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Film / The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

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It's just weird seeing Shirley Temple this way.
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The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a 1947 comedy film directed by Irving Reis, starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Shirley Temple.

The premise? Teenaged Susan Turner (Temple) falls head over heels for an older man, Richard Nugent (Grant), an artist who gives a lecture at her school. After she sneaks into Richard's apartment and is discovered there and he finds himself facing criminal charges, Susan's older sister and guardian, Judge Margaret Turner (Loy), and uncle, court psychiatrist Dr. Matt Beemish (Ray Collins), make a deal with Richard: charges will be dropped if he dates Susan until her crush subsides.

This results in a series of hilarious incidents as Richard attempts to adjust to the ways of '40s teenagers while simultaneously trying to convince Susan he's not right for her. Adding further complications are Tommy Chamberlain (Rudy Vallee), an assistant D.A. with designs on Margaret, and Jerry White (Johnny Sands), the teenage boyfriend Susan dumped for Richard. Of course, at the end of the day, there's a happy ending.

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Won an Academy Award for best original screenplay, written by future romance novelist Sidney Sheldon.


This movie has examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Richard when he is caught wearing a robe, with a sexy 17-year-old girl in his apartment.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Richard, ordered to squire Susan around until she snaps out of her crush, tries talking sense to her after they come home from the high school basketball game.
    Richard: The basketball game was fun tonight, but it can't go on.
    Susan: Yes I know, the season's over next week.
  • Disappeared Dad: Coupled with Missing Mom, as no hint is given as to what happened to Margaret and Susan's parents.
  • Failure Montage: Susan strongarms Richard into participating in the picnic's sporting events, setting up a montage in which he fails miserably (often deliberately) at every event: falling over another competitor near the beginning of a sack race, getting so far out of sync with his partner in a three-legged race that they run sideways and fall over, and slipping just short of the finish line in a spoon-and-potato race and landing on (and mashing) his potato. It isn't until Susan bribes Jerry and some of his friends to sabotage the final obstacle course that Richard finally wins something.
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  • Jail Bait: 19-year-old Shirley Temple as the jail bait, no less, playing 17-year-old Susan. Almost nobody believes Richard when he tells them that the sexy high-school girl snuck into his apartment on her own hook and he made no advances. Really the only thing that saves this movie from Squick territory is that Richard clearly has no interest at all in Susan; from the very start, he actively tries to make her stop loving him, either by talking up her classmate and ex-boyfriend Jerry in the hope that they will get back together, or by behaving in as unsophisticated a manner as possible to smash her image of him as a Knight in Shining Armor.
  • Jail Bake: Susan sends Richard a very obvious file-in-cake.
  • The Judge: Margaret Turner.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Both Susan and Margaret visualize Richard literally dressed like this.
  • Mammy: The Turners have a standard-issue sassy black maid.
  • The Matchmaker:
    • Margaret's uncle is campaigning for her to get married, and he eventually sets his sights on Richard and steers the two of them together.
    • When Richard discovers that Susan has cast her classmate and would-be sweetheart, Jerry, aside for him, he realises how much more suited they are to each other than he is to Susan, and he tries to steer them back together when Susan drags him to a school basketball game.
  • Practically Different Generations: Despite the 22-year age difference between Loy and Temple, and the fact that in-story one's a judge and the other's a high-school student, they're sisters.
  • Precocious Crush: Susan for Richard.
  • Pretty in Mink: Margaret wears a mink stole when she and Richard confess their own feelings to each other.
  • Promotion to Parent: Margaret is Susan's legal guardian until she is 18; it's never made clear what happened to their parents, but they've either disappeared or died by the time the film begins.
  • Romantic False Lead: Jerry, the assistant DA, who clearly has no shot at winning Margaret's affections.
  • Shout-Out: When Susan corners Richard under the pretext of interviewing him for the school newspaper but actually to determine if he already has a wife or girlfriend, he sarcastically addresses her as "Miss Kilgallen", a reference to Voice of Broadway columnist (and eventual What's My Line? regular) Dorothy Kilgallen.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Susan is intoxicated by the suave older man, Richard.
  • Springtime for Hitler: When Richard joins the Turner family on a local picnic, he tries to break Susan's crush on him by behaving boorishly to Margaret and Susan's uncle and great-uncle, swapping his Cool Car for Jerry's clapped out jalopy and driving like a lunatic, and doing what he can to lose every race in which he participates. All to no avail; Susan is more in love with him than ever by the end of the day.
  • Suicide Pact: Richard tells Susan his parents carried out a double suicide pact when he was ten years old, but it's not clear if he's telling the truth or simply trying to get rid of her.
  • Who's on First?: As part of his "loutish" behavior on the day of the picnic, Richard adopts the persona of a fast-talking rogue and dazzles both Margaret's uncle and great-uncle with the "You remind me of a man" routine quoted below. When Richard and Margaret "coincidentally" end up on the same TWA flight to Chicago in the final scene, Margaret quotes the routine.
    Richard: You remind me of a man.
    Matt/Thaddeus: What man?
    Richard: The man with the power.
    Matt/Thaddeus: What power?
    Richard: The power of Hoodoo.
    Matt/Thaddeus: Who do?
    Richard: You do.
    Matt/Thaddeus: Do what?
    Richard: Remind me of a man.
    Matt/Thaddeus: What man?
    Richard: The man with the power.
    Matt/Thaddeus: What power?
    [and so on, and so on...]
  • You Remind Me of X: and so on, and so on...

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