Grand Old Girl
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Grand Old Girl
Grand Old Girl
Directed byJohn Robertson
Produced byCliff Reid
Screenplay byMilton Krims
John Twist
Arthur T. Horman
Story byWanda Tuchock
StarringMay Robson
Mary Carlisle
Fred MacMurray
Alan Hale
Music byAlbert Colombo
CinematographyLucien Andriot
Edited byGeorge Crone
Release date
  • January 18, 1935 (1935-01-18) (US)[1]
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States

Grand Old Girl is a 1935 American drama film directed by John Robertson from a screenplay by Milton Krims, John Twist, Arthur T. Horman, adapted from a story by Wanda Tuchock. The film stars May Robson, Mary Carlisle, Fred MacMurray, and Alan Hale, other cast members included Ben Alexander.


Laura Bayles has been a devoted educator for 38 years. Over that time she has risen to become the principal of Avondale High School. When a local petty gambler, "Click" Dade, begins to prey on her students, she takes a leading position in an attempt to force the gambling location to close down. Dade had been one of her former pupils. Her efforts are opposed by two local politicians, Holland and Joseph Killaine. Holland is a small time political boss, while Killaine is the superintendent of schools. So Bayles decides to fight fire with fire. With a stake of $250, and a pair of Dade's own loaded dice, she wins enough money to open a club to compete with Dade's, taking away his business. However, after an incident in which Killaine's daughter, Gerry, causes a fight at Bayles' club, causing the club's closure. Killaine then presses his advantage, demanding that Bayles also resign as principal, which will make her ineligible for a pension, being two years short of retirement.

Upon hearing of her fate, Gerry goes to Bayles to apologize for her actions, and their end result. An apology which Bayles accepts. Meanwhile, Dade has contacted another one of Bayles' former pupils, Gavin Gordon, who has risen to become President of the United States. Gordon is on a tour of the country and is in the area of his old hometown. After Dade also apologizes to Bayles, the President arrives at the school and delivers a sentimental speech extolling the virtues of the education profession, motherhood, and Mrs. Bayles. Her job is saved.



RKO announced in September 1934 that the start of production was imminent for Portrait of Laura Bayles, which was one of the working titles for this film.[2] It was reported in early October that the film was in production for RKO,[3] and by the end of the month it had finished production and was in the process of being edited.[4] In the middle of November, it was revealed that the title of the picture had been changed to Grand Old Girl.[5]

By the end of 1934, the release date of the film was announced to be January 18.[6] Early in February 1935 the general release date for the film was revealed as February 22, and would open at the Astor Theatre.[7]

In March, the film was part of a four-picture deal sold to the Gaumont British circuit for distribution in the United Kingdom. The other three pictures included in the deal were the Katharine Hepburn vehicle, The Little Minister, Red Morning, featuring Steffi Duna, and Romance in Manhattan, starring Francis Lederer and Ginger Rogers.[8]


The Film Daily felt the film was worth watching, calling it a "Neat little human interest story", they rated the cinematography A-1, and said the direction was first rate. May Robson, they said, had found her "ideal role".[9]Motion Picture Daily also enjoyed the film, extolling the expert direction of John Robertson, felt Robson's performance was outstanding. They felt Andriot's photography was good, and enjoyed the performances of Hale, Girardot, and Gordon. Overall, they felt the film was "entertainment for the entire family."[10]


The picture was dedicated to the "school teachers of America",[11] and RKO developed a separate advertising strategy targeting this fact, completely separate from their usual marketing program.[12]


  1. ^ "Grand Old Girl: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "Record Activity at RKO Studios". The Film Daily. September 22, 1934. pp. 1, 3. Retrieved access
  3. ^ "Productions in Work". Motion Picture Herald. October 6, 1934. p. 55. Retrieved access
  4. ^ McCarthy, Gus (October 27, 1934). "The Cutting Room". Motion Picture Herald. p. 39. Retrieved access
  5. ^ "News of Day". The Film Daily. November 14, 1934. p. 7. Retrieved access
  6. ^ "The Release Chart". Motion Picture Herald. December 29, 1934. p. 90. Retrieved access
  7. ^ "RKO Picture for Astor". The Film Daily. February 9, 1936. p. 2. Retrieved access
  8. ^ "RKO Closes GB Circuit Deal". The Film Daily. March 15, 1936. p. 12. Retrieved access
  9. ^ "Reviews of the New Features". The Film Daily. January 9, 1935. p. 11. Retrieved access
  10. ^ "Motion Picture Daily's Hollywood Preview". Motion Picture Daily. December 3, 1934. p. 7. Retrieved access
  11. ^ Daly, Phil M. (November 20, 1934). "Along the Rialto". The Film Daily. p. 3. Retrieved access
  12. ^ Daly, Phil M. (January 12, 1935). "Along the Rialto". The Film Daily. p. 4. Retrieved access

External links

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