Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Adventure in Baltimore (1949) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

ADVENTURE IN BALTIMORE (1949) is one of several Shirley Temple films released earlier this year by the Warner Archive.

I've previously reviewed two other Temple films released this year, KATHLEEN (1941) and HONEYMOON (1947). A few weeks ago I also reviewed an older Warner Archive release of Temple's THAT HAGEN GIRL (1947).

ADVENTURE IN BALTIMORE, which I first reviewed after watching it on TCM in 2010, is an enjoyable film starring Temple as Dinah Sheldon, a minister's daughter with a seemingly unlimited ability to start controversies or end up in awkward situations.

This film, set in 1905, ties in nicely with the Warner Archive's ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN (1941), which I reviewed two weeks ago; both films are period pieces about the struggles of a minister's family. They would make a wonderful double bill.

Dinah's father (Robert Young) is an Episcopal priest who is a possible candidate to serve as Bishop of Maryland...if his career can withstand Dinah's knack for getting in trouble! She's expelled from school, causes a scandal by painting her boyfriend Tom (John Agar) shirtless, and must be bailed out of jail not once but twice!

The film would be stronger if Dinah were held responsible when she's wrong, so she can better learn from her mistakes; she goes back on her word to Tom about his face being visible in the painting, and she also writes a speech which Tom should have written for himself. Her clueless behavior can be a bit wearying. In the end, though, I enjoy her just because she's Shirley Temple, and I especially like watching the films Temple made as a teenager and young woman.

Although it's not a perfect movie, there is also much to like, starting with Robert Young's warm portrayal of Dinah's father. Young is made up to look older than his 42 years, but it works. There are hints of his later FATHER KNOWS BEST persona in the calm, wise way he interacts with his children. Best of all, the scene where he and Dinah enter a waltz contest is so lovely it's worth seeing the film for that moment alone.

ADVENTURE IN BALTIMORE runs 89 minutes. It was directed by Richard Wallace and photographed by Robert De Grasse.

The supporting cast includes Josephine Hutchinson, Charles Kemper, Albert Sharpe, Carol Brannan, Johnny Sands, Patti Brady, and Gregory Marshall.

The Warner Archive DVD is a nice black and white print. The disc includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.

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