20 user 3 critic

Spitfire (1934)

Passed | | Drama | 30 March 1934 (USA)
Mountain girl Trigger Hicks, a fierce loner equally handy with a rock or a prayer, is in danger of having her faith-healing mistaken for witchcraft by the neighbors. She shows a vulnerable ... See full summary »


John Cromwell


Lula Vollmer (from the play by), Jane Murfin (screen play) | 1 more credit »


Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In rural 1840's Scotland, Gavin Dishart arrives to become the new "little minister" of Thrums's Auld Licht church. He meets a mysterious young gypsy girl in the dens and to his horror ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, John Beal, Alan Hale
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Franz Roberti is a famous orchestra conductor who has a number of girlfriends. While talking with his old music teacher, Professor Thalma, he meets Constance, an aspiring music composer. ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Moeller
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Charles Boyer, John Beal
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A famous female flier and a member of Parliament drift into a potentially disastrous affair.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Colin Clive, Billie Burke
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A man, Hilary Fairfield returns home after fifteen years in a mental asylum. However, he finds things are not the way they were when he left.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: John Barrymore, Katharine Hepburn, Billie Burke
Morning Glory (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When a naively innocent, aspiring actress arrives on the Broadway scene, she is taken under the wing of several theater veterans who mentor her to ultimate success.

Director: Lowell Sherman
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Adolphe Menjou
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In the 1810s, an old maid poses as her own niece in order to teach her onetime beau a lesson.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Franchot Tone, Eric Blore
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The story revolves around Pamela, as a woman in late-1800's England who has no intention of marriage and wishes to be her own person. After a great deal of difficulty in finding a job, she ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Herbert Marshall, Elizabeth Allan
Alice Adams (1935)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The misadventures of two social-climbing women in small town America.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Fred MacMurray, Fred Stone
Dragon Seed (1944)
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The lives of a small Chinese village are turned Upside down when the Japanese invade it. And heroic young Chinese woman leads her fellow villagers in an uprising against Japanese Invaders.

Directors: Harold S. Bucquet, Jack Conway
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Walter Huston, Aline MacMahon
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When her father decides to flee to England, young Sylvia Scarlett must become Sylvester Scarlett and protect her father every step of the way, with the questionable help of plenty others.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Brian Aherne
Song of Love (1947)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Composer Robert Schumann struggles to compose his symphonies while his loving wife Clara offers her support. Also helping the Schumanns is their lifelong friend, composer Johannes Brahms.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Paul Henreid, Robert Walker
Without Love (1945)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In World War II Washington DC, Jamie Rowan, enters a loveless marriage with scientist Pat Jamieson and becomes his assistant. Struggles bring them closer together.

Director: Harold S. Bucquet
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball


Complete credited cast:
Katharine Hepburn ... Trigger Hicks
Robert Young ... John Stafford
Ralph Bellamy ... George Fleetwood
Martha Sleeper ... Eleanor Stafford
Louis Mason ... Bill Grayson
Sara Haden ... Etta Dawson (as Sarah Haden)
Virginia Howell ... Granny Raines
Sidney Toler ... Mr. Sawyer
Will Geer ... West Fry (as High Ghere)
John Beck John Beck ... Jake Hawkins
Therese Wittler Therese Wittler ... Mrs. Sawyer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Irene Rich ... Undetermined Role (scenes deleted)


Mountain girl Trigger Hicks, a fierce loner equally handy with a rock or a prayer, is in danger of having her faith-healing mistaken for witchcraft by the neighbors. She shows a vulnerable side when John Stafford, a philandering engineer working on a new dam, is attracted to her. Matters come to a head when Trigger "rescues" an abused baby from its parents, and seeks help from the engineers. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

engineer | dam | baby | witchcraft | prayer | See All (28) »






Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 March 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trigger See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Sara Haden. See more »


John Stafford: You trust me, don't you?
Trigger Hicks: Don't trust no man farther than a shotgun can hit.
John Stafford: Oh, you never loved a man, then, did you?
Trigger Hicks: Sure, I've loved a heap of 'em. The more I love 'em, the less I trust 'em.
See more »


Featured in Katharine Hepburn: All About Me (1993) See more »


At the Cross
(1885) (uncredited)
Music by Hugh Wilson from "Martyrdom" (1800)
Hymn by Isaac Watts (1707)
Refrain and arrangement by Ralph E. Hudson (1885)
Sung a cappella by Katharine Hepburn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Them Thar Hills
15 May 2016 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

SPITFIRE (RKO Radio Pictures, 1934), directed by John Cromwell, stars Katharine Hepburn in one of her most unusual movie roles, unusual by sense of her casting rather than its story. Following the pattern of playing a stage struck girl in MORNING GLORY (1933), for which she won the Academy Award, and going one better as Jo March to the screen adaptation to Louisa May Allcott's literary work of LITTLE WOMEN (1933), who would have imagined the now established Hepburn choosing for her next movie role as a mountain girl? Taken from the story, "Trigger" by Lula Vollmer, SPITFIRE could easily be a hillbilly caricature of Jo March due to her tomboyish nature, yet at the same time makes every effort presenting herself in a very believable manner down to her hillbilly spoken dialect.

Opening title: "Ignorance and superstition are not confined to any one locality. They stalk hand in hand all over the world flourishing, especially in isolated sections cut off from civilization. But, here in the backwoods countries sometimes we find a faith simple and strong enough to throw its lights even into civilization." Trigger Hicks (Katharine Hepburn) is introduced as a religious 18-year-old mountain girl who's peaceful one moment and speaks her mind with violent outbursts the next by throwing stones without hitting her target. She believes herself to be a mystic healer whose prayers can heal the sick and raise the dead. Close by to where she's living are John Stafford (Robert Young) and George Fleetwood (Ralph Bellamy), a couple of contract engineers for the Whitlock Construction Company working on a dam building project nearing completion. They each encounter Trigger Hicks and find her fascinating in nature. Trigger becomes slightly romantically involved with one of them, unaware the he's married. The basic premise, which takes up much of the film's second half, concerns Trigger taking it upon herself in abducting an infant belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Sawyer (Sidney Toler and Therese Wittler), believing she can cure this sickly baby who's near dying. The child does improve under her care, but is advised by Fleetwood to return it to its parents, which she does. After the return, the baby becomes weaker, and after its death, both parents and the neighboring crowd accuse her of witchcraft, resulting to verbal outbursts and casting stones. Will Trigger be able to prove otherwise?

Though there have been backwoods stories told on screen before dating back to the early days of motion pictures, with the rarely seen STARK LOVE (Paramount, 1927)immediately coming to mind with an authentic hillbilly cast rather than professional actors in the cast, makes one wonder how SPITFIRE might have turned out had it been produced that way instead? However, for the sake of box-office appeal, comes Katharine Hepburn, Robert Young (on loan from MGM) and Ralph Bellamy as the selected actors working together for the only time. Others in support are: Louis Mason (Bill Grayson); Martha Sleeper (Eleanor); Virginia Howell (Granny Raines); John Beck (Jake Hawkins); along with Bob Burns (billed as High Ghere) in the role of West Fry. In her first screen role, Sara (billed Sarah) Haden, nearly steals it with her believable performance as Etta Dawson, an ignorant hillbilly girl who gets on Trigger's nerves. Louis Mason is equally effective playing the rustic hayseed, also working on the dam project who stirs up Trigger by wanting to kiss her.

With the exception of the opening credits, SPITFIRE lacks any sort of mood music and underscoring, yet manages not to resemble an early 1929 talkie. It does, however, take some time getting the story going with character introduction and plot development to where the story is heading before leading to a resulting conclusion that's seems to pave way for a sequel which never occurs.

Formerly available on video cassette, SPITFIRE did have broadcasts on various cable networks as USA (1980s); American Movie Classics (prior to 2001); and Turner Classic Movies since 1994. Though rarely shown on New York City television since the 1960s, it was interesting getting to see SPITFIRE at one point dubbed in Spanish on the Spanish TV channel prior to 1973 on WNJU, Channel 47, Newark, New Jersey, before getting to know what the actors are actually saying when shown entirely in its original English with a couple of reruns on public television's WNET, Channel 13 (1977-78), in New York City.

Aside from other Hepburn's offbeat performances as a Chinese wife in DRAGON SEED (MGM, 1944), and a Russian in a Bob Hope comedy, THE IRON PETTICOAT (MGM, 1956), for SPITFIRE, this is Hepburn, a different Hepburn type performance, that dominates the proceedings in such a way that it's totally impossible not seeing this one through its entire 87 minutes, at least for Hepburn fans anyway. (***)

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed