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Phoebe Throssel
Dr. Valentine Brown
Susan Throssel
Mary Willoughby
Henriette Turnbull
Fanny Willoughby
William Smith
Ensign Blades
Charlotte Parratt
Lieutenant Spicer


Screenplay by

Based on the play by
Director of Photography
Art Direction by
Set Decorator
Film Editing by
Sound Recordist
Musical Score
Costume Design by
Makeup Artist
Assistant Director

Katharine Hepburn
Franchot Tone
Fay Bainter
Eric Blore
Cora Witherspoon
Estelle Winwood
Florence Lake
Helena Grant
Bonita Granville
Clifford Severn
Sherwood Bailey
Roland Verno
Joan Fontaine
William Bakewell
York Sherwood
Carmencita Johnson


George Stevens
Pandro S. Berman
Mortimer Offner,
Allan Scott
Sir James M. Barrie
Robert De Grasse
Van Nest Polglase
Darrell Silvera
Henry Berman
Clem Portman
Roy Webb
Marurice De Packh
Walter Plunkett
Mel Burns
Argyle Nelson


Film data

RKO Radio Pictures
83 minutes
Reels: 9
Produced: September 25-November 24, 1936
Filmed also at Malibu Lake - California - USA

Premiere: March 27, 1937


Phoebe Throssel, whose beau Dr. Valentine Brown courts her but never quite gets around to proposing, is startled by his sudden departure for the Napoleonic wars. He is gone for ten long years, during which time Phoebe and her sister Susan turned their home into a school and themselves into old-mail schoolteachers. Upon his return in 1950, Captain Brown fails to recognize his former sweetheart, whose bloom of youth is somewhat faded. To win him back and get a dash of sweet revenge she masquerades as the flirtatious Livy, her own nonexistent niece.

Critics' reviews

Variety - 1937
"Three short years ago Katharine Hepburn rocketed to screen heights, but a succession of unfortunate selections of material has marooned a competent girl in a bog of box office frustration. There probably is no one in pictures who needs a real money film as much as this actress."

Eileen Creelman, New York Sun 1936
"Mr. Cukor's theatrical direction and the star's artificial performances are among other unpleasant problems of the day. Miss Hepburn destroys her usual striking good looks by chopping off her hair and wearing highly unbecoming masculine garb, in which she still glides instead of walking, she makes a most unconvincing boy. The picture is a tragic waste of time and screen talent."

Archer Winston New York Post - 1937
"It's a play depending for its sweet and mild humor upon quaint customs of the past, and for its drama upon romance taken from a scented album. Miss Hepburn does this sort of thing so well that she seems to belong in it.... Speaking for myself, I am beginning to be a little tired of seeing Miss Hepburn in such roles and I see no reason why the public shouldn't begin to tire also."

What Kate had to say

In treatment

What fellow actors, the director and friends had to say

George Stevens
"She became precious, and preciousness was always her weakness. I should have helped her away from that, and I wasn't strong enough. Quality Street was a precious play, anyway, full of precious people, and that infected her; I myself didn't have sufficient familiarity with the British background to save her."

Joan Fontaine Interveiw with John Kobal - 1968
"Glorious cheekbones, and such style. I not only worked with her, I owe my career to her. I had a small part in Quality Street and, unbeknownst to me, she went to one of the producers on the RKO lot and said, 'Give that girl a lead in a B picture. I think perhaps you've got something there.' And indeed it was through her that I got the first recognition on the lot as an actress. Because I was still a starlet. Oh, she is marvelous. Every day she would bring a picnic lunch for the entire company. That's where I picked it up, bringing the coffee with me for the cast when we're rehearsing. She always does that. She was a real housemother."

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