Susannah of the Mounties


1h 18m 1939
Susannah of the Mounties

Brief Synopsis

Shirley Temple plays an orphaned survivor rescued by mounties.

Film Details

Also Known As
Susannah
Genre
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Jun 23, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Susannah, A Little Girl of the Mounties by Muriel Denison (New York, 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,105ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

In the early 1880's, the Canadian Pacific Railway is forging its way westward, meeting resistance from the Indians who resent the encroachment of the white man. One of the victims of that conflict is Susannah Sheldon, the sole survivor of an Indian massacre on a wagon train. Susannah is found by a mounted patrol in the command of Inspector Angus "Monty" Montague, who takes her back to the post where he and his friend, Pat O'Hannegan adopt her. Romance blossoms at the post when Superintendent Standing's daughter Vicky comes to visit from Toronto, enchanting Monty and sparking rivalry in Susannah and Harlan Chambers, the head of the railroad camp. The violence escalates when a band of renegade Indians steals horses from Chambers' camp and Chief Big Eagle, a friendly Indian, pledges to deliver the renegades. As a gesture of good faith, the Chief leaves his son Little Chief at the post, and Little Chief begins to teach Susannah the way of the Indians. While the children are out riding one day, they witness Wolf Pelt try to sell Chambers his stolen horses, thus inciting Chambers into threatening the Indians with extinction. Wolf Pelt, a renegade, uses Chambers' threat to demand that his tribe go to war, and that night, he raids the post to retrieve Little Chief and kidnap Monty. When Big Eagle demands that the railroad leave or Monty will die, Susannah rides off in search of Monty and is taken prisoner by the Indians. That night, as the tribe prepares to burn Monty at the stake, Susannah escapes from the tepee and accuses Wolf Pelt of inciting Chambers with his thievery. When Wolf Pelt denies the charges, Big Chief calls for the test of the stick of truth, and when the stick drops towards Wolf Pelt, proving that he is a liar, Big Chief frees Monty and smokes the pipe of peace with Susannah and the white man.

Videos

Movie Clip

Susannah Of The Mounties (1939) - I Want You To Meet My Daughter Randolph Scott as officer Monty, having rescued the star (Shirley Temple) following an Indian massacre, is eager to report to his C-O (Moroni Olsen), not realizing he'd meet knockout Margaret Lockwood, then berating his orderly Mac (J. Farrell MacDonald), early in Susannah Of The Mounties, 1939.
Susannah Of The Mounties (1939) - Is That Your Pony? Cordial when you consider that, broadly speaking, his tribe probably just slaughtered her family and wagon train, survivor Shirley Temple (title character) and Canadian Blackfeet “Little Chief,” who’s been left with the white men as a de facto hostage during peace talks, have a normal juvenile spat, Randolph Scott intervening, in Susannah Of The Mounties, 1939.
Susannah Of The Mounties (1939) - One Little Word Pretty horrifying opening, at least in the Shirley Temple canon, as she’s found by Northwest Mounted Police officer “Monty” (Randolph Scott), the sole survivor of an outright massacre by Blackfeet Indians in Canada, in 20th Century Fox’s Susannah Of The Mounties, 1939, also starring Margaret Lockwood.
Susannah Of The Mounties (1939) - I'll Teach You To Waltz Shirley Temple (title character, survivor of a wagon-train massacre) helps Monty (Randolph Scott), her rescuer and Northwest Mounted Police officer, with dance technique, J. Farrell MacDonald accompanying, and Margaret Lockwood, the commander’s daughter, his object, in Susannah Of The Mounties, 1939.

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Susannah
Genre
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Jun 23, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Susannah, A Little Girl of the Mounties by Muriel Denison (New York, 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,105ft (9 reels)

Articles

Susannah of the Mounties -


Shirley Temple was undeniably one of the biggest stars of the 1930s, and that decade is, in many ways, the decade to which she will forever belong. In fact, her last box-office success with 20th Century-Fox, (and her last box-office hit in the lead) was the last movie she made in the '30s, Susannah of the Mounties, released in the final year of the decade, 1939. It was based on the popular book of the same name written by Muriel Denison and it was an attempt by the studio to cash in on another Temple hit the previous year, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, which was, of course, based on another popular book. Both films had Randolph Scott in the male lead and he and Temple proved to be a winning combination.

The story concerns a little girl, Susannah (Temple), who is the lone survivor of an attack on her wagon train by Native Americans. Taken in by the Canadian Mounties and cared for, she gets to know other Natives and befriends a young boy, Little Chief (Martin Good Rider). Eventually, she must use her knowledge of the indigenous ways she has learned from Little Chief to help her friend and protector, Monty (Randolph Scott). Along the way, the movie also manages to work in Margaret Lockwood as a love interest for Monty, as Lockwood's star was suddenly on the rise with The Lady Vanishes (1938) being such a big hit.

One of the interesting things about the movie is that in some of the roles, actual members of the Blackfoot tribe were used and one of them was Martin Good Rider, the boy who played Little Chief. Alas, most of the Native speaking roles were filled by white actors in red face, and like many movies of the period depicting Native Americans, the portrayals are often caricatures and certainly insensitive. Still, for its time, it's somewhat amazing that the movie portrays sincere friendship and trust between the two groups in regards to Temple's relationship with them.

Another interesting thing is that Temple and Rider became actual friends during the production. During Temple's child stardom years in Hollywood, she was, like so many other child stars, highly restricted in what she could do on and off the set. So restricted, in fact, that her guardians (and the studio too!) did not want her socializing with other child actors on the set. The thinking was that Temple might lose her focus or, in the worst-case scenario, she and her new friend might start making trouble together or become bored with the production process and just want to play. But by Susannah of the Mounties, it was a little different. Temple was 11 years old and an old hand at making movies. No longer the little five-year-old in need of constant direction and discipline, she was given a little more freedom.

By the end of the production, she and Martin took their friendship a notch higher with Temple making the members of the Blackfoot tribe on the set, honorary members of her Shirley Temple Police Force while she, in turn, was made an honorary member of the Blackfoot tribe and given the tribal name, Bright Shining Star.

Shirley Temple's star faded, it's true, but slowly. She continued on in the movies for a few more years and worked with ever bigger stars, like Claudette Colbert in Since You Went Away (1944) and Cary Grant in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947), but her mega-stardom was over. After her great one-two punch with Randolph Scott, the pair never worked together again and Scott became one the most successful Western actors in Hollywood. Temple formally retired in 1950 after a series of minor successes coupled with too many box-office flops. Susannah of the Mounties would be Temple's last great lead role and her last great hit, cementing her reputation as an icon of the '30s.

Director: William A. Seiter, Walter Lang Producers: Kenneth Macgowan, Darryl F. Zanuck Writing: Robert Ellis, Helen Logan (screen play) Fidel LaBarba and Walter Ferris (story) Music: R.H. Bassett, David Buttolph, Charles Maxwell Cinematography: Arthur C. Miller Editing: Robert Bischoff Art Direction: Richard Day, Albert Hogsett Set Decoration: Thomas Little Costume Design: Gwen Wakeling Cast: Shirley Temple (Susannah Sheldon), Randolph Scott (Monty - Inspector Angus Montague), Margaret Lockwood (Vicky Standing), Martin Good Rider (Little Chief), J. Farrell MacDonald (Pat O'Hannegan), Maurice Moscovitch (Chief Big Eagle), Moroni Olsen (Supt. Andrew Standing), Victor Jory (Wolf Pelt), Lester Matthews (Harlan Chambers), Leyland Hodgson (Randall)

By Greg Ferrara
Susannah Of The Mounties -

Susannah of the Mounties -

Shirley Temple was undeniably one of the biggest stars of the 1930s, and that decade is, in many ways, the decade to which she will forever belong. In fact, her last box-office success with 20th Century-Fox, (and her last box-office hit in the lead) was the last movie she made in the '30s, Susannah of the Mounties, released in the final year of the decade, 1939. It was based on the popular book of the same name written by Muriel Denison and it was an attempt by the studio to cash in on another Temple hit the previous year, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, which was, of course, based on another popular book. Both films had Randolph Scott in the male lead and he and Temple proved to be a winning combination. The story concerns a little girl, Susannah (Temple), who is the lone survivor of an attack on her wagon train by Native Americans. Taken in by the Canadian Mounties and cared for, she gets to know other Natives and befriends a young boy, Little Chief (Martin Good Rider). Eventually, she must use her knowledge of the indigenous ways she has learned from Little Chief to help her friend and protector, Monty (Randolph Scott). Along the way, the movie also manages to work in Margaret Lockwood as a love interest for Monty, as Lockwood's star was suddenly on the rise with The Lady Vanishes (1938) being such a big hit. One of the interesting things about the movie is that in some of the roles, actual members of the Blackfoot tribe were used and one of them was Martin Good Rider, the boy who played Little Chief. Alas, most of the Native speaking roles were filled by white actors in red face, and like many movies of the period depicting Native Americans, the portrayals are often caricatures and certainly insensitive. Still, for its time, it's somewhat amazing that the movie portrays sincere friendship and trust between the two groups in regards to Temple's relationship with them. Another interesting thing is that Temple and Rider became actual friends during the production. During Temple's child stardom years in Hollywood, she was, like so many other child stars, highly restricted in what she could do on and off the set. So restricted, in fact, that her guardians (and the studio too!) did not want her socializing with other child actors on the set. The thinking was that Temple might lose her focus or, in the worst-case scenario, she and her new friend might start making trouble together or become bored with the production process and just want to play. But by Susannah of the Mounties, it was a little different. Temple was 11 years old and an old hand at making movies. No longer the little five-year-old in need of constant direction and discipline, she was given a little more freedom. By the end of the production, she and Martin took their friendship a notch higher with Temple making the members of the Blackfoot tribe on the set, honorary members of her Shirley Temple Police Force while she, in turn, was made an honorary member of the Blackfoot tribe and given the tribal name, Bright Shining Star. Shirley Temple's star faded, it's true, but slowly. She continued on in the movies for a few more years and worked with ever bigger stars, like Claudette Colbert in Since You Went Away (1944) and Cary Grant in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947), but her mega-stardom was over. After her great one-two punch with Randolph Scott, the pair never worked together again and Scott became one the most successful Western actors in Hollywood. Temple formally retired in 1950 after a series of minor successes coupled with too many box-office flops. Susannah of the Mounties would be Temple's last great lead role and her last great hit, cementing her reputation as an icon of the '30s. Director: William A. Seiter, Walter Lang Producers: Kenneth Macgowan, Darryl F. Zanuck Writing: Robert Ellis, Helen Logan (screen play) Fidel LaBarba and Walter Ferris (story) Music: R.H. Bassett, David Buttolph, Charles Maxwell Cinematography: Arthur C. Miller Editing: Robert Bischoff Art Direction: Richard Day, Albert Hogsett Set Decoration: Thomas Little Costume Design: Gwen Wakeling Cast: Shirley Temple (Susannah Sheldon), Randolph Scott (Monty - Inspector Angus Montague), Margaret Lockwood (Vicky Standing), Martin Good Rider (Little Chief), J. Farrell MacDonald (Pat O'Hannegan), Maurice Moscovitch (Chief Big Eagle), Moroni Olsen (Supt. Andrew Standing), Victor Jory (Wolf Pelt), Lester Matthews (Harlan Chambers), Leyland Hodgson (Randall) By Greg Ferrara

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Susannah. According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Kenneth Earl and Larry Rhine worked on two separate treatments; Bess Meredyth worked with Earl on a first draft and continuity; and Rian James and Lieutenant Commander George Noville wrote a story outline for this film. According to a story conference contained in these files, Darryl F. Zanuck considered Walter Pidgeon, Donald Meek, Nicki Wood and Pauline Moore for roles in this film. A news item in Hollywood Reporter notes that Walter Lang was the original director of this film, but was replaced by William Seiter when he became ill with the flu. The Motion Picture Herald review adds that the picture featured Blackfoot Indians from the reservation in Montana.