Priscilla Williams, a young girl living with her widowed mother and paternal grandfather at the post he commands in northern India, becomes enamored of military life and embroiled in brewing rebellion against the crown in the early 1900's.
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Priscilla Williams is a young girl traveling with her mother, Joyce, to join her paternal grandfather, a British army colonel, at the post he commands in northern India. Upon arrival, they witness the capture of Khoda Khan, leader of the rebel Indian faction. Priscilla plays at being a soldier and is even given a uniform and allowed to drill by the genial Sergeant MacDuff, but her gruff grandfather disapproves and insists she remain apart from the troops. She eventually charms him, along with everyone else on the post, including Khoda Khan, whom she wins over by returning a talisman he's dropped. When the attractive Lieutenant Brandes deserts his post to take Joyce to a dance, Khan escapes, and Brandes is arrested. As hostilities with the rebels mount, Priscilla and servant Mohammet Dihn --actually an Indian spy--take off for Khoda Khan's stronghold.Written by
Shirley Temple disclosed in her autobiography that this was the only film she made in which she received an onscreen spanking, much to the chagrin of June Lang who played the spanker and feared that her career would suffer as a result of the audience seeing the popular Shirley being treated in this fashion. The scene was shot but cut from the final film. See more »
It's 1897. Widower Joyce Williams and her young daughter Priscilla (Shirley Temple) arrive in northern India to live with her hard-nosed and distant father-in-law Colonel Williams. They are met by Sergeant Donald MacDuff at the train station where rebel leader Khoda Khan is captured with a load of guns. MacDuff gives Priscilla the nickname private Winkie.
The pairing of Shirley Temple and director John Ford may seem oddly ill-fitting. In a way, America's darling and America's western director have their sincerity in common. They are both Hollywood professionals. While Shirley Temple does her comedic cuteness, Ford surrounds it with something slightly gritty. It's still an odd mixture but it's a fascinating mixture. It has Temple's supreme childlike optimism while maintaining shades of reality. Quite frankly, this could be her best 'film'.
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