AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Daughters Courageous
Alternate Title: A Family Affair
Director: Michael Curtiz (Dir)
Release Date:   22 Jul 1939
Production Date:   10 Feb--late Mar 1939
Duration (in mins):   100 or 107
Duration (in reels):   12
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Cast:   John Garfield (Gabriel Lopez)  
    Claude Rains (Jim Masters)  
    Jeffrey Lynn (Johnny Heming)  
    Fay Bainter (Nan Masters)  
    Donald Crisp (Sam Sloane)  
    May Robson (Penny)  
    Frank McHugh (George)  
    Dick Foran (Eddie Moore)  
    George Humbert (Manuel Lopez)  
    Berton Churchill (Judge Hornsby)  
    Priscilla Lane (Buff Masters)  
    Rosemary Lane (Tinka Masters)  
    Lola Lane (Linda Masters)  
    Gale Page (Cora Masters)  
    Wilfred Lucas (Conductor)  
    Jack Mower (Conductor)  
    Nat Carr (Court clerk)  
    George Chesebro (Proprietor)  
    Tom Dugan (Joe, waiter)  
    Jack Gardner (Tim)  
    Ray Cooke (Bill)  
    Leyland Hodgson (Actor)  
    John Harron (Stage manager)  
    George Ovey (Ticket agent)  
    Hobart Cavanaugh (Tourist)  
    Alice Connor    
    Maris Wrixon    
    Creighton Hale    
    William Hopper    

Summary: After wandering the globe for twenty years, Jim Masters returns home to Carmel, California, where his wife Nan and daughters Buff, Tinka, Linda and Cora still live. Just before Jim's unexpected return, Nan had won the approval of her daughters to marry Sam Sloane, a prosperous pillar of the community. At first the girls resent the intrusion of this stranger who calls himself their father, and make a pact to ignore him so that he will leave. However, Jim gradually wins them over with his worldly understanding of life. Buff is fascinated by Gabriel Lopez, the son of a Portuguese fisherman, but her mother, who knows Gabriel's troubled history well because she is often called upon to intervene between him and Judge Hornsby, disapproves of the match. Despite her mother's warnings, Buff begins dating Gabriel. When Jim lies to Nan about Buff's whereabouts after a missed curfew, Buff thanks him for helping her out. Jim gains even more respect when he secretly brings Nan flowers and a cake for her birthday, which everyone else had forgotten, and allows Sam to take the credit. Regardless, Sam tells Jim that he is concerned that his presence is disrupting the family and persuades him to leave. Before he goes, Nan begs Jim to take back his advice to Buff that she elope with Gabriel, sensing that Gabriel will do to Buff what Jim had done to her. In Gabriel, Jim sees his own nonconformist attitudes and wanderlust, and through Jim's persuasion, Gabriel comes to realize that he is not cut out for a conventional family life. In the end, Gabriel and Jim, two kindred spirits, go off to travel the world together, leaving Nan behind to marry homebody Sam, and preventing Buff from repeating her mother's mistake. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: A First National Picture; Jack L. Warner in charge of production
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Michael Curtiz (Dir)
  Irving Rapper (Dial dir)
  Sherry Shourds (Asst dir)
Producer: Hal B. Wallis (Exec prod)
  Henry Blanke (Assoc prod)
Writer: Julius Epstein (Scr)
  Philip G. Epstein (Scr)
Photography: James Wong Howe (Photog)
  Ernest Haller (Photog)
Art Direction: John Hughes (Art dir)
Film Editor: Ralph Dawson (Film ed)
Costumes: Howard Shoup (Gowns)
Music: Leo F. Forbstein (Mus dir)
  Max Steiner (Mus)
  Ray Heindorf (Orchestral arr)
Sound: C. A. Riggs (Sd)
  Oliver S. Garretson (Sd)
Make Up: Perc Westmore (Makeup)
Production Misc: Frank Mattison (Unit mgr)
Country: United States

Source Text: Suggested by the play Fly Away Home by Dorothy Bennett and Irving White (New York, 15 Jan 1935).
Authors: Dorothy Bennett
  Irving White

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 22/7/1939 dd/mm/yyyy LP8979

PCA NO: 5223
Physical Properties: Sd:
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Domestic
 
Subjects (Major): Desertion (Marital)
  Family life
  Fathers and daughters
  Mothers and daughters
  Nonconformists
 
Subjects (Minor): Billiards and billiard parlors
  Birthdays
  Drowning
  Elopement
  Engagements
  Fishing boats
  Fishing villages
  Judges
  Juvenile delinquents
  Missing persons, Assumed dead
  Portuguese Americans
  Weddings

Note: Working titles for this film were American Family , A Family Affair , Family Affair , Fly Away Home and Family Reunion . Contemporary sources note that cameraman Ernest Haller took over filming when James Wong Howe fell ill with the flu. A Feb 1939 HR news item noted that Irving Rapper was set as dialogue director, but his participation in the film has not been confirmed. Although not a sequel, this film was a follow-up to the 1938 Warner Bros. film Four Daughters (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.1452), which had the same cast. According to a HR pre-release news item, Jack Warner personally wrote to 14,000 exhibitors to draw their attention to the film, much in the same way he did with Four Daughters . In addition, Warner Bros. plugged the film with a contest called the "Typical Daughters Contest," the winners of which were awarded with a Hollywood screen test. HR also notes that Warner Bros. held up the release of the picture to coincide with National Daughters Day (23 July). Daughters Courageous was remade in 1942 by Warner Bros. as Always in My Heart , directed by Jo Graham and starring Kay Francis and Walter Huston; and again in 1954 as Young at Heart , directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Kay Francis and Frank Sinatra. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   15 Jun 39   p. 3.
Film Daily   16 Jun 39   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Feb 39   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Feb 39   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Feb 39   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Mar 39   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   13 May 39   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jun 39   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Jun 39   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Aug 39   p. 13.
Motion Picture Daily   15 Jun 39   p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald   8 Apr 39   p. 50.
Motion Picture Herald   24 Jun 39   p. 39.
New York Times   24 Jun 39   p. 14.
Photoplay   1 Aug 39   p. 45.
Variety   21 Jun 39   p. 16.

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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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