A Kiss for Corliss (1949) - Shirley Temple's Last Comedy (to date)

Comedy Friday

A teenager becomes infatuated with an adult, much to her parents' chagrin.

A Kiss for Corliss (1949) is the sequel to a successful F. Hugh Herbert play-turned-film Kiss and Tell (1945) in which everyone mistakenly believes that Corliss Archer ( Shirley Temple) is pregnant by her boyfriend and wants them to marry quickly.

The sequel, Corliss (aka Almost a Bride), follows the title character as she lies that her crush on  sophisticated rake Kenneth Marquis ( David Niven) has advanced to an affair. The news gets around and everyone is anxious for the two to marry.

It plays like an extended episode of a mid-century television sitcom, replete with nosy neighbor, doting mother, doltish father and “aw shucks” boyfriend (Darryl Hickman).

It’s lightweight comedy, but Temple and Hickman are charming as irredeemably devious adolescents.


The plot involving an incorrigible teenaged girl who develops a crush on a sophisticated (and totally not interested) man is well-worn.
  • Deanna Durbin takes a stab at it in That Certain Age (1938) with Melvyn Douglas.
  • Shirley Temple had already played in another comedy with a similar story the year before Corliss - The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) with Cary Grant.
  • Jane Powell is hilarious in her MGM interpretation of it in Two Weeks with Love (1950) with Ricardo Montalban.
  • Gidget (1959) takes a turn in that direction as well between Sandra Dee and Cliff Robertson.
  • This is a less likely story device for more recent adolescent movies, so Hollywood has given the childish obsessions, accompanying mannerisms and juvenile clothing to adults. Notably, Sandra Bullock (who, in this film, is physically an adult but in every other way a teen) tries her hand at a similar plot in the comedy All About Steve (2009) with Bradley Cooper.


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