Little Miss Marker - 1934



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Little Miss Marker - Released June 1, 1934. Directed by Alexander Hall

Shirley Temple is left with a bookie (Adolphe Menjou) as 'marker' for a bet, and when the father never returns, Menjou has to make decisions about what to do as a sudden substitute father and protector. Dorothy Dell is a professional songstress (named "Bangles Carson") and a mob-moll who is drawn to the abandoned child and subsequently is around Menjou a lot, to the consternation of her dangerous mobster boyfriend (Charles Bickford ).

This film, based on the Damon Runyon story, has a tender sentimental streak and mixes together tough guys, tough girls, gambling, race-fixing and other underworld activities with the broad smiles of Shirley Temple. Instead of the usual smooth scoundrels that Menjou played in many films, here he is a world-weary, toughened bookie who has his crusty exterior penetrated by a helpless little girl, and though there's a great deal of humor in the script, it wouldn't mean a lot unless we had a threat of danger and the response of loyalty from this suddenly coalesced surrogate-family centered around Shirley.

Remade many times, and "borrowed" from by many other films. If Little Miss Marker reminds you of Capra's 1933 Lady for a Day, it's because both original stories were written by Runyon.


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