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Three Blind Mice (1938) Online

Three Blind Mice (1938) Online
Original Title :
Three Blind Mice
Genre :
Movie / Comedy
Year :
Directror :
William A. Seiter
Cast :
Loretta Young,Joel McCrea,David Niven
Writer :
Brown Holmes,Lynn Starling
Type :
Time :
1h 15min
Rating :
Three Blind Mice (1938) Online

Three sisters take their small inheritance and move from Kansas to California in search of rich husbands. To start with Pamela poses as a socialite and Moira and Elizabeth pretend to be her staff.
Complete credited cast:
Loretta Young Loretta Young - Pamela Charters
Joel McCrea Joel McCrea - Van Dam Smith
David Niven David Niven - Steve Harrington
Stuart Erwin Stuart Erwin - Mike Brophy
Marjorie Weaver Marjorie Weaver - Moira Charters
Pauline Moore Pauline Moore - Elizabeth Charters
Binnie Barnes Binnie Barnes - Miriam Harrington
Jane Darwell Jane Darwell - Mrs. Kilian
Leonid Kinskey Leonid Kinskey - Young Man
Spencer Charters Spencer Charters - Hendricks
Franklin Pangborn Franklin Pangborn - Clerk
Herbert Heywood Herbert Heywood - Workman (as Herb Heywood)

In June 1938, this film was shown on a double bill with Woman Against Woman (1938).

User reviews



All true romantic comedies have happy endings; otherwise they are not romantic comedies. If I'm not entertained or do not sense good chemistry and witty dialog in the first fifteen minutes, then I turn them off. Three Blind Mice was a last minute decision to DVR, but it was billed as a comedy and starred three of my favorite actors: Loretta Young, Joel McCrea, and David Niven. Surprisingly, I was hooked well before the fifteen minute mark.

I loved the elegant costuming, the plot, the signature dry humor of Joel McCrea, the suaveness and wittiness of David Niven, the twists along the way, the setting, the chivalry, the necessary scheming for this plot, and, especially, the supporting cast. A more classically comic actress might have suited Loretta Young's part, but her elegance made her character credible.

Next time you get a chance to see Three Blind Mice, give it a try. It was a pleasant way to spend 90 minutes. If you do not like these actors or the standard romantic comedy, then consider if this genre is really worth your time. Otherwise, I highly recommend it.


The plot of "Three Blind Mice" is a lot like that of "How To Marry A Millionaire", as both films have to do with women setting out with two partners to capture rich husbands. However, instead of three seeking out three rich men, in "Three Blind Mice" the three ladies are sisters and put all their hopes and energy on one sister--played by Loretta Young. One of the other sisters poses as her secretary and the third just hides.

The film begins with the sisters all deciding to take their small inheritance and pooling it. Then, they'll leave their farm in Kansas and head to where the millionaires are--California. There, Young meets two seemingly eligible rich men--played by David Niven and Joel McCrea. Unfortunately, however, the one she is smitten with (McCrea) turns out to be from a good family...but completely broke. And, coincidentally, he was interested in her because he thought SHE was rich. As for Loretta, wen she learns the truth, she's still quite willing to marry Joel...but he will have none of that. Later, when he reappears on the scene, it sure appears as if he's changed his mind. By the time it's all over, everything works out miraculously well--like in "How To Marry A Millionaire".

While this is a very pleasant little film, it is hard to truly love this movie--mostly because the three sisters are such mercenary ladies. Still, it's well-acted and pleasant fluff and good for a rainy day.


This comedy about three sisters who inherit a bit of money and use it to mount a gold-digging expedition is given a fairly glossy Fox handling. Yet, despite a cast that in a few years would be considered stellar for screwball comedy, it never quite gets off the ground. In fact, this looks like it is miscast, something that should have starred Janet Gaynor. Fox had dumped Miss Gaynor a couple of years earlier and used Loretta Young in the lead role. She lacks that adorability that makes you forgive her her trespasses.

Only Binnie Barnes, as David Niven's emphatic sister, really shines. Although director William Seiter was a dab hand at social comedy, he never really got a feel for out-and-out screwball, and this effort shows the gap.

If anything, this movie looks like Preston Sturges was so annoyed by it that he wrote the script for THE PALM BEACH STORY and cast this movie's lead, Joel McCrea in the lead.


Three Blind Mice (1938)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Slight and predictable romantic comedy about three sisters (Loretta Young, Marjorie Weaver, Pauline Moore) who inherit a small amount of money and head off to the big city to try and land rich husbands. Young believes in marrying for money and she gets her pick between a couple men (Joel McCrea, David Niven), although there might be some confusion about which one actually has all the money. Storywise there's really nothing too original here but the attractive cast makes it worth seeing even if you know every twist that the story is going to take. I think the film's biggest fault is that Niven's character is the one you like the most and Young's the one you like the least. This causes some problems because you really start to dislike Young as the screenplay allows her to do some rather ugly things and we really don't like to see them happening to Niven since he's the one we actually do care for. This was an issue I had throughout the film but towards the end the screenplay gets some sympathy thrown to Young that makes everything come together in the (predictable) end. The main reason to watch this film are for the performances, which are all pretty good. As usual, Young manages to be very charming as she has no problem pulling off her role and she has some great chemistry with her two leads. Both McCrea and Niven are extremely good as both men deliver a lot of great lines and the comic banter between them is very funny. Their comic timing is good enough to where they probably would have made for a good comic team. Moore also really caught my attention just for the amount of charm and cuteness that she brought to her role. The rest of the supporting players fill out their roles just fine. In the end, this here certainly isn't anything ground breaking and it's not going to end up on anyones greatest all-time list but if you're a fan of the three stars then it's pretty much a must see.


Some others may not classify this as a screwball romantic comedy. But, I do. Those of you familiar with 1953's "How to Marry a Millionaire" will note some striking similarities in plot. However, here, we have a team of 3 sisters working together to snare at least one wealthy husband. In the later film, we have 3 friends sharing an upscale apartment, each pursuing their own idea of a dream mate. This is actually the 3rd such film in which Loretta Young was one of the 3 sisters, the others being "Three Girls Lost",'31, and "Ladies in Love", '36. Besides the '53 version, there subsequently was "Moon Over Miami",'41, and "Three Little Girls in Blue", '46, with essentially the same plot.......Our 3 old maids don't seem to have any appropriate local prospects, so Pam(Loretta) suggests they make a trip to California(Santa Barbara) and check into an upscale hotel, using the $5870. they inherited from an aunt, to pay the train tickets and hotel room. They decide to have Pam masquerade as a wealthy socialite, with Moira(Marjorie Weaver) playing her maid, and Liz((Paulene Moore) playing her secretary. Steward Mike (Stuart Erwin) tells them about 2 single wealthy gentlemen staying in the hotel. They find Joel McCrea(Van Dam) and David Niven(Steve). together, and make their acquaintance. Seems like these 2 men were almost always found together, like perhaps they were a gay couple. Actually, we later find out that Van is a hanger on, being broke and deep in debt, by his own admission. In contrast, Steve is truly a wealthy man, with a large ranch not too far away. Pam has her choice of either of these, both looking for a wealthy wife. She takes up a friendship with Van. But when Van proposes, Pam confesses she's a phony as a wealthy society lady. Van confesses he is broke and deep in debt, so both were fooled by the other into thinking that the other was well off. So, they go their separate ways. .....SPOILER ALERT: THE REMAINDER OFTHIS REVIEW ......Now, the women concentrate on snaring bona fide wealthy Steve, who takes to Pam. Steve's sister(Binnie Barnes, as Miriam) meets Van at a restaurant bar, and takes to him. They even discuss the possibility of marriage. Van is luke warm to the idea, but still has the hots for PAM, while PAM and Steve plan marriage. Meanwhile, Moira and Mike(the steward) get cozy, and talk of marriage. Also, Liz and Steve have spent some time at his ranch, getting acquainted. ......Van walks into Pam's bedroom and says she loves him, not Steve. Pam hesitantly agrees. Then, Steve shows up and catches them kissing. They discuss their situation. Steve agrees to call the marriage off. Van once again asks Pam to marry him, and she agrees. Steve and Liz soon talk of marriage, while Mike and Moira sneak off and get married. Mike then surprises everyone with the news that he owns a large cattle ranch in Montana, and only came to California for a time, to sample the living there. So, the irony is that Pam, who originated the idea of vising California to find wealthy husbands, is the only one of the 3 who marries her poor true love. Moira thought she had married a poor man, but presumably was delighted when she found out that he was only masquerading...... Frank Pangborn, famous for playing nervous hotel clerks and other such functionaries, appeared briefly as the hotel front desk person. ... White haired Spencer Charters played the lawyer who settled the estate of the girl's aunt, and brought them a check for their inheritance. He was mobbed by the girls in anticipation.........The film is only 75 min. long, hence was used as a second feature. .....I generally enjoyed the film, despite the many disbelievable features of the screenplay, which you may consider overwhelming, if you take it too seriously.


OK, so this was made before "Moon Over Miami" (1941) and "Three Little Girls in Blue" (1946) and long before the final screen version (thus far), the much altered "How to Marry a Millionaire" (1953). There was even an early 1940's Broadway musical version of the familiar story of three small town sisters who take an inheritance, go someplace exclusively rich, and search for wealthy husbands while pretending to be heiresses themselves. At least one of them does, the other two her secretary and maid. Loretta Young grabs the lucky straw here (and she should, being the biggest star of the three actresses playing the sisters, the others being Marjorie Weaver and Pauline Lord. Joel McCrea and David Niven are Young's two suitors and Stuart Erwin the comic bellboy, so there's enough men to go around for each of the sisters.

While the musical versions (particularly "Moon Over Miami" with Betty Grable in the lead) are more famous, this original version is charming, yet since most people probably saw the other versions before this (as I did), it seems vacant without the songs. There's still enough to like whether it be the cameo by Franklin Pangborn as a sniffy hotel clerk (what other kind of hotel clerk would he be?), Jane Darwell as Niven's housekeeper and especially Binnie Barnes as his wacky sister. It is certainly ironic that the sister's lawyer is played by Spencer Charters, his real-life last name the same as his character's clients.


Darryl Zanuck certainly liked The Greeks Had A Word For Them. 20th Century Fox did four versions of this story of which Three Blind Mice was the second.

From roaring twenties flappers the three husband seeking girls are the proprietors of a chicken ranch on the Kansas plains and after getting a $5000.00+ inheritance they're off to Southern California to seek a rich husband. Loretta Young is given the lead so to speak as a rich débutante with Marjorie Weaver and Pauline Moore as secretary and maid. No particular reason for them to invest in Loretta as all three women are lookers. But Loretta's most sold on the idea.

After a fashion they get themselves involved with Joel McCrea has an impressive WASP name, but little cash. He's an excellent extra man for a dinner party though. He's got a friend in David Niven who is really rich and sights are set on him. But hanging around is Stu Erwin who is a bartender who has a dislike for whom he considers gold diggers.

Three Blind Mice is a pleasant and witty comedy very typical of the era when people still dressed for dinner. Of course in this situation that fourth remake that 20th Century Fox did was the best. It was nothing less than How To Marry A Millionaire.

Still this one holds its own quite nicely.