Cast & Crew
In the small town of Jordan, Ohio, Minta Hagen returns to her husband Jim with an adopted baby girl at the same time that the wealthy Gateleys quietly bring their daughter Grace home to stay. Partly because of the timing and partly because of the color of the baby's hair and eyes, it is rumored that the baby, whom the Hagens name Mary, is the illegitimate daughter of Grace and her former boyfriend, Tom Bates. To save Tom from the effects of this rumor, his guardian, Judge Merrivale, sends him to study law in another town. Although Tom dismisses the accusation as foolish, Merrivale points out that although Tom can leave, and Grace is too sick to notice, it is the child who will be most affected by gossip. Years later, after Merrivale dies, Tom returns to Jordan. Mary is now a college student and has suffered all her life from the town's disapproval. Tom attends the college dance, where he meets Julia Kane, one of the college professors. Mary briefly leaves to fix a broken shoulder strap, and college student Dewey Koons follows and forces a kiss on her. As usual, Mary is blamed for the incident, and only Julia's intervention saves her from punishment. Mary is baffled by the town's attitude toward her until her friend, Sharon Bailey, tells her the gossip about her parentage, causing the distraught Mary to run away to Chicago. When Mary returns home, she begs her mother to tell her the truth about her background, but Minta will only say that the rumors are untrue. Believing that Mary has artistic talent, Julia convinces her to try out for the school play and assigns her the role of "Juliet" in Romeo and Juliet . To add to Mary's pleasure, Ken Freneau, a well-to-do boy who has always been kind to her, asks her to his fraternity dance. Then Julia is pressured by the school board, which includes Ken's mother, to replace Mary with Christine Delaney, a girl from a more prominent family, and Ken's family insists that he take Christine to the dance. Ken goes along with his mother's wishes, but gets Christine drunk so that she will be too ill to perform in the play. Julia then asks Mary to substitute, and she performs the role to great acclaim. Ken drives her home, and the two become secretly engaged. Later, Minta, who is very ill, dies before she can tell Mary the truth about her background. Mary takes matters into her own hands and visits Tom. He insists that he is not her father, but she does not really believe him. Soon, however, Mary, Tom and Julia spend many afternoons together, and Tom, who has grown fond of Mary, offers to send her to the university. While Tom is away in Washington, D.C., Ken breaks under family pressure and elopes with Christine. On the rebound, Mary dates Dewey, who takes her to a tavern, where he is involved in a fight. Despite Julia's efforts, Mary is expelled. Tom returns home, having received the Order of Merit in Washington for his service during the war. Julia tells him what has happened to Mary and helps him realize that he has fallen in love with the girl. When the school board asks Tom to speak at graduation, he reminds them that of the four students who went to the tavern, only one was expelled and turns down their request. Then Jim arrives with a suicide note from Mary, and Tom finds her just in time to save her from drowning. He then tells Mary that Grace is incurably insane and could never have been her mother. After Tom explains that Mary was adopted from an orphanage in Evanston, Illinois, the couple gets married and leaves town.
William B. Davidson
Ray "romeo" Montgomery
Lydia Ann Mckim
Leo F. Forbstein
Lyle B. Reifsnider
Jack L. Warner
That Hagen Girl - That Hagen Girl
Although she would always call That Hagen Girl her favorite adult picture, the film was a box office disaster. Later generations have come to value the film for its camp qualities, claiming it's so bad it's good, but at the time it sank Temple's chances of moving into adult parts.
Ever since her marriage to Marine John Agar in 1945, Temple had been consumed by two drives: to have a baby and to move into more mature roles. The former goal had escaped her for two years. The latter was put on hold as independent producer David O. Selznick, who had signed her to a long-term contract, loaned her to studios wishing to capitalize on her former career as the screen's most popular child actress. She had scored a big hit at RKO playing opposite Cary Grant in The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947), which may have inspired producer Alex Gottlieb to ask for her as star of That Hagen Girl. Studio head Jack Warner was enthusiastic about the idea. He even agreed to pay Selznick's hefty fee for borrowing Temple (most of the fee went to Selznick, not her) and sign another Selznick contract player, Rory Calhoun, to play her boyfriend. When Temple arrived at Warners for the film, the studio head also discussed casting her in a longtime dream project of his, a film biography of Ziegfeld Follies star Marilyn Miller.
Less enthusiastic was Ronald Reagan, who was assigned to play the older man who comes to Temple's rescue. He was beginning to resent his treatment at Warner Bros., where he had been forced to give up a starring role in John Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) to star in the less prestigious The Voice of the Turtle (1947). But Warner argued that he had already invested in five adaptations of Edith Roberts' rather soapy novel and needed Reagan in the role to sell tickets. When he promised not to hold the film against Reagan if it failed at the box office, the star finally gave in. He could hardly have afforded to turn it down and risk suspension; his wife, Jane Wyman, was pregnant at the time. Nonetheless, he tried to convince director Peter Godfrey to order one more rewrite, in which Temple would be reunited with her boyfriend at the end. "People sort of frown on men marrying girls young enough to be their daughters," he argued, only to learn that Godfrey was himself married to a much younger woman.
One of the first scenes filmed was Temple's suicide attempt, in which Reagan fishes her out of an icy pond during a driving rainstorm. The studio shot the scene in a heated pool, but repeated retakes exhausted Reagan, who called in sick the next day. He ended up being off the film for three weeks, laid up with viral pneumonia. While he was hospitalized and barely conscious, Wyman went into premature labor. The child died a day later, but he was too ill to help her through the ordeal. Their marriage never recovered. When he finally returned to work, under doctors orders to end each day at three, he had to shoot retakes of the suicide scene.
During Reagan's illness, Temple got news about her own medical condition. She was shooting a scene in which she leaps off a stool to take a phone call from her boyfriend. During a break, she got a call from her doctor, who informed her that she was finally pregnant. When she returned to the set, she demurely climbed off the stool, then explained to the director that she would have to take things easier from then on. When she and Reagan re-shot the scene in which he pulls her out of the pond, she whispered in his ear, "Just think, you've just saved two people."
Pregnancy brought other problems for Temple. As soon the news broke, Selznick sent her a film contract for the unborn child, while the Ideal Toy Company, which had manufactured the profitable Shirley Temple dolls of the '30s, suggested marketing a baby doll modeled on her firstborn. She said no to both. Pregnancy also brought about a surprising self-consciousness. She began to have trouble learning lines, and found that acting, which she had been doing since she was three, suddenly seemed impossible. Godfrey sent her to a coach, but his advice that she "make love to the carpet" with her feet and find the character in "your diaphragm of souls" made her work even more difficult.
Reagan's misgivings about the script were borne out when the film had its first preview screening. After he rescues Temple from her suicide attempt, he admits that he loves her. But when he said the words on screen, the preview audience screamed "Oh no!" almost in unison. The studio re-cut the film to play down their romantic relationship, but that just left a muddled mess. As he would write in his memoirs, when the two left their horrid small town together "You are left to guess as to whether we are married, just traveling together, or did I adopt her." That Hagen Girl became a legendary flop, derided by critics for its tasteless script, miscasting and laughable performances. Some even felt that the attack on small town hypocrisy was "un-American," ironic given the future political careers of its stars. Despite Warner's promises, the studio would use the picture's failure as an excuse to pass over Reagan for better roles. His career would go into a long tailspin only ended by his transition to politics in the '60s. Although Temple would follow That Hagen Girl with a hit John Ford Western, Fort Apache (1948), the earlier film's failure kept her from landing better adult roles. Warner ended up filming the Marilyn Miller story as Look for the Silver Lining, with June Haver, in 1949, the same year Temple would retire from the screen.
Producer: Alex Gottlieb
Director: Peter Godfrey
Screenplay: Charles Hoffman.
Based on the Novel by Edith Roberts
Cinematography: Karl Freund
Art Direction: Stanley Fleischer
Music: Franz Waxman
Principal Cast: Ronald Reagan (Tom Bates), Shirley Temple (Mary Hagen), Rory Calhoun (Ken Freneau), Lois Maxwell (Julia Kane), Conrad Janis (Dewey Coons), Jean Porter (Sharon Bailey).
by Frank Miller
That Hagen Girl - That Hagen Girl
Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004 - TCM Remembers Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan, the actor turned elected official whose fascinating career saw him develop as a contract player for Warner Brothers studios, to a politician who fulfilled his ambitions by becoming the 40th President of the United States, died at his home in Los Angeles on June 5 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 93.
He was born Ronald Wilson Reagan on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois to John and Nelle Reagan. When Reagan was nine, his family settled down in the small community of Dixon, about 100 miles west of Chicago. After high school, Reagan enrolled in Eureka College, a small Christian school near Peoria. He graduated in 1932 with a degree in Economics, and pursued a career in broadcasting. His first gig was as a part-time announcer at WOC in Davenport, Iowa. Within a year, WOC had merged with its big-sister station, WHO in Des Moines, and Reagan was hired as a sports announcer.
In the spring of 1937, Reagan drove to Southern California to catch the Chicago Cubs in spring training on Santa Catalina Island. While he was in California, he wrangled a screen test and signed a contract for $200 a week with Warner Brothers. His film debut was rather inauspicious; he portrayed a radio announcer in an innocuous comedy Love is on the Air (1937). He made a few more "B" programmers like Hollywood Hotel (also 1937), and Girls on Probation (1938), before getting his first prominent role opposite Bette Davis in the popular tearjerker, Dark Victory (1939).
Although he seldom got credit for being a good actor, there was no denying that Reagan held his own given the right material: Knute Rockne, All American as the doomed Notre Dame football hero George "The Gipper" Gipp, where he delivered the film's immortal line "Win one for the Gipper!"; Santa Fe Trail in which he ably supports Errol Flynn in one of the boxoffice hits of its era (both 1940); Kings Row (1941), featuring one of his finest performances as a small-town playboy whose legs are amputated by a careless surgeon; and Desperate Journey (1942) where he again supported Flynn in an exciting action picture.
Due to his poor eyesight, Reagan didn't see any action in World War II, so the studio heads assigned him to star in a series of patriotic films produced by the First Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Forces in Culver City. Between 1942-45, Reagan starred in over 400 of these films. After the war, Reagan still found some good roles: The Voice of the Turtle (1947) proved he had a deft hand at light comedy opposite Eleanor Parker; The Hasty Heart (1949) offered another underrated performance as he ably portrayed the Yank in John Patrick's much heralded wartime play; and Storm Warning (1950) was a slick melodrama that cast Reagan as a crusading District Attorney determined to bring the KKK in a small southern town, with the help of Doris Day and Ginger Rogers!
It was around this time that Reagan became involved in politics. In 1947, he began a five-year term as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and testified in October of that year before the newly formed House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He identified suspected Communists Larry Parks, Howard Da Silva and Alexander Knox, all of whom were subsequently called to testify, and subsequently blacklisted. Later records showed Reagan was so concerned about the Communist influence in Hollywood, that he became an FBI informer.
As Reagan became steeped in his political career, his parts throughout the '50s became inferior: the notorious Bedtime for Bonzo (1951); the coy "sex" comedy She's Working Her Way Through College (1952) that cast him as a college professor who romances a stripper! (Virginia Mayo); Cattle Queen of Montana (1955), a sluggish Western that even the redoubtable Barbara Stanwyck couldn't save; and finally Hellcats of the Navy (1957), a stodgy war picture that would be his only film that co-starred his wife Nancy (Davis).
Television offered some salvation. For eight years, (1954-62), Reagan served as the host of General Electric Theater, a televised series of dramas. He also found a niche as GE's goodwill ambassador to employees and to civic and business groups around the country, furthering his taste and honing his craft as a public official. By the mid '60s, Reagan would move into politics entirely, save for one last film, the thrilling The Killers (1964), Reagan's only known villainous role, as a murderous gangster. That same year, he actively campaigned for Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, although Goldwater lost to Lyndon B. Johnson.
Reagan whose profile was riding high, had cemented his future as a successful politician. In 1966, he ran against incumbent Governor Pat Brown for the state of California and won, serving successfully for two terms until 1974.
Reagan began an all-out, two-year drive to wrest the 1976 nomination from incumbent Gerald R. Ford, an appointed vice president who became president on the resignation of Nixon. Reagan fell short by a handful of delegates to the Republican national convention. But Ford lost to Jimmy Carter, and Reagan became the front-runner to challenge Carter in 1980. After defeating Carter, Reagan held two terms as President of the United States (1981-89). After his second term was over, he retired quietly in California. In 1994, it was revealed to the media that Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer's disease; he had been kept out of the public eye since then.
He was married briefly to actress Jane Wyman (1940-48), and had two children; a daughter Maureen and an adopted son, Michael. In 1952, he married a budding film starlet, Nancy Davis, who bore him two more children; a daughter, Patty; and a son, Ronald Jr. Ronald Reagan is survived by Nancy, Michael, Patty and Ron Jr. His daughter Maureen died of Melanoma in 2001 at the age of 60.
by Michael T. Toole
Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004 - TCM Remembers Ronald Reagan
The film's working title was Mary Hagen. Special effects technician Wesley Anderson's first name was spelled "Weslie" in the opening credits. A July 14, 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that due to pneumonia, Ronald Reagan was absent from the production from 19 June-July 14, 1947. Character actor William B. Davidson, who began performing in motion pictures in the 1910s, died a few weeks after the end of production of That Hagen Girl. Although he had worked on The Judge Steps Out, made earlier in 1947, that film was not released until 1949.
Released in United States Fall November 1, 1947
Released in United States Fall November 1, 1947