeth from eloping with Jack Sherman, who fought for the North. When he fails to dissuade her, he warns that should she leave, she will never be welcome in his house. The couple elopes, and after six years of life in Philadelphia, they come West to seek their fortune. At a frontier outpost, the couple's daughter, Lloyd, is declared an honorary colonel. Jack goes off to prospect for gold, while Elizabeth, with Lloyd, returns to the cottage her mother left her in Lloydsburg. Colonel Lloyd, upon learning that he has a new neighbor, brings flowers as a welcoming gift, but when he sees that the neighbor is his daughter, he throws the flowers down and leaves without a word. After she sees her mother crying, Lloyd learns about the past from the cook, Mom Beck, who points out that all the Lloyds are stubborn. As Lloyd makes mud pies with two black children on the colonel's property, he pokes her with his stick. She then gets angry and throws mud on his white suit. The colonel chases her, and she hides behind Mom Beck, who tells him that she is Lloyd Sherman. Colonel Lloyd then apologizes, and Lloyd calls him "grandfather." Meanwhile, Swazey, who encouraged Jack in his quest for gold, shoots some gold from a rifle into a rock and then convinces Jack to buy the land on which the rock sits. After seeing a baptism, Lloyd steals some sheets from the colonel's bed and baptizes her young black friend. The colonel comes upon them and takes her to his house to get her clothes dried. Lloyd dresses in a fancy Southern dress from a trunk in the attic, and as she sings a song which her mother taught her that her grandmother used to sing, the colonel imagines his deceased wife accompanying her on the harp. During a Civil War game that they play with toy soldiers, the colonel and Lloyd argue about which salute is the proper one, Union or Confederate. As the argument gets heated, the colonel knocks Lloyd's soldiers off the table, and Lloyd knocks the table over. He then warns her that unless she learns to control her temper she will face much unhappiness, and she agrees to try if he will. Jack returns broke and ill with a fever. The doctor convinces Elizabeth to overcome her pride and send Lloyd to live with the colonel until Jack gets well, but after a confrontation with her grandfather, Lloyd wants to go home. When a representative from the Union Pacific Railroad visits Jack and offers $5,000 for the right-of-way through his property, Jack excitedly sends Elizabeth to the bank to get the deed. Swazey and his partner Hull arrive while she is away and try to buy the deed for what Jack paid them. Jack refuses and they wait for Elizabeth's return. Lloyd comes back to the house and overhears Swazey threaten to kill her father. She then runs through the scary woods to find her grandfather at the overseer's house, but he refuses to help until she calls him a wicked, hateful old man and says that she never wants to see him again. He then rides back with her, and they arrive just as Swazey gets the deed from Elizabeth. The colonel shoots a gun out of Hull's hand and turns the pair over to the sheriff. He then hugs his daughter and shakes hands with Jack. At a celebration that follows, Lloyd gives the colonel the Confederate salute, and he returns the Union one. 

Production Company: Fox Film Corp.  
Production Text: A B. G. DeSylva Production
Distribution Company: Fox Film Corp.  
Director: David Butler (Dir)
  Ad Schaumer (Asst dir)
Writer: William Conselman (Scr and adpt)
  David Butler (Contr to scr constr)
Photography: Arthur Miller (Photog)
  William Skall (Color photog)
Art Direction: William Darling (Art dir)
Costumes: William Lambert (Cost)
Music: Arthur Lange (Mus dir)
  Cyril J. Mockridge (Mus adpt)
Sound: S. C. Chapman (Sd)
Color Personnel: Natalie Kalmus (Col dir)
Country: United States

Songs: "The Old Woman (Love's Young Dream)," Irish folksong; "God's Gwinter Trouble De Water," Negro spiritual; "Moaning," music by Louis de Francesco; "Sun Shines Brighter," words by William Kernell, music by Louis de Francesco; "Little Colonel Improvisation," words and music by Cyril J. Mockridge.
Composer: Louis de Francesco
  William Kernell
  Cyril J. Mockridge
Source Text: Based on the novel The Little Colonel by Annie Fellows Johnston (New York, 1895).
Authors: Annie Fellows Johnston

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Fox Film Corp. 22/2/1935 dd/mm/yyyy LP5464

PCA NO: 596
Physical Properties: b&w with col seq: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Noiseless Recording

 
Genre: Comedy-drama
  Comedy-drama
  Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: Civil War
  Youth
  with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Children
  Civil War veterans
  Kentucky
  Pride and vanity
  Southerners
 
Subjects (Minor): African Americans
  Baptism
  Cooks
  Deception
  Deeds
  Elopement
  Gold
  Land rights
  Railroads
  Sheriffs
  Soldiers
  Songs
  Threats
  United States--History--Reconstruction, 1865-1898
  Visions

Note: According to DV , Irving Cummings was set to direct this film, but he instead was assigned to direct retakes of East River , which was released as Under Pressure (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4845), and David Butler replaced him shortly before production began. According to FD , because of his work in this film, Bill Robinson was later assigned to In Old Kentucky (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.2119). The final sequence of this film, the celebration, was shot in Technicolor. According to NYT , the sequence, which appears to have been photographed outdoors, but actually was shot in an enclosed stage, presented a problem in that Shirley Temple's dress seemed to change color as she moved across the stage. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   23 Feb 1935.   
Daily Variety   20 Nov 34   p. 1.
Daily Variety   9 Jan 35   p. 3.
Daily Variety   6 Feb 35   p. 3.
Film Daily   11 Mar 35   p. 7.
Film Daily   22 Mar 35   p. 7.
HF   1 Dec 34   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Feb 35   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   7 Feb 35   p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald   26 Jan 35   p. 56.
Motion Picture Herald   16 Feb 35   p. 46.
New York Times   17 Feb 1935.   
New York Times   22 Mar 35   p. 26.
Variety   27 Mar 35   p. 15.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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