The Underpup


1h 28m 1939

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 1, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Underpup" by I. A. R. Wylie in Good Housekeeping (3 Oct 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

An essay on trees wins Pip-Emma Binns, a daughter of the New York tenements, a trip to the summer retreat of the Penguins, an exclusive girls's camp headed by the snobby Cecelia Layton and sponsored by the icy spinster Miss Thornton and her assistant, Priscilla Adams. Pip-Emma's eccentric family drives to the train station in their WPA truck to bid her farewell, thus alienating her from all the girls except Janet Cooper, who befriends Pip-Emma on the train to camp. At camp, Cecelia and Letty Lou become Pip-Emma's tormentors, but Priscilla and her boyfriend Denis, the camp's athletic director, become her allies. Although Pip-Emma tames the wild sons of Tolio, the camp's handyman, the camp itself is a disappointment to her because she must make her own bed and perform other chores that are part of her routine at home. The snootiness of the Penguins and their refusal to include her in their activities also add to the little girl's unhappiness. However, Pip-Emma melts the icy reserve of Miss Thornton, and when Cecelia and the others vote to send her home, the sponsor vetoes the order. Discovering that her friend Janet has an unhappy home life, Pip-Emma writes Grandpa to prevent the divorce of Janet's parents by telling them that their daughter is ill. The Coopers rush to the camp, where they are treated by the sight of Janet winning a swimming race, all due to Pip-Emma's coaching. Meanwhile, Cecelia's father arrives at camp in response to his daughter's charge that Pip-Emma is abusing her. At these accusations, Pip-Emma tearfully leaves the camp, but Grandpa forces her to return, and Mr. Layton, learning the truth about his daughter's behavour, gives Cecelia a well-deserved spanking. Pip-Emma is then accepted by the other girls as a full-fledged Penguin and awarded a uniform.

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 1, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Underpup" by I. A. R. Wylie in Good Housekeeping (3 Oct 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This picture was also reviewed as The Under-Pup. In the opening credits, Gloria Jean, who made her screen debut in this film, is pictured singing. Producer Joe Pasternak "discovered" Jean and was promoting her as the next Deanna Durbin (another of Pasternak's proteges). According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, Bruce Manning and Felix Jackson were originally assigned to write the screenplay for this picture, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Other news items in Hollywood Reporter add that the film was shot on location at Roos Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains and at Malibu Lake, CA. Universal borrowed Margaret Lindsay from Warners to appear in this picture. On April 15, 1940, the Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio version of this picture starring Gloria Jean and Robert Cummings.