GenreComedy, Romance ProducerPandro S. Berman LanguageEnglish
WriterNorman Krasna (story) Release dateSeptember 21, 1934 (1934-09-21) CastMiriam Hopkins (Dorothy Hunter), Joel McCrea (Anthony Travers), Fay Wray (Sylvia Lockwood), Henry Stephenson (John Connors), Reginald Denny (Phillip Lockwood), Beryl Mercer (Maid) Similar moviesThe World Is Not Enough, Secretary, The Accidental Husband, Woman of the Year, A Place in the Sun, You Can't Take It with You
The Richest Girl in the World is a 1934 [post-Code/pre-Code] romantic comedy film directed by William A. Seiter and starring Miriam Hopkins and Joel McCrea. Norman Krasna was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Story. It was remade in 1944 as Bride by Mistake with Laraine Day and Alan Marshal.
When the Titanic sinks, infant Dorothy Hunter (Miriam Hopkins) is left an orphan. She is brought up by John Connors (Henry Stephenson), whose wife was also lost in the disaster. He goes to such great lengths to protect her privacy that, though she has grown into adulthood and acquired the title of the richest girl in the world, the newspapers do not have an up-to-date photograph of her. She returns to America, but her friend and secretary, Sylvia Lockwood (Fay Wray), impersonates her in a meeting with the managers of her fortune.
After seeing how happy Sylvia is with her new husband, Phillip (Reginald Denny), she broaches the topic of setting a wedding date with Donald (George Meeker), her longtime fiancé. He is forced to admit that he has fallen in love with someone else and was getting up the nerve to tell her. Since she is not the least bit in love, she congratulates him. However, it is too late to cancel the party in which she had planned to announce their wedding.
At the party, Dorothy and Sylvia continue pretending to be each other. Dorothy meets Anthony "Tony" Travers (Joel McCrea) and, after winning $60 from him playing billiards, takes a great liking to him. However, stung by Donald's confession that he was never sure he was attracted to her or her money, Dorothy decides to see if Tony would prefer her to the woman Tony thinks is her. She does all in her power to encourage him to court "Dorothy", even lending him money to do so. Connors warns her that she is being foolish, that no man could resist choosing such a seemingly wealthy and beautiful woman, but Dorothy is adamant. Sylvia and Phillip reluctantly play along.
Tony is invited to a weekend retreat. Connors, Sylvia, and Phillip arrive a day late, using the bad weather as an excuse to give Dorothy time alone with Tony (though there are plenty of servants at the mansion). By this point, Dorothy is deeply in love. Tony tells her how much he likes her, but then adds that the richest girl in the world "wouldn't have him anyway". Unable to bear being his second choice, she tells him that he would probably succeed if he proposed, so he does. Sylvia, having been forewarned by Dorothy, accepts him.
That night however, Tony sees Phillip sneaking into Sylvia's room. The next morning, he breaks the engagement. Dorothy claims that Phillip came into her bedroom, putting Tony to the ultimate test. When Phillip shows up for breakfast exceptionally pleased with himself, Tony punches him. Then, finally realizing who he really loves, he picks Dorothy up and carries her off to get married in spite of what he believes she did the night before.
Miriam Hopkins as Dorothy Hunter
Joel McCrea as Anthony "Tony" Travers
Fay Wray as Sylvia Lockwood
Henry Stephenson as Jonathan "John" Connors
Reginald Denny as Phillip Lockwood
Beryl Mercer as Marie, Dorothy's Maid
George Meeker as Donald
Wade Boteler as Jim Franey
Herbert Bunston as Dean Cavandish, Chief Trustee
Burr McIntosh as David Preston
Edgar Norton as Binkley, Dorothy's Butler
Pando Berman produced the film personally while being production head of RKO. He bought the script with his own money when Norman Krasna was being blackballed by Louis B. Mayer at MGM.