Watch Stowaway

"She sings and speaks Chinese!"
  • Approved
  • 1936
  • 1 hr 27 min
  • 7.1  (1,468)

"Stowaway" is a heartwarming musical film from 1936 that stars the inimitable Shirley Temple, the darling of Depression-era cinema, alongside the charming Robert Young and the dazzling Alice Faye. As one of Shirley Temple's most memorable features, the film showcases her extraordinary talents as an actress, singer, and dancer, while offering audiences a touching storyline that combines drama, comedy, and a hint of adventure.

At the core of "Stowaway" is the story of an orphaned girl named Barbara 'Ching-Ching' Stewart, portrayed by the effervescent Shirley Temple. Ching-Ching finds herself stranded in exotic China after the tragic loss of her missionary parents. Transcending boundaries of culture and language with her endearing smile, she captivates the hearts of everyone around her with her innocence and vivacity.

Robert Young plays the role of Tommy Randall, an affluent and dashing playboy who is traveling the world. His life takes an unexpected turn when Ching-Ching enters it, and the unlikely pair form an instant bond. Young's character is further developed through his interactions with the charming Susan Parker, played by the talented Alice Faye, who brings a combination of wit and elegance to the screen. As an American entertainer touring the Orient, Susan becomes entangled in the unfolding events that draw the trio together in unforeseen ways.

Set against the backdrop of a turbulent China in the midst of civil unrest, the film portrays Ching-Ching's accidental journey aboard a luxury liner bound for the United States. As a stowaway discovered by the crew, she soon becomes the center of attention, her infectious charm working its magic on both passengers and crew members alike. Throughout the voyage, Ching-Ching's spontaneity brings joy and laughter to the travelers and helps to form a unique camaraderie amongst them.

The dynamics aboard the ship are skillfully navigated by director William A. Seiter, who manages to elicit naturalistic and endearing performances from the ensemble cast. The film also serves as a delightful vessel for Temple's signature song and dance routines, including the unforgettable number "You Gotta S-M-I-L-E to be H-A-P-P-Y," which further cements her status as an iconic figure of the silver screen.

Beyond the entertainment value, "Stowaway" addresses themes of belonging and the search for a place to call home. The characters, particularly Ching-Ching, grapple with their desire for connection and family, crafting a narrative that is both touching and relatable. As an orphan, Ching-Ching's quest to find security and love in an uncertain world resonates deeply with viewers and forms the emotional backbone of the film.

In terms of production value, "Stowaway" benefits from 20th Century Fox's investment in high-quality set designs, lavish costumes, and a level of attention to detail that brings the various locations to life. The depiction of China, though seen through a Hollywood lens of the time, provides an exotic setting that adds to the film's visual appeal. Combined with a tuneful score, the movie excels in creating a transporting cinematic experience.

The chemistry between Shirley Temple and Robert Young is one of the driving forces of the film. Temple's precociousness meshes perfectly with Young's suave yet grounded presence, resulting in many heartwarming scenes that capture the essence of their characters' unlikely friendship. Alice Faye's performance as a kind-hearted entertainer and potential love interest adds a layer of sophistication and romantic intrigue to the mix.

The film's narrative unfolds at a measured pace, ensuring that the audience is fully engaged with the characters' journey. Each plot development is handled with care, allowing for moments of humor and drama to naturally emerge from the interactions between the well-rounded protagonists.

"Stowaway" stands out as a quintessential Shirley Temple film that showcases her at the peak of her powers as a child star. It is a well-crafted tale that offers an engaging mix of music, emotion, and storytelling, all enveloped in the timeless appeal of its lead actors. Affectionately remembered as a classic of its time, the movie has endured through the years to remain a cherished piece of cinema history for audiences of all ages.

Stowaway is a 1936 adventure movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1.

Where to Watch Stowaway
Stowaway is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Stowaway for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 27 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (1,468)