Wise Girl (1937)

Susan Fletcher (Miriam Hopkins) is an heiress on an adventure. She has left her father’s mansion and all of its comforts for the odd and exciting world of Greenwich Village.

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She’s not exactly on vacation, though. Susan’s on a mission. Her orphaned nieces, Katie (Marianna Strelby) and Joan (Betty Philson), are living in Greenwich with artist John O’Halloran (Ray Milland) — their guardian, following the deaths of both of their parents.

Knowing that her father can provide a comfortable life for the girls, Susan tracks them down and attempts to gain custody by proving John unfit for the job.

Wise Girl was directed by Leigh Jason. The screenplay was written by Allan Scott from a story by Scott and Charles Norman.

Wise Girl is a predictable film in that of course, eventually, Hopkins and Milland begin to fall for one another. The added complications of the custody case and Susan hiding her identity do keep it interesting, though. The custody case in particular complicates the potential relationship, Susan staying true to her mission even as she begins to have feelings for John.

Hopkins has a great role here. She’s confident and strong-willed. Her sparring with Milland is a whole lot of fun to watch, with great tension between them. The film does well by putting her in an unexpected setting, too. The collection of artists surrounding John is eccentric, sometimes drunk, and very “bohemian.” Their contrast to the sophisticated Susan adds even more fun to the film!

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(Image via Etsy)

The pace does drag a bit at times, with somewhat amusing but really unnecessary additions like John’s drawn-out, mishap-laden attempt at become a vacuum salesman. But all’s well that ends well, and in general Wise Girl is a cute, easy watch. I would recommend giving it a watch if you’re a fan of ’30s rom-coms or its leading lady, Miriam Hopkins.

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