After Southern belle Elizabeth Lloyd runs off to marry Yankee Jack Sherman, her father, a former Confederate colonel during the Civil War, vows to never speak to her again. Several years ... See full summary »
After Southern belle Elizabeth Lloyd runs off to marry Yankee Jack Sherman, her father, a former Confederate colonel during the Civil War, vows to never speak to her again. Several years pass and Elizabeth returns to her home town with her husband and young daughter. The little girl charms her crusty grandfather and tries to patch things up between him and her mother. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
Nyanza Potts was so nervous about acting with Shirley Temple that he often missed his cues and forgot his lines. Temple took him aside and helped him rehearse, and afterward, no longer nervous around her, Potts performed perfectly. See more »
Swazey's hand changes position on his leg as he sits when he meets Jack. See more »
Elizabeth Lloyd Sherman:
Oh the days are gone when beauty bright my heart's chain wove, / When my dream of life from morn 'till night was love still love. / New hope may bloom and days may come of milder, calmer beam, / But there's nothing half so sweet in life as love's young dream. / Oh there's nothing half so sweet in life as love's young dream.
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Another Shirley Classic -- Enjoyable but Overrated.
With all of her usual show-stealing spark, Shirley Temple delivers another fun family classic as Lloyd Sherman in "The Little Colonel." Proving yet again that there's no problem she can't solve, Shirley reconciles an old grudge between her young mother (played by Evelyn Venable) and her crusty southern grandfather (played by Lionel Barrymore), who disowned his daughter for marrying a Yankee. Shirley's classic tap dance up the staircase with Bojangles Robinson will remind all of her fans of what a true dancing prodigy she really was. And a few scenes later, her song "Love's Young Dream" will show you why her singing is not as well remembered as her dancing. Don't get me wrong: Shirley shines in fast, snappy songs, but her voice was not made for slow numbers like this one.
"The Little Colonel" is a nice family film, but except for the iconic staircase dance, there is little to distinguish it from most of Shirley's childhood flicks. The claim that this film smashed through racial barriers by placing Shirley Temple opposite African-American screen legends Bojangles Robinson and Hattie McDaniel is almost laughable. Rather, Robinson and McDaniel play complete racial stereotypes: Robinson is the clichéd childish, comical servant ("The stereotyped picture of gay song-singing cotton pickers," to quote Maya Angelou). Watch him stand idly by while Barrymore fusses and fumes at him, because he knows "the old colonel don't mean no harm." Meanwhile McDaniel is a Mammy figure, loyal, caring, and always glad to serve the white folks (McDaniel later won an Oscar for playing the same Mammy figure in "Gone With the Wind"). In her famous novel, "The Bluest Eye," Toni Morrison writes, "I hated Shirley. Not because she was cute, but because she danced with Bojangles, who was my friend, my uncle, my daddy, and who ought to have been soft-shoeing it and chuckling with me. Instead he was enjoying, sharing, giving a lovely dance thing with one of those little white girls whose socks never slid down under their heels."
But one cannot really expect better from a film made in 1935, when America was, unfortunately, still in the Dark Ages as far as African-Americans and their rights were concerned. Such clichéd roles were the only acting jobs available for African-Americans at the time, and so Robinson's and McDaniel's talents are largely untapped as their characters completely lack the depth given to white actors. For example, Lionel Barrymore's Colonel Lloyd has both positive and negative characteristics: He is a temperamental hothead who remains bitter over the Civil War, but he is also a southern gentleman who immediately brings his new neighbors a bouquet of flowers to welcome them.
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