Our Gang (1922) - News Poster

(1922)

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The Florida Project review – thrillingly vibrant

A child’s sense of wonder is at the heart of Sean Baker’s joyful story of people living on the impoverished fringes of Florida’s tourist traps

The title of this wonderfully humanist film from Tangerine director Sean Baker offers an ironic twist on the name under which Walt Disney first developed his “community of tomorrow” plans for the so-called Sunshine State. For Disney the “Florida project” was the utopian dream that blossomed into the money-spinning Walt Disney World. By contrast, the run-down motels of Baker’s summer-break drama are more like “projects” in the Us welfare-housing sense – home to low-income families living a hand-to-mouth existence, just beyond the boundaries of the upmarket tourist attractions.

Located in Kissimmee, which lies east of Eden on Route 192, these gaudily hued establishments have names like the Magic Castle and Futureland, evoking a dream of fun, fantasy and adventure that is jarringly at odds with harsh economic realities.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

22 Awards Contenders to See This Season, From ‘Wonderstruck’ to ‘Mudbound’

  • Indiewire
22 Awards Contenders to See This Season, From ‘Wonderstruck’ to ‘Mudbound’
All this week, IndieWire will be rolling out our annual Fall Preview, including the very best indie cinema has to offer, all the awards contenders you need to know about, and even blockbuster fare that seems poised to please the most discerning tastes, all with an eye towards introducing you to all the new movies you need to get through a jam-packed fall movie-going season. Check back every day for a new look at the best the season has to offer, and clear your schedule, because we’re going to fill it right up. Next up: contenders who will rule the awards season, well into next year.

“mother!” (September 15)

The return of Darren Aronofsky should be enough to get any cinephile back to the theater, but the fact that “mother!” has remained so secretive with just under a month to go has only made anticipation higher. Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem
See full article at Indiewire »

Richard DeNeut Dies: ‘Our Gang’ Actor, Photographer & Author Was 84

  • Deadline
Richard DeNeut Dies: ‘Our Gang’ Actor, Photographer & Author Was 84
Richard DeNeut, a child actor who notably appeared in Hal Roach’s Our Gang series in the 1930s and became a successful photojournalist covering entertainment as an adult died on Tuesday at 84 after suffering pneumonia, kidney disease and congestive heart failure. DeNeut was recruited when he was just 4 years old to join the Meglin Kiddies troupe of child actors, and soon after was cast in a minor role in the Our Gang comedy films, billed as Dickie De Nuet. He appeared in…
See full article at Deadline »

Jean Darling obituary

Child star of the Our Gang comedies who went on to perform as an adult in Broadway musicals and radio shows

The popularity of the long-running Our Gang series of comedy shorts (1922-44), created by the producer Hal Roach, which followed the adventures of a group of poor urban children, made unlikely film stars of its young cast. Jean Darling, who has died aged 93, joined Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Jackie Condon, Joe Cobb, Mary Ann Jackson, Bobby “Bonedust” Young, Bobby “Wheezer” Hutchins, Dinah the Mule and Pete the Pup for the second Our Gang series in 1926, when she was four years old. With her golden locks, she was often at the centre of storylines that involved the boys fighting over her. But Darling, who appeared in around 35 of the 20-minute silent shorts, was a tough cookie who avoided intentional cuteness.

The strength of the series (which was appropriately renamed Little Rascals
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Jean Darling obituary

Child star of the Our Gang comedies who went on to perform as an adult in Broadway musicals and radio shows

The popularity of the long-running Our Gang series of comedy shorts (1922-44), created by the producer Hal Roach, which followed the adventures of a group of poor urban children, made unlikely film stars of its young cast. Jean Darling, who has died aged 93, joined Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Jackie Condon, Joe Cobb, Mary Ann Jackson, Bobby “Bonedust” Young, Bobby “Wheezer” Hutchins, Dinah the Mule and Pete the Pup for the second Our Gang series in 1926, when she was four years old. With her golden locks, she was often at the centre of storylines that involved the boys fighting over her. But Darling, who appeared in around 35 of the 20-minute silent shorts, was a tough cookie who avoided intentional cuteness.

The strength of the series (which was appropriately renamed Little Rascals
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Silent Comedy Scholarship

If I had to choose an all-time favorite movie studio, it would be Hal Roach’s, where comedy was king in the 1920s and ‘30s. Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, Charley Chase, and Thelma Todd were among his brightest stars. They were surrounded by directors, writers, cameramen, prop men, and other specialists who knew comedy inside and out. Professor Richard L. Ward examined the business history of this enterprise in his 2006 book A History of the Hal Roach Studios, and decades ago William K. Everson wrote an eloquent monograph for the Museum of Modern Art on the movies themselves. Now, silent comedy expert Richard M. Roberts has undertaken the formidable task of exploring all...

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See full article at Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy »

A new Little Rascals movie will star one of the Toddlers & Tiaras girls, which sounds about right

Universal has announced plans to once again update The Little Rascals, the series of Hal Roach-produced Our Gang shorts that so lifted the spirits of the nation in the early 20th century with their hilarious, adorable exploitation of child labor. Fittingly, the only confirmed star as yet for this, the first revival of the franchise since Penelope Spheeris' 1994 film, is 7-year-old Eden Wood, who was whelped in the same Toddlers & Tiaras mill that produced Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Unfortunately, while Wood's own spinoff, Eden's World, similarly succeeded in providing the all-important schadenfreude that comes from watching ...
See full article at The AV Club »

St. Patrick's Day Photos

All good wishes for a happy St. Patrick’s Day from me—and two of the cutest Our Gang kids from the early-talkie period, Bobby “Wheezer” Hutchins and Mary Ann Jackson. The original caption from the 1929-30 season refers to them as “a couple of Micks.” Hard-working publicists at every studio in Hollywood hauled out the shamrocks for poses such as this on an annual basis—no less so at the comedy headquarters of producer (and Our Gang creator) Hal Roach, himself of Irish heritage. (In fact, there is a veteran Irish standup comedian who bears the same name.) My collection seems to be shy of other corny publicity shots to commemorate this March holiday,...

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See full article at Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy »

2012 Oscar Nominated Shorts Hit Theatres

With the the annual Oscars ceremonies occuring in a the next few weeks ( Febuary 26 to be exact ) we movie buffs may want to check out some of the nominated films prior to the many red carpet shows that day. For most of the big catagories, it’s just a matter of heading to the multiplex ( where films like The Artist are still playing ) or marching into your video store, finding a vending dispenser, or logging into movie rental site ( for films like The Help ). Yes, for the feature films it’s pretty simple. But what about those two mysterious short film catagories : live-action and animated ? For many years, their only real exposure was a very brief sequence ( a few seconds, really ) as each film’s title was announced by the presenters during the big telecast. This was not the case during Hollywood’s golden age. A night at the old Bijou ( or Majestic,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

‘The Mighty Ducks’ – A Slapstick Class Struggle With Heart

  • SoundOnSight
The Mighty Ducks

Directed by Stephen Herek

Written by Steven Brill

imdb, USA, 1992

-

To mark my guest appearance on Josh Speigel‘s Mousterpiece Cinema podcast to talk about The Mighty Ducks, I decided to jot down my own thoughts about the film, much as Josh did.

*****

I would never describe The Mighty Ducks as a great film, but it is an incredibly fun film and amazingly rewatchable. On initial viewing, it’s the comedy slapstick of the young hockey players that draws your attention, while it’s the relationship between arrogant lawyer turned hockey coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) and hockey team captain Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson) that keeps you watching. Follow-up viewing reveals how accurate and specific the film is in its hockey references and how important the class struggle is between the Ducks aka the working-class District Five hockey team and their arch-rivals the Hawks, the “cake-eaters
See full article at SoundOnSight »

The Forgotten: Oy!

  • MUBI
Following their invaluable collection Female Comedy Teams, Filmmuseum Munchen rescues another forgotten comedian from the ashes of history with two discs of Max Davidson Comedies, celebrating an ethnic comedian who churned out a slew of domestic two-reelers at Hal Roach studios during the late silent era.

He's a small man with a grizzled beard and a shock of salt-and-pepper hair. Circumstances frequently reduce him to a nightshirt, but he prefers an overcoat with a derby. Circumstances also conspire to throw his household into turmoil, to which Max will react by puckering his lips in a soundless "Oy!" while placing one hand to his cheek as if nursing an impacted molar. This expression, Max's "oy face," will appear with numbing regularity in every film. Occasionally, for variety, he puts both hands to both cheeks, achieving a Kubrickian symmetry.

Somewhat more funny than Max, whose range really is as limited as the above suggests,
See full article at MUBI »

Farewell To A Member Of Our Gang

Dorothy poses with "Uncle Bob" McGowan, the co-creator and primary director of Our Gang. My wife, and daughter and I have suffered a loss we’re going to notice every time we celebrate a birthday: we won’t be getting a phone call from Dorothy DeBorba or hear her sing “Happy Birthday to You” on our answering machine. She never forgot those occasions, and we were just three people on her (apparently) extensive birthday list. That’s the kind of sweet, generous person she was. Dorothy DeBorba Haberreiter was one of a dwindling group: veterans of Hal Roach’s beloved Our Gang comedies, known…
See full article at Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy »

De Borba Dies

  • WENN
De Borba Dies
Former child star Dorothy De Borba has died in a California hospital, aged 85.

The actress was five when she first played Dorothy in the Our Gang comedies in the 1930s. She appeared in 24 of the films, produced by Hal Roach.

De Borba ended her acting career not long after leaving Our Gang.

She died of emphysema on Wednesday.

Our Gang Cutie Rickert Dead At 82

  • WENN
Former child star-turned burlesque dancer Shirley Jean Rickert has died after a long illness. She was 82.

The Seattle, Washington native moved to Hollywood when she was four, after winning a home state baby beauty contest, and became a member of movie mogul Hal Roach's Our Gang troupe.

She starred in five Our Gang comedies before joining Mickey Rooney in five Mickey McGuire movies, in which she played Tomboy Taylor, and also teamed up with John Wayne in 1934 western 'Neath the Arizona Skies.

But her onscreen success was limited to largely small roles, and she quit to become a burlesque dancer after a series of uncredited dancing parts in movie musicals like Singin’ in the Rain.

Her stage name became Gilda and Her Crowning Glory and she enjoyed cult status in clubs throughout the 1950s.

She quit showbusiness altogether in 1959, apart from a stint as a sales director for a regional theatre in Massachusetts, and became a successful travelling saleswoman.

Rickert died in a New York nursing home last Friday.

Holiday DVD Picks

  • New York Post
The Post's Chief Film Critic Lou Lumenick presents 26 DVD Picks for the Holiday Season.

Columbia Pictures Best Picture Collection

Eleven complete features, with supplements, in an album showcasing "It Happened One Night,'' "On the Waterfront,'' "Lawrence of Arabia,'' "Kramer Vs. Kramer'' and 7 other multiple Oscar winners from the storied studio. (Sony, $136).

"The Little Rascals''

O-tay! All 88 sound "Our Gang'' comedies produced by Hal Roach, most restored, in their first authorized DVD collection. Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Darla and many other gifted child performers (including
See full article at New York Post »

Uncut Spanky? Oh-tay!

  • New York Post
Shorts running 10 to 20 minutes were regularly shown in theaters with feature films into the 1950s, when many of these series began turning up on television. One of the most popular was the "Our Gang" comedies, which were renamed "The Little Rascals" for TV because producer Hal Roach had sold the original name to MGM.

"The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection," out today, features all 80 sound titles that Roach made between 1929 and 1938.

At that point, MGM continued the series with another 52 shorts, mostly inferior and many starring
See full article at New York Post »

On DVD: "Times and Winds," "Chop Shop"

  • IFC
By Michael Atkinson

It's amazing to contemplate, but world cinema didn't really make serious feature films about children until after WWII; Vittorio De Sica's "Shoeshine" (1946) might've been the first. (You could stretch and consider Hal Roach's vivid and roughhewn "Our Gang" shorts as qualifying, and I wouldn't argue.) After the New Waves got rolling, of course, juveniles proliferated like rabbits on screen, but prior to that nearly the first half of cinema history had little or nothing to say about the bedeviled, often neglected, wide-eyed life of the pre-adult. Did cinema change with the war, or did we? Two new movies to DVD, Reha Erdem's "Times and Winds" (2006) and Ramin Bahrani's "Chop Shop" (2007), make their individual cases that little outside of the movie dynamic has changed at all, and that life as a 12-year-old in any corner of the globe is still subject to the grinding,
See full article at IFC »

CBS TV Distribution's Roger King dies

Roger King, the colorful television pioneer who brought Oprah Winfrey to national television, died Saturday at Boca Raton Community Hospital after suffering a stroke at his home the day before. He was 63.

Most recently CEO of CBS Television Distribution, King was one of the most accomplished salespeople in television. He transformed the family business his father founded in 1964, King World, into a production and syndication powerhouse that merged with CBS in 1999 in a deal worth more than $2.5 billion to King World.

Among his successful syndication launches are The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Wheel of Fortune, "Jeopardy!," Inside Edition and Rachael Ray.

King was regarded as one of the industry's liveliest and most generous characters who possessed an enthusiasm for his day-to-day work that endured long after he amassed great wealth.

In media interviews, King was known for refusing to censor himself, oftentimes ruffling feathers with his critical comments about everything from NATPE to his competitors' product.

In fact, King proved he could still toss a bombshell among his syndication brethren this fall when he decided to "sit out" the upcoming NATPE Conference & Exhibition, at which the company traditionally exhibited. The decision partially was due to the fact that Dr. Phil spin-off The Doctors -- which King was personally and actively selling to stations when he died -- already was widely cleared for a fall 2008 debut.

The NATPE news came as a shock to many who looked forward to King's annual dinner and party at the confab, a two-decades-long tradition that in years past featured performances by such artists as Elton John and the Eagles and one year included a surprise appearance by Winfrey.

At the time of his death, King oversaw all operations of CBS TV Distribution, which was formed in 2006, combining the assets of King World Prods., CBS Paramount Domestic Television, CBS Paramount International Television and CBS Consumer Products.

CBS declined comment on King's replacement as head of the division, whose senior executives include president/COOs Robert Madden and John Nogawski.

Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp., issued a statement saying: "Television has lost a legend; a truly original executive with an unparalleled combination of business acumen, passion and personality. CBS has lost a colleague and good friend. It's a very sad day for CBS and for all of broadcasting."

King was born in 1944 in New Jersey, one of Charles and Lucille King's six children. Charles King built his syndication business after acquiring rights to Hal Roach's Our Gang shorts, which King World repackaged and distributed as a half-hour series under the title The Little Rascals.

After his father died in 1972, Roger King -- who had worked as a newspaper sales representative, radio station manager, host of a local late-night movie show in Florida and television station sales manager -- and his siblings took over the family business.

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