Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a 1938 American musical comedy film directed by Allan Dwan and starring Shirley Temple, Randolph Scott, and Bill Robinson. The screenplay by Don Ettlinger and Karl Tunberg is loosely based on Kate Douglas Wiggin's novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. This is the second of three films in which Shirley Temple and Randolph Scott appeared together, the others were; To the Last Man (1933) and Susannah of the Mounties (1939).
The film tells the story of a talented orphan's trials and tribulations after winning a radio audition to represent a breakfast cereal. Highlights include Temple singing a medley of her hit tunes and dancing with Bill Robinson on a flight of stairs. The film was well received by Variety, and, in 2009, was available on videocassette and DVD.
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm film versions were made in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917) starring Mary Pickford; Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1932) starringMarian Nixon.
Rebecca Winstead (Shirley Temple), a musically talented orphan, is under the guardianship of her stepfather Harry Kipper (William Demarest). She auditions for the radio role of Little Miss America and wins it, but leaves the studio believing she lost it. Kipper regards her as a loser and a burden, and dumps her on the farm of her Aunt Miranda.
Tony Kent, the radio advertising executive who approved Rebecca for the role of Little Miss America, lives next door to Miranda. He recognizes Rebecca, and asks Miranda's permission to feature Rebecca on his radio show. When Aunt Miranda (Helen Westley) refuses to allow Rebecca to associate with show people, Kent broadcasts secretly from his house with Rebecca joining him on the sly.
Kipper hears Rebecca's broadcast and returns to the farm looking for easy money. As Rebecca's legal guardian, he forces Aunt Miranda to surrender the child. He takes her away from her friends and loved ones to New York City. There, he signs a contract with Kent's competitor Purvis (Alan Dinehart) to star Rebecca on another radio show.
When Rebecca suddenly develops laryngitis and cannot sing, Purvis angrily voids the contract. Kipper sells his legal guardianship to Aunt Miranda for $5,000. Rebecca reveals to her friends she feigned hoarseness to free herself from Kipper. The film ends with Rebecca and Aunt Miranda's farm hand Aloysius costumed as toy soldiers performing a dance on a flight on stairs.
Subplots include a romance between Kent and Rebecca's cousin Gwen, another between radio singers Orville and Lola, and the rekindling of an old romance between Aunt Miranda and neighbor Homer Busby.
- Shirley Temple as Rebecca Winstead, a young orphan
- Randolph Scott as Tony Kent, a radio advertising executive
- William Demarest as Harry Kipper, Rebecca's stepfather
- Helen Westley as Miranda, a farm woman and Rebecca's aunt
- Gloria Stuart as Gwen, Rebecca's cousin and Kent's romantic interest
- Bill Robinson as Aloysius, Miranda's farm hand
- Slim Summerville as Homer Busby, Miranda's old sweetheart
- Jack Haley as Orville Smithers, a radio performer
- Phyllis Brooks as Lola Lee, a radio performer
- Alan Dinehart as Purvis, Kent's competitor
- Franklin Pangborn as an organist at a radio station