review for Susannah of the Mounties on AllMovie

Susannah of the Mounties (1939)
by Craig Butler review

Shirley Temple was just about coming to the end of her "little girl" phase when she made Susannah of the Mounties, but she still has enough sparkle to make the film well worth watching for her fans and more than tolerable for those who don't have a natural inclination toward her kind of films. Granted, it's manipulative and sugarcoated, but perhaps not quite so much as one might expect. Temple, of course, is given several set pieces that in the context of the film are ludicrous but that are nonetheless entertaining. Do we really buy that she would be teaching Randolph Scott to tap dance? Of course not. But it's an engaging little sequence. Does the peace pipe scene play out as expected? Oh, yes, but Temple's still good at it. More problematic is that, though this film tries to promote a positive message on racial issues but also engages in some stereotypical humor that undercuts that message for modern audiences. Temple is always the star of any of her heyday films, but Scott does well and Margaret Lockwood is much better than the part calls for. Walter Lang and William Seiter's direction is crisp when needed and appropriately syrupy when the situation demands.