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Grand Old Girl (1935)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 18 January 1935 (USA)
Miss Bayles (May Robson) has been trying to close down a business operated by Clarence (Alan Hale). Clarence runs a crooked gambling operation in the back room. Miss Bayles uses Clarence's ... See full summary »


John S. Robertson (as John Robertson)


Milton Krims (screen play), John Twist (screen play) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
May Robson ... Laura Bayles
Mary Carlisle ... Gerry Killaine
Fred MacMurray ... Sandy
Alan Hale ... Click Dade
Etienne Girardot ... Mellis
William Burress William Burress ... Butts
Hale Hamilton ... Killaine
Edward Van Sloan ... Holland
Fred Kohler Jr. ... Bill Belden
Onest Conley Onest Conley ... Neptune
Ben Alexander ... Tom Miller
George Offerman Jr. ... Walter
Gavin Gordon ... The President
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Jean House Mary Jean House ... One of Laura's Pupils


Miss Bayles (May Robson) has been trying to close down a business operated by Clarence (Alan Hale). Clarence runs a crooked gambling operation in the back room. Miss Bayles uses Clarence's crooked dice to beat him and uses her winnings to open a respectable business for her students to use. Her business gets closed down after a fight in her establishment and the school board replaces her as principal of the town's school. Clarence is feeling pretty good about his victory over Miss Bayles until she tells him she also lost her pension. Clarence sends a fellow classmate and former student of Miss Bayles a telegram. The former student happens to be the President of the United States and he comes to town to honor Miss Bayles. Written by Harold Thornton

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

18 January 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vicio y virtud See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Fred MacMurray's first credited movie part. See more »


Romance No.6, Op.6 (None But the Lonely Heart)
(1869) (uncredited)
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
In the score when Miss Bayles learns she's being dismissed
See more »

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User Reviews

Small Town School Marm
12 July 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

May Robson, two years after her Academy Award nominated performance in Lady for a Day, got roped into doing this film about a school principal in small town USA.

The premise is actually an interesting one and you can follow the concept from a film like Grand Old Girl right up to a television series like Boston Public. She's a school principal 24 hours a day and takes an interest in all that goes on in her small town.

The problem was that the script just had so many saccharine characters in it who in the end don't really turn out to be as bad as they first seem that it gets ridiculous. Alan Hale who runs a malt shop, but who has a back room where gambling and liquor are available to the kids, is one of her foes. In the end however he feels sorry for the old gal and turns out to be her rescuer. This is after she attempted to run him out of business.

Mary Carlisle in the next generation would be labeled a high school hellcat. At first she is one spoiled rich kid tramp and then she breaks down and cry when the town fathers led by her father put Robson out to pasture.

Among Robson's former pupils is a man who became an unnamed mythical President of the United States who makes a dramatic appearance in his home town. It can't be FDR since the president's face is never shown. Sort of like how Jesus was portrayed in films like The Big Fisherman or Ben-Hur later. Also the president is walking unaided which FDR could not do. But Gavin Gordon who plays the president has an FDR like mellifluous voice.

Fred MacMurray here is wasted, none of his gifts of comedy are utilized and that's a shame. He's a delivery man who Carlisle has a yen for.

Cecil B. DeMille made a controversial film two years earlier called This Day and Age about high school kids fighting corruption in their small town. Some of the same elements are here in Grand Old Girl, but the scriptwriters I believe were trapped by the persistent mythology of small town America and the good people in it. So the film got watered down to nothingness.

Sad to say, but there's nothing of any real interest in Grand Old Girl.

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