16 user 6 critic

First a Girl (1935)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 31 December 1935 (USA)
Elizabeth dreams of being a music-hall singer. She gets to know Victor, that quite unexpectedly gets a female part in a music-hall number. He unfortunately finds himself voiceless, so, why wouldn't Elizabeth replace him in it?


Victor Saville


Marjorie Gaffney (scenario)


Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Aspiring singer Susanne takes over for ham actor Viktor at a small cabaret in Berlin where he works a woman impersonator and per chance she's discovered by an agent, who thinks that she ... See full summary »

Director: Reinhold Schünzel
Stars: Renate Müller, Hermann Thimig, Hilde Hildebrand
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Director: Karl Anton
Stars: Johanna von Koczian, Georg Thomalla, Johannes Heesters
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A working girl is menaced by her tyrannical employer.

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Warren William, Loretta Young, Wallace Ford
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Elaine Bradford is a young singer and dancer, looking for her big break. Peter Carlton is a gossip columnist facing a deadline and a blank page. So, Peter invents "Mrs. Smythe-Smythe", a ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Saville
Stars: Jessie Matthews, Robert Young, Sonnie Hale
Evergreen (1934)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Harriet Green, a beloved and radiant music hall star of the Edwardian era, has a guilty secret: She has a baby daughter, born out of wedlock. Harriet leaves her public and flees to South ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Saville
Stars: Jessie Matthews, Sonnie Hale, Betty Balfour
Sailing Along (1938)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Kay, who works on a Thames River barge, and Steve are secretly in love with each other but do their best to hide it. Kay wants desperately to be a music-hall star and Steve wants to be a ... See full summary »

Director: Sonnie Hale
Stars: Jessie Matthews, Barry MacKay, Jack Whiting
Certificate: Passed Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A veteran fights drug addiction to make his way in the business world.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Loretta Young, Richard Barthelmess, Aline MacMahon
Comedy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A struggling female soprano finds work playing a male female impersonator, but it complicates her personal life.

Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston
Victor/Victoria (TV Movie 1995)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A woman pretending to be a man impersonating a woman.

Directors: Matthew Diamond, Blake Edwards, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Julie Andrews, Tony Roberts, Michael Nouri
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During World War II, an American travels to Britain to sell an old house near London that belongs to his family. However, he meets Leslie Trimble who lives in the house and who is ... See full summary »

Directors: Edmund Goulding, Cedric Hardwicke, and 5 more credits »
Stars: George Kirby, Doreen Munroe, May Beatty
Biography | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The story of Johann Strauss the elder and younger.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Esmond Knight, Jessie Matthews
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

It is pouring with rain at one minute to midnight on Friday the thirteenth, and the driver of a London bus is peering through his blurred windshield as his vehicle sails down an empty road.... See full summary »

Director: Victor Saville
Stars: Jessie Matthews, Sonnie Hale, Muriel Aked


Complete credited cast:
Jessie Matthews ... Elizabeth
Sonnie Hale ... Victor
Anna Lee ... Princess
Griffith Jones ... Robert
Alfred Drayton ... Mc Lintock
Constance Godridge Constance Godridge ... Beryl
Eddie Gray Eddie Gray ... Goose Trainer
Martita Hunt ... Seraphina
Donald Stewart ... Singer


Elizabeth, a delivery girl, dreams of being a music-hall singer but she is refused at the first casting she takes part in. A bit depressed, she gets to know Victor, a would-be Shakespearean actor and another audition victim. When Victor quite unexpectedly gets a female part in a music-hall number he unfortunately finds himself voiceless. Why wouldn't Elizabeth replace him in it? His new friend hesitates but finally makes her debut as ... a man posing as a woman! She is noticed by McLintock, an influential talent agent who hires Mr. Victoria (Elizabeth's stage name) and launches his/her brilliant international career. One day, Robert, a handsome young man engaged to Princess Mironoff, makes friends with this young man posing as a woman posing as a man ... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Screen's Most Versatile Star in a Sparkling Comedy of Impersonation See more »


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

31 December 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mulher Antes de Tudo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (British Acoustic Sound Full-Range Recording System: at Shepherd's Bush London)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The long scarf worn prominently by Sonnie Hale during the early scenes had been knitted for him by Jessie Matthews on the set of her previous film, Evergreen (1934). See more »


Victor, the expert in Shakespeare quotes "Is love a tender thing? it is too rough, Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn. If love be rough with you, be rough with love" ending with "As You Like It" not the actual "Romeo and Juliet" from which the quote is taken. See more »


Victor: [to Robert] You have an unclean mind.
See more »


Remade as Victor Victoria (1982) See more »


Little Silkworm
Written by Maurice Sigler (as M. Sigler), Al Goodhart (as A. Goodhart) and Al Hoffman (as A.Hoffman)
Performed by Donald Stewart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"I've been father, mother, sister and brother to that girl..."
5 January 2009 | by Igenlode WordsmithSee all my reviews

This may not be among the greatest of the Jessie Matthews musicals -- dance and music are not always seamlessly integrated into the action -- but I remembered it fondly from the National Film Theatre's season of her work last year and was delighted to discover on recent re-viewing that it retained its charm on repeat performance.

Husband Sonnie Hale teams with Jessie Matthews to great effect, as Victor, the frustrated Shakespearian reduced to working the music halls as a female impersonator, bonds with 'Bill', the would-be song and dance girl who finds herself launched on an inadvertent male career after helping him out with his "Mr Victoria" act one night. As international success unexpectedly beckons, Victor persuades his reluctant new acquaintance to continue the masquerade with the promise that he will shield her constantly from exposure and will never let her down. And part of the charm of this film, as it skirts its way merrily along the censor's line without ever quite transgressing, is that they never do let each other down.

In a move that wrong-foots audience expectations, the odd couple duly fall inconveniently in love -- but not with each other. Predictable bickering and frustrations ensue, feet are put in it and bricks are dropped, and Victor's protective vigilance is sorely tested, but the two share the affectionate reliance of a true 'buddy movie' throughout, and it is this unquestioning trust that helps provide the film's warm-hearted appeal.

Despite its provocative subject matter, which resulted in severe cuts for American release (the constant focus on stratagems to conceal the heroine's true sex only serves to accentuate the issue of what is *not* being shown...), "First a Girl" has an oddly innocent generosity about it. It's one of those happy comedies that seems to take a genuinely sunny view of human nature, with disaster always foiled and characters revealing unexpected better selves. Nothing remotely titillating is ever actually disclosed, of course -- Victor's gallantly-turned back is our security for that -- but as in most cross-dressing cinema, one does have to tacitly presume a considerable degree of blindness on the part of the entire male cast if they can really confuse the girl in man's clothes for a boy, Eton crop or no Eton crop...

Jessie Matthews is, as ever, vivacious, talented and charismatic. As her co-star, Sonnie Hale comes near to stealing the show, with his open, likable persona and his cheerful willingness to be the butt of visual humour on screen, coupled with flashes of sincerity that make us care about the character as more than just a comic foil. Griffith Jones gives a fine performance yet again in the somewhat thankless role of handsome but secondary male lead (see also "Escape Me Never", "The Rake's Progress", "The Wicked Lady").

The dance numbers betray the somewhat cramped facilities available (the big production number at the end had to be filmed outdoors against a black night sky because there simply wasn't a sound stage big enough at the studio) and can feel somewhat gratuitously inserted -- I felt that the restaurant floor-show routine, in which Jessie Matthews doesn't even feature, outlasted its welcome in particular -- but the tunes stayed in my head for several days, and Miss Matthews performs with skill and an infectious gaiety that brings an unheralded smile to the viewer. "Evergreen" remains probably the best vehicle I've seen for her superb singing and dancing talents, coupling the comic potential of another masquerade scenario with more integrated musical performances and greater dramatic depth, but "First A Girl" still has great appeal.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 16 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

Recently Viewed