Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Funeral, The
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Captain January It's the lighthouse life for Shirley
Year: 1936
Director: David Butler
Stars: Shirley Temple, Guy Kibbee, Slim Summerville, Buddy Ebsen, Sara Haden, June Lang, Jane Darwell
Genre: Musical, Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Six year old Star (Shirley Temple) lives in a lighthouse at Cape Tempest with her beloved guardian, Captain January (Guy Kibbee). Having fished Star out of the water when she was just a baby, after her parents drowned at sea, January raised her as his own but never legally adopted her. Now, Mrs. Morgan (Sara Haden), a stern truant officer wants to get Star away from all those uncouth sailors and into an orphanage. Things take a turn for the even worse when a telegram informs January his lighthouse will soon be fully automated and no longer need a keeper, robbing him of his livelihood and only chance to keep Star…

Loosely based on a story by Laura E. Richards called “The Lighthouse at Cape Tempest”, Captain January first graced the screen in 1924 as a vehicle for another child star Baby Peggy, who faded into the history books while Shirley Temple’s stardom endures. This was another big hit for Temple, though very much a cookie cutter vehicle with its sole variation being a nautical theme. The plot mostly involves finding excuses for wee Shirley to look cute, or say and do cute things, a repetitive strain that earned her the enmity of novelist/film critic Graham Greene, though only the most curmudgeonly would deny she sings and dances with aplomb.

Shirley kicks things off with a vivacious tap number but by far the most memorable sequence is “At the Codfish Ball”, a soft-shoe song-and-dance routine that pairs her with an astonishingly fresh-faced, young Buddy Ebsen, playing a friendly sailor. For the most part, the film contrasts Shirley’s apple-cheeked innocence with the crusty character actors who fawn over her in a manner it would be uncharitable to describe as near-paedophilic but does give some indication why Greene described the film as “sentimental, a little depraved with an appeal interestingly decadent.” Captain January and his friendly rival Captain Nazro (Slim Summerville) enter into a kind of Abbot & Costello game of one-upmanship that plays out in a series of amusing, if inconsequential scenes. These include a bizarre opera parody wherein the sight of Shirley in a pretty dress prompts all three to burst into song, and a weird fantasy sequence where January imagines himself as a big baby with Star as his nanny, waiting on him hand and foot.

Even though Twentieth Century Fox and Temple’s family sued Greene over his unflattering remarks, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck may have taken on board some of his criticisms about her movie plots. For while no less corny at times, her later vehicles like Wee Willie Winkie (1937) and Little Miss Broadway (1938) grew rather more sophisticated. Here however, Zanuck’s major contributions involved removing a comedy parrot and revising the original ending which would have had January dying from a heart-attack. Everything ends with sunshine and laughter, in a manner as much childish as childlike, given how Star stubbornly remains frozen in time with all her loved ones nearby forever and ever. Still, this does feature a crane called Ichabod who dances to harmonica tunes.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 3906 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith


Last Updated: