The Beloved Brat

The Beloved Brat is a 1938 American comedy-drama film directed by Arthur Lubin and starring Bonita Granville, Dolores Costello, and Donald Crisp.[1] The screenplay was written by Lawrence Kimble from an original story by Jean Negulesco.

The Beloved Brat
Directed byArthur Lubin
Written byLawrence Kimble
Story byJean Negulesco
StarringBonita Granville
Dolores Costello
Donald Crisp
Music byHoward Jackson
CinematographyGeorge Barnes
Edited byFrederick Richards
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • April 30, 1938 (1938-04-30)
Running time
62 minutes
CountryUnited States


Roberta Morgan has wealthy parents who give her plenty of material possessions but who basically ignore her. She acts out and torments the family butler Jenkins. The only person to take notice of her thirteenth birthday is her father's secretary, Williams.

She makes friends with a black boy, Pinkie White, and visits his home. She is impressed by the love Pinkie's mother, Mrs White, shows Pinkie and his sister Arabella. Roberta invites Pinkie to dinner to say thank you and Jenkins angrily throws out Pinkie.

Roberta's parents go away and Roberta starts behaving even more badly. Jenkins locks her in her room. She sets fire to it and escapes. Jenkins tracks her to Pinkie's house. On the way home in the car, they argue and Roberta grabs the steering wheel causing the car to swerve into an oncoming car and kill the driver.

Roberta tells the police that Jenkins was drinking and the butler is sentenced to prison for manslaughter. Guilt ridden she confesses that she made it up.

Roberta is sentenced to a special girls' school run by Helen Cosgrove. Helen manages to reform Roberta by getting her to help with younger students. When Roberta is allowed to return home, she refuses to leave. Her parents hear about this and change their ways.




The film was initially titled Too Much of Everything.[2] Dolores Costello signed in September 1937. It was her comeback picture for Warners.[3] In November the title was changed to Girls on Probation. Arthur Lubin directed in November 1937.[4] The title was finally changed to Beloved Brat in January 1938.[5]


Diabolique magazine in 2019 described it as "an entertaining star vehicle for Bonita Granville, playing a poor little rich girl who sets her room on fire, accidentally kills a motorist by grabbing the wheel of a speeding car, sends the racist family butler to prison for the crime by perjuring herself on the stand, is sent to reform school and… actually reforms... of cultural interest in that it shows a black mother character to be a far superior parent to Granville's parents, and Granville's best friend is a black boy." [6]


  1. ^ "THE SCREEN; ' Beloved Brat,' a Problem-Child Film, Opens at the Strand--'Flight Into Nowhere' at the Globe BELOVED BRAT, from a story by Jean Negulesco; screen play by Lawrence Kimble; directed by Arthur Lubin for Warner Brothers. At the Strand". The New York Times. May 2, 1938. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  2. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Nov 12, 1937). "MERVYN LEROY, FAMED FOR 'ANTHONY ADVERSE,' BECOMES M.-G.-M. PRODUCER: Illness Hits "Merrily We Live" Feature". Los Angeles Times. p. A11.
  3. ^ "FLASHES ON THE SCREEN". New York Times. Sep 19, 1937. p. 178.
  4. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Nov 20, 1937). "DOLORES COSTELLO TO PURSUE REVIVED STAR CAREER AT WARNERS: Ex-Telephone Girl Makes Good at Paramount". Los Angeles Times. p. 6.
  5. ^ "BATTLE OF BROADWAY CHOSEN AS FEATURE FOR VICTOR McLAGLEN". Los Angeles Times. Jan 25, 1938. p. 10.
  6. ^ Vagg, Stephen (14 September 2019). "The Cinema of Arthur Lubin". Diabolique Magazine.

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