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Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm(1938)


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According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, "the only things that have been taken from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm-the literary property which we own-are a few minor instances, the character of the little girl and the title." The legal records also note that the screenplay written by Karl Tunberg and Don Ettlinger was "entirely separate" from one written earlier by William Conselman and Ben Markson, although the producer gave Tunberg and Ettlinger ideas that were included in the earlier screenplay. According to the legal records, the songs "Nevada Moon," by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel, and "Au Revoir," by Lew Pollack and Sidney D. Mitchell, were originally to be in the film, and some scenes were shot at the Soldiers' Home in Los Angeles.
       Box Office commented that this film was "launching [Temple] on a flying start to maintain for another year her position as No. 1 celluloid revenue producer." According to MPPDA information, Jack Temple, one of the assistant directors on the film, was Shirley Temple's twenty-two-year-old brother. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Walter Brennan was listed in an early treatment for the role of "Homer Busby." According to correspondence in the legal records, the Quaker Oats Company objected when they learned that there was to be a song in the film about "crackly corn flakes" and noted that Shirley Temple was under contract to them to advertise their product, Quaker's Puffed Wheat. The company felt that if the song were included, they would look ridiculous, as Temple would be seen to be boosting a competitive product, Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Because of their objections, Darryl Zanuck ordered the song title changed to "Crackly Grain Flakes." According to news items, the National Confectioners' Association filed a $500,000 libel suit against Twentieth Century-Fox claiming that a scene in the film did members of the association irreparable damage. In the scene in question, after Rebecca has arrived at Sunnybrook Farm, Miranda asks if she has had anything to eat. Rebecca says that her uncle bought her a candy bar, whereupon Miranda says, "Candy bar! Gwen, take the child into the kitchen and get her something decent to eat." According to a news item, the association claimed that the scene "libels a bar of candy and holds up the candy profession to ridicule and shame." According to the legal records, the suit was soon dropped. According to modern sources, Jule Styne was Temple's vocal supervisor for this film. In 1932, Fox produced a film based on the play Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Wiggin and Charlotte Thompson. Please see this entry above for information regarding other films based on the same source.