Captain January is a 1936 American musical comedy-drama film directed by David Butler. The screenplay by Sam Hellman, Gladys Lehman, and Harry Tugend is based on the story The Lighthouse at Cape Tempest by Laura E. Richards. The film stars Shirley Temple, Guy Kibbee, and Sara Haden in a story about a foundling pursued by a truant officer. The screenplay is based on the 1890 children's book Captain January by Laura E. Richards.
The film features a famous dance routine for Temple and Buddy Ebsen called “At the Codfish Ball”. The film was a remake of a 1924 version of the story starring Baby Peggy. In 2009, the film was available on videocassette and DVD in both black-and-white and computer-colorized versions.
Captain January was a hit, but an unpleasant relationship developed between the Temples and the studio, and film critic Graham Greene. Greene saw something of the coquette Temple had portrayed in the old Baby Burlesks shorts in the film and commented in a British magazine: "Shirley Temple acts and dances with immense vigour and assurance, but some of her popularity seems to rest on a coquetry […] and on an oddly precocious body as voluptuous in grey flannel as Dietrich’s." He described Captain January as “sentimental, a little depraved, with an appeal interestingly decadent." He visited Hollywood, met Temple at the studio, and retained his initial impression of the young actress.
In October 1937, Graham wrote in a British magazine that Shirley was a "complete totsy" and "[h]er admirers—middle-aged men and clergymen—respond to her dubious coquetry, to the sight of her well-shaped and desirable little body, packed with enormous vitality, only because the safety curtain of story and dialogue drops between their intelligence and their desire." The studio and Temple’s parents sued and won. The settlement was placed in a London trust until Temple was 21, at which time it was given to charity for the construction of a youth center in England.
In 2009, the film was available on both videocassette and DVD in the original black-and-white version and a computer-colorized version of the original. Some versions included theatrical trailers and other special features
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