Just Around the Corner

Just Around the Corner is a 1938 American musical comedy film directed by Irving Cummings. The screenplay by Ethel Hill, Darrell Ware, and J. P. McEvoy was based on the novel Lucky Penny by Paul Gerard Smith. The film focuses on the tribulations of little Penny Hale (Temple) and her architect father (Farrell) after he is forced by circumstances to accept a job as janitor. The film was the fourth and last cinematic song and dance pairing of Shirley Temple and Bill Robinson. It is available on DVD and videocassette. The musical score includes the popular standard "I Love to Walk in the Rain" which can be viewed on YouTube.

Just Around the Corner
Theatrical release poster
Directed byIrving Cummings
Produced by
Written byEthel Hill
J. P. McEvoy
Darrell Ware
Story byPaul Gerard Smith
StarringShirley Temple
Charles Farrell
Claude Gillingwater
Joan Davis
Benny Bartlett
Music byHarold Spina
CinematographyArthur C. Miller
Edited byWalter Thompson
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 11, 1938 (1938-11-11)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States


Plot Summary

Penny Hale is attending a private girls school when she is informed that her enrollment has ended and she will be heading home to live with her widowed father, Jeff Hale. She accepts this revelation as good news, unaware that her father, a prominent architect, is in dire financial straits and can no longer afford Penny's tuition. Furthermore, Jeff has lost his penthouse apartment and his car, but he has secured a menial job in the building as its custodian so he and Penny will still have a home: Jeff and Penny now reside in a small basement dwelling. Although Jeff is humbled by this downturn in his career, the always optimistic Penny looks upon this change of life as an adventure. Penny often runs afoul of Waters (Franklin Pangborn), an overly officious apartment employee, who tries to keep her out of places in the building she once frequented when her father was wealthy.

Jeff is romantically linked with Kitty, the niece of the disagreeable woman (Cora Witherspoon) who now occupies his old apartment. Kitty's uncle, Samuel Henshaw, is a major financier who once employed Jeff to design a major building project, but discontinued it. Penny also befriends Kitty's brother Milton (Benny Bartlett), a somewhat pampered and effete boy. Penny assists him in shedding his prim and snobbish appearance, cutting off his prominent curls, in an attempt to make him look more like a "he-man."

A discouraged Jeff explains to Penny that the United States is mired in the Great Depression because Uncle Sam is being pestered by too many people who want his money. He shows her a newspaper cartoon that illustrates this idea. Penny discovers that Samuel Henshaw is referred to as "Uncle Sam" by his niece and nephew and does bear a strong resemblance to the symbolic Uncle Sam in the newspaper cartoon. Penny amusingly believes Samuel Henshaw is actually Uncle Sam.

Shortly thereafter Penny sees Henshaw being accosted by a group of pushy reporters. She helps drive them away with a few well-placed kicks to their shins. Penny tells Henshaw she sympathizes with him because of all the people who are trying to siphon money from "Uncle Sam." The irascible Henshaw takes a liking to Penny. She eventually decides to stage a benefit for Henshaw, charging a nickel apiece for a show that features a song-and-dance performance by her and Corporal Jones, the apartment building's doorman (Bill Robinson). This action impresses Samuel Henshaw so much that he announces the building project that he had earlier abandoned will be restarted with Jeff in charge. Jeff and Kitty plan to be married.


It was during the making of this film that the relationship between the Temples and 20th Century Fox head Darryl Zanuck took an irreparable turn. Temple's mother Gertrude was not happy with the script or the cast of the movie and had a strained meeting with Zanuck to express her frustrations. Dissatisfied with Zanuck's response, she went straight to studio chairman Joseph Schenck, who supported Zanuck and refused to take the matter up with him. Direct communication eventually broke down between Zanuck and the Temples. It was the beginning of a chain of events that would eventually lead to Temple's parents opting out of her contract in 1940.[1]

For the casting of the movie, Zanuck brought in Charles Farrell for what was hoped to be a comeback role for him. The director tracked down Farrell at a racquetball club, catching him completely by surprise with the movie offer. The comeback attempt never materialized, however, as his movie career would be over by the end of the decade.[2] Temple's dog Ching-Ching II was brought in as an extra in the movie for $5. When the script called for her to bathe the dog in one of the scenes, she managed to negotiate an extra $2.50.[3]

See also


  1. Shirley Temple Black, "Child Star: An Autobiography" (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988), 221-222.
  2. Shirley Temple Black, "Child Star: An Autobiography" (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988), 220.
  3. Shirley Temple Black, "Child Star: An Autobiography" (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988), 219.
  • Windeler, Robert (1992) [1978], The Films of Shirley Temple, Carol Publishing Group, pp. 198–201

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.