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A little girl named Alpha (Margaret O'Brien) looks like a typical six-year-old. But to the professors at Pickering Institute of Child Psychology, she's an experiment: an orphan raised in isolation to be a genius. After breezy New York newsman Mike Regan (James Craig) interviews the prodigy and gets her thinking about life beyond ivy-clad walls, Alpha flees her lonely institutional "home" for adventure. The enterprising tot tracks Mike to a boxing match and soon gets involved with his job (covering a prison break), his love life (with a pretty nightclub nightingale) and – maybe – is future, if the irresponsible Mike ever realizes that what this lost angel needs is a great new dad. A year after her breakthrough role in Journey for Margaret, O'Brien "acts with the authority of a pint-sized Garbo" (John Douglas Eames, The MGM Story) in a sweet, savvy comedy all about discovering that the world is a mighty magical place.
Ava Gardner is Uncredited as "The Hat Check Girl."