That Hagen Girl

That Hagen Girl

Theatrical poster
Directed by Peter Godfrey
Produced by Alex Gottlieb
Written by Screenplay:
Charles Hoffman
Edith Kneipple Roberts
Starring Ronald Reagan
Shirley Temple
Rory Calhoun
Lois Maxwell
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography Karl Freund
Edited by David Weisbart
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • November 1, 1947 (1947-11-01)
Running time
83 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.5 million (US)[1]

That Hagen Girl is a 1947 American drama film directed by Peter Godfrey. The screenplay by Charles Hoffman was based on the novel by Edith Kneipple Roberts. The film focuses on small town teenage girl Mary Hagen (Shirley Temple) who gossips believe is the illegitimate daughter of former resident and lawyer Tom Bates (Ronald Reagan). Lois Maxwell received a Golden Globe award for her performance.


Mary Hagen is believed by town gossips to be the illegitimate daughter of Tom Bates, a former resident and lawyer. She is often treated badly. Bates moves back into town and begins a friendship with Hagen's favorite teacher Julia Kane (Maxwell). There are hints that Bates is the real father of Hagen, though it is later revealed that she was an orphan adopted by the Hagens. When the teacher leaves town, she suggests to Bates that he stop playing Hagen's father, as it has become clear that he is in love with her. The movie ends with Bates and Hagen boarding a train, presumably to get married.



Almost all prints of the film mysteriously disappeared from various film storage facilities and television stations as Ronald Reagan was becoming a prominent political figure. The film resurfaced in the 1990s with showings on Turner Classic Movies. Reagan considered it his least liked role.[2][3][4] In her autobiography, Temple confirms that Reagan apparently detested his role and that it was a very difficult period in his life. After multiple retakes of a scene in which Reagan's character rescues Temple's from a suicide attempt by jumping into a river during a storm, Reagan collapsed. He was hospitalized in Cedars of Lebanon Hospital with viral pneumonia.[5]

Critical reception

In one scene, Temple attempts suicide. A critic wrote that it was too bad the attempt failed.[6]

The New York Times thought the script amateurish and of Reagan and Temple wrote, "Ronald Reagan keeps as straight a face as he can while doing what must have struck him as the silliest job of his career [...] [b]ut it is poor, little put-upon Shirley who looks most ridiculous through it all. She acts with the mopish dejection of a school-child who has just been robbed of a two-scoop ice cream cone."[7]

The movie was included in the popular 1978 book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.[3]


Lois Maxwell earned a Golden Globe Award (Most Promising Newcomer: Female) for her performance in the film.[8]

See also


  1. Variety 7 January 1948
  2. "Biography: Hollywood Years". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation.
  3. 1 2 Medved, Harry; Dreyfuss, Randy (1978). The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (And How They Got That Way). New York: Popular Library. ISBN 0-445-04139-0.
  4. "Biography > Hollywood Years". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation.
  5. Temple Black, Shirley (1989), Child Star: An Autobiography, Warner Books, pp. 411–412, ISBN 0-446-35792-8
  6. Windeler, Robert (1992), The Films of Shirley Temple, Carol Publishing Group, p. 239
  7. Crowther, Bosley (1947-10-25), 'That Hagen Girl' with Shirley Temple at the Strand, The New York Times, retrieved 2009-10-15
  8. "Lois Maxwell, 80, an Actress Who Played in 14 'Bond' Films, Dies". The New York Times. 2007-10-01.
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