Cast & Crew
J. Edward Bromberg
Dr. Anna Mathe, a professor at the Montreaux School for Girls in Switzerland, is secretly in love with the school's director, Dr. Stefan Dominik. Marie Claudel, one of Stefan's students, is also in love with him, and she keeps a picture of him under her pillow. Stefan is oblivious to both infatuations because of his absorption in writing textbooks. At a school outing to the Spring Fair, Marie and her friends draw lots to see who will ask Stefan for a dance. Marie wins, but Stefan declines stating that it is inappropriate for the director to dance with a student. Hurt and embarrassed, Marie runs from the crowd. As Stefan and Augusta Wimmer, a severe female professor whom the students constantly taunt, check to make sure that all the girls are accounted for on the returning bus, they notice that Marie is missing. Just then, Marie runs up and boards the bus, out of breath from running. Back at the school, Wimmer informs Anna and Stefan that she has found a love note in the trash. The note mentions a tryst at Castle Mountain, and the three surmise that one of the girls must have slipped away during the school outing. Wimmer insists that the girl be punished, and Anna identifies the handwriting as Marie's. Stefan summonses Marie to his office, where she admits that she wrote the note. He demands to know the man's name, but she refuses to tell him. At a faculty meeting called to determine Marie's punishment, Wimmer and Dr. Spindler, a male math teacher, want to prevent Marie from graduating, and although the rest of the faculty prefer to let the matter drop, they ask probing questions and demand to know the man's name. Marie calls Spindler "a filthy old pig," and when he threatens to send for her mother, an invalid in a sanitarium, she pleads with him and asks to speak to Anna in private. Outside, Marie confides to Anna that she is in love with Stefan and that she was pretending when she wrote the note. Sympathetic toward Marie, Anna explains the situation to the faculty, leaving Stefan's name out of it, but Wimmer and Spindler are implacable. Later, Marie does not appear for dinner, and Stefan and Anna become worried. Stefan spots her leaving through the gate, and after chasing her through the rain, he eventually catches up to her at Castle Mountain. Exhausted, Marie collapses and Stefan carries her to a nearby cabin. The owner of the cabin goes to get help, leaving Stefan and Marie alone. Marie tells Stefan that she wrote the note about him, and he admits that he has always been in love with her. After they return to the school, Anna understands that Stefan is in love with Marie. On commencement day, Stefan asks Marie to marry him, and she accepts, but when she learns that Anna loves Stefan, she breaks their engagement by pretending already to be engaged to her cousin who has come to the school for the graduation ceremony. Later that night, as the students celebrate their graduation in a cafe, Stefan appears and asks Marie to dance, telling her that he could never love Anna, and then they kiss.
J. Edward Bromberg
Tyrone Power Jr.
W. D. Flick
Darryl F. Zanuck
The plot summary was based on a screen continuity in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library. Screen Achievements Bulletin gives the English language title of the play by Ladislaus Fodor as Commencement. According to a February 1936 Hollywood Reporter news item, the play had been running in Budapest since October 1935. Variety, which commented that the film's theme was "one of those continental favorites, the psychology of the girl adolescent," compared its theme to that of the 1931 German film Mädchen in Uniform, and noted that in the ending of the original play, the headmaster is united with his assistant, rather than the student. This was the first American film of French actress Simone Simon, of whom Variety noted, "Few imported players ever were given a more auspicious buildup." New York Times noted that in order to forestall mail requesting the correct pronunciation of her name, Twentieth Century-Fox sent the following wire to newspapers: "NOTE FOLLOWING CORRECT PHONETIC SPELLING SIMONE SIMON STOP QUOTE SEE DASH MOAN SEE DASH MOAN UNQUOTE ACCENT ON LAST SYLLABLE INSTEAD OF QUOTE SEE DASH MONE SEE DASH MONE UNQUOTE STOP IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE GIBBERISH IT CAN'T BE HELPED." Film Daily commented that she "took the audience by storm," while Hollywood Reporter stated, "Hers is a performance unprecedented in Hollywood productions. Fresh, bright and alive, her face mirrors expressions with an ease that transcends acting." Frank Nugent of New York Times called her debut "astonishing" and stated that with this film, "she had become a star of the first magnitude." Nugent also suggested that "Congress cancel a substantial part of France's war debts in consideration of its gift of Simone Simon to Hollywood."
According to New York Times, Tyrone Power was signed to a seven-year contract with the studio on the strength of his performance in this film, Ladies in Love and especially Lloyds of London. Early Hollywood Reporter production charts credit Arthur Miller with photography. It is not known if this listing is a mistake, or if Merritt Gersted replaced him during the production. Hollywood Reporter production charts and news items list the following additional cast members: Peggy Montgomery, Janet Prentiss, Mary Blackwood, Esther Brodelet, Julie Cabanne, Dorothy Dearing, Madelyn Earle, Philippa Hilbere, Marion Weldon and Rudolph Amendt. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. In 1941, Twentieth Century-Fox produced another film based on the same source entitled A Very Young Lady, directed by Harold Schuster and starring Jane Withers. In 1957, the studio was set to remake the film again, according to Daily Variety, but that film was never produced.