Once upon a Time (1944) - Rotten Tomatoes

Once upon a Time1944

Once upon a Time (1944)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Once upon a Time Photos

Movie Info

Based on Norman Corwin's satirical radio play My Client Curley, Once Upon a Time is an engaging bit of whimsy, completely dominated by the personality of star Cary Grant. It all begins when fly-by-night Broadway producer Jerry Flynn (Grant) learns of a trained caterpillar (!) that dances to the tune of "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby." In short order, Jerry has promoted Curly the Caterpillar to international stardom-and in the process he alienates both Pinky Thompson (Ted Donaldson), the impressionable 9-year-old who owns Curley, and Pinky's attractive older sister Jeanne (Janet Blair). Eventually, Flynn comes to his senses and regains his essential decency-though it's too late to continue capitalizing on Curley, who has turned into a non-dancing butterfly! Full of delightful contemporary references and "cameo appearances" by such celebrities as producer Walt Disney and radio commentator Gabriel Heatter (both played by uncredited impressionists), Once Upon a Time proved an agreeable diversion for wartime audiences.

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Ted Donaldson
as Pinky Thompson
Cary Grant
as Jerry Flynn
Janet Blair
as Jeannie Thompson
James Gleason
as "The Moke"
Art Baker
as Gabriel Heatter
Paul Stanton
as Dunhill
Cliff Clark
as Radio Cop
Emory Parnell
as Radio Cop
Torben Meyer
as Hotel Manager
William Austin
as Assistant Hotel Manager
Nolan Leary
as Elevator Man
John Abbott
as Reporter
Ian Wolfe
as Reporter
Jack Lee
as Reporter
Charles Arnt
as Reporter
Don Barclay
as Photographer
Fred Howard
as Photographer
Vaughan Glaser
as Scientist
Erwin Kalser
as Scientist
Lucille Browne
as Miss Flemmin
Anne Loos
as Secretary
Mary Currier
as Secretary
Harrison Greene
as Business Man
George Anderson
as Business Man
John Dilson
as Business Man
James Flavin
as Business Man
Emmett Vogan
as Business Man
Vernon Dent
as Business Man
Nelroy Ashley
as Business Woman
Frederic Howard
as Photographer
Robert B. Williams
as Stage Manager
Vi Athens
as Chorus Girl
Marilyn Johnson
as Chorus Girl
Sybil Merritt
as Chorus Girl
June Millarde
as Chorus Girl
Thelma Joel
as Chorus Girl
Lionel Braham
as Weight Lifter
Joseph J. Greene
as Rajah Pirate
Murray Alper
as Soldier
Tom Kennedy
as Truckman
John Kelly
as Truckman
Pierre Watkin
as Radio Stage Manager
Alan Stone
as Radio Technician
Phyllis Kennedy
as Telephone Operator
Sandra Coles
as Telephone Operator
Eula Guy
as Telephone Operator
Grace Lenard
as Telephone Operator
Pauline Drake
as Telephone Operator
Syd Saylor
as Shipyard Worker
Tom Dugan
as Police Announcer
George Tyne
as Jitterbug
Jeff Donnell
as Brooklyn Girl
Fern Emmett
as Teacher Type
Ida Moore
as Gossipy Woman
Mary Field
as Taxi Girl
Barbara Pepper
as Taxi Girl
William Yip
as Chinese Man
Jing Lim
as Chinese Man
Ruth Warren
as Fatso's Mother
Ray Teal
as Shipyard Worker
Eddie Acuff
as Shipyard Worker
Charles Coleman
as English Bobby
Leonard Carey
as English Bobby
Walter Pietila
as Trapeze Artist
George Bruggeman
as Trapeze Artist
Eddie Hall
as Bike Rider
Frank S. Hagney
as Assistant Cyclist
Clyde Fillmore
as FBI Executive
Kirk Alyn
as Attendant
Walter Fenner
as Walt Disney Double
Bill Chaney
as Call Boy
Jack Norton
as Customer
George N. Neise
as Lieutenant
Robert Lowell
as Lieutenant
Gary Bruce
as Technical Sergeant
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Critic Reviews for Once upon a Time

All Critics (3)

Although drawn too fine, it has moments of human interest and gives Mr. Grant a full role.

November 23, 2020 | Full Review…

The movie is delicious. [Full review in Spanish]

September 17, 2019 | Full Review…

Why any creature, let along a caterpillar, would be able to find any rhythm in Pinky's spastic, asthmatic [harmonica] playing is beyond me.

October 15, 2003 | Rating: .5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Once upon a Time


This kind of reminded me of the dancing frog cartoon from looney tunes, but not as good, I mean it's a caterpillar for goodness sakes! That's just silly. The movie isn't bad otherwise, though, the actors are good, and the story could be really good if not for that silly caterpillar.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Deservedly obscure Cary Grant film, paper thin and borderline idiotic about a dancing caterpillar! The lead kid could not be more noxious and Grant gives, for him, a remarkably arch performance, mugging shamelessly often. He must have realized what a dog this was, forced to do it under contract and figured that over reacting and turning on the goo might save this dreck. Janet Blair is incredibly lovely but given very little to do.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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