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By the mid-1940s, Shirley Temple was no longer the adorable moppet who had filled 20th Century Fox's coffers throughout the 1930s. Under contract to David O. Selznick, she had transitioned gracefully into teenage roles in films such as Since You Went Away (1944) and I'll Be Seeing You (1944). But soon, Temple's personal life began consuming most of her attention. In 1945, at age 17, she graduated from high school, got engaged to soldier John Agar, and planned to enroll at UCLA. Instead, she got married that September. In the spring of 1946, she began production on her next film, on loanout to RKO. The studio capitalized on her newlywed status and titled it Honeymoon (1947).
Temple plays teenage bride Barbara who's eloped to Mexico City to meet her fianc Phil (Guy Madison) and get married. Missed connections put the couple into the path of harried American consul David Flanner (Franchot Tone), and the complications increase when Temple imagines herself in love with Flanner.
In her 1988 autobiography, Child Star, Temple recalls that she sat under a sunlamp just before production on Honeymoon got underway, and ended up with swollen eyes. For the first few days of filming, she had to be shot in wide shots only. She also writes that Joseph Cotten, also under contract to Selznick, went on suspension when he refused to be loaned to RKO to play the Tone role in Honeymoon, because he felt he was too old to be playing opposite Temple.
As a newlywed, Temple was under constant scrutiny by the press, which was waiting breathlessly for an announcement of pregnancy. During the filming of Honeymoon, Temple had her wisdom teeth removed and suffered an infection, which caused her jaw to swell. A doctor was called to the set to treat it, and Temple joked to her stand-in that "my jaw was pregnant." Someone overheard and misheard this comment, and the next day, gossip columnists announced her impending motherhood. In fact, her marriage was already in trouble, and the birth of a daughter in 1948 would not save it. The couple would divorce in 1949.
Critics suggested that Temple, now a grown-up married woman of 18, was perhaps too old to play cute, and that the script of Honeymoon made her annoying instead of adorable. Bosley Crowther of the New York Times wrote, "The friends of Shirley Temple must be getting a little bit tired of seeing this buxom young lady still acting as if she were still a kid. Shirley is no Greta Garbo, which is plain enough to see, but she certainly deserves an opportunity to act smarter than she does in Honeymoon." The Time critic admitted that "Honeymoon has its entertaining moments but something goes wrong with the farcical frenzy the leading players are supposed to whip up. The character Miss Temple plays is presented as if she were just too terribly cute, whereas she is playing a spoiled brat who has yet to learn that the world is not her oyster." Fans apparently agreed - the film lost $675,000. While it's not one of Temple's best performances during the latter part of her career, she does have her moments, especially when playing opposite expert farceur Tone. And she does get to sing, and to dance a sexy samba.
Director: William Keighley
Producer: Warren Duff
Screenplay: Michael Kanin, based on a story by Vicki Baum
Cinematography: Edward Cronjager
Editor: Ralph Dawson
Costume Design: Edward Stevenson
Art Direction: Ralph Berger, Albert S. D'Agostino
Music: Leigh Harline
Cast: Shirley Temple (Barbara), Franchot Tone (Flanner), Guy Madison (Phil), Lina Romay (Raquel), Gene Lockhart (Prescott), Corinna Mura (Senora Mendoza), Grant Mitchell (Crenshaw), Julio Villarreal (Senor Mendoza), Manuel Arvide (Registrar), Jose R. Goula (Dr. Diego).
by Margarita Landazuri