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When 20th Century-Fox let Shirley Temple go in the early '40s, MGM snapped her up, trumpeting that she would make a huge comeback at the age of 12. The studio announced numerous projects for her, including Babes on Broadway (1941), Panama Hattie (1942) and National Velvet (1944), but the only film she made for them was this charming domestic comedy with music. Going back to the vehicles that had made her a star, the studio cast her in her patented "Little Miss Fix It" role as a motherless child trying to help her neglectful father (Herbert Marshall) find the perfect wife. The film did not go over well, with critics complaining that Temple was getting too old to be cute as a meddling tot. Moreover, the direction and writing were strictly B-movie level, with Harold S. Bucquet a veteran of the studio's Dr. Kildare films while screenwriter Mary C. McCall, Jr. had largely worked on the Maisie series. Without the pressure of reestablishing one of the '30s' top box office stars, however, the film has charms of its own as Temple clowns, tugs at the heart strings and even gets a lavish musical dream sequence.
By Frank Miller