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This is one of the most charming and the best of the silent Our Gang
comedies. In this one, the Gang's resident cutie-pie Mary Kornman plays
a poor-little rich girl neglected by her mother and barely tolerated by
an evil governess. However, a poor immigrant family of dollmakers makes
some dolls that look like the male Our Gangers. Mary loves the dolls,
but then the real Gang boys come to her mansion-thus she thinks they've
come to life, and........well, see for yourself.
This is one of the most imaginative and charming of the seldom-seen silent Our Gangs. The scene with the dolls coming to life as the boys will make anyone smile, and Mary and the fellas amuse throughout. However, Politically correct modern viewers will groan at the scene where Mickey Daniels casually refers to the Italian-American dollmaker as a "wop." This minor slur aside, its a great film.
A great example of early, silent Rascals. Little lonely rich girl, Mary, gets a gift of four dolls. There's an amazing dream sequence where the dolls come to life and romp around Mary's bedroom-- these are some of the best special effects I've seen from the '20s. Mary must somehow retrieve the dolls after they are taken away by her evil governess. A four-year-old Farina steals the show in a hilarious scene with a collapsible top hat.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a very rare opportunity for drama, how roaches Our Gang becomes more serious in this tale of a lonely little girl, wealthy but unhappy. She is neglected by her mother, abused by the servants and basically left to her own misery. When a kind man gives her four little dolls, she dreams that they come to life as playmates, and predictably, they are members of the Our Gang family. Some pretty decent special effects are you allowed to make this one of the more interesting visual shorts of the series and as the adult sized children run around, the results are pretty spectacular. Later on, she meets their real life counterparts. There of course light- hearted moments, but this doesn't really be called a comedy. There are some moments where it literally becomes almost tragic, and it seems almost like a role that Mary Pickford might have played in a more detailed feature rather than an Our Gang short.
Mary Kornman, all of 10 years old, plays the title role in this really charming Our Gang short. She plays a precocious rich girl who is pretty much without friends. Her favorite person is the gardener. He gives her four dolls which are dolls of the members of Our Gang. After beginning to tell them a story, she falls asleep and they come to life. For the time, the special effects are very good. From there many things happen, but it all adds to up to a very charming film about friendship, wishes and hopes. Mary was only in films until age 25, and she was a beautiful girl and woman (she is in the later talkie "Fish Hooky") with Mickie Daniels, who is the freckle faced kid in this short. This is fun for all ages. Though its a silent film, kids will still like its imagery. Watch and enjoy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This Hal Roach comedy short, Mary, Queen of Tots, is the forty-first entry in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series. Mary is a poor little rich girl whose parents neglect her and is treated condescendingly by the governess. In fact, her only friend on the premises is the kindly gardener (played by Richard Daniels, "Our Gang" member Mickey's father). One day, the gardener buys some dolls and gives them to Mary. She is overjoyed at the gifts as she kisses him in appreciation. She later reads them some stories and as she sleeps, those dolls come to life (the split-screen effect is quite fascinating here). The governess then finds them and throws them in the trash. When she wakes up, Mary is distraught when she can't find the dolls but perks up when she sees a gang that looks like them and kisses them all except for Farina, who runs from her efforts. They coincidentally happen to be there to deliver her laundry at her house. Over there, they encounter a slippery rug, Farina has trouble with a top hat that keeps popping up and down, and, after turning on the radio (of which one of the performers is Laurel and Hardy regular James Finlayson) and hearing the phrase "Take Off Your Hat" loudly, they do just that. After the gardener retrieves the dolls from the trash and Mickey reveals they're models who get paid $1, Mary fools the governess who comes back with a cop in order to get rid of the gang but finds the dolls sitting under the table instead resulting in the cop taking the governess away and the gardener and gang having a good laugh...This is a wonderfully whimsy and sentimental "Our Gang" short that showcases the feminine charms of Mary Kornman. Some of the early laughs come from her as she accidentally puts mud she was playing with on her mother's face and then gets sprayed on by the family dog in the bathtub. If there was one disconcerting note here, it's when Mickey refers to the doll-maker as a wop. Otherwise, this was a most charming "Our Gang" entry. P.S. The stuffed dog that comes to life is obviously a man in a costume.
Mary, Queen of Tots (1925)
*** (out of 4)
Charming Our Gang short has Mary playing a rich girl who isn't allowed to have any real friends of her own. The gardener makes her four dolls and bases their appearance on the neighborhood kids, which just happen to be the Our Gang group. Mary goes to sleep and dreams that the dolls come to life and when she wakes up she begins to think she's still dreaming as the dolls are still alive (but this time the real kids). MARY, QUEEN OF TOTS doesn't have a great number of laughs but at least the film has a lot of heart and imagination. The more of these Our Gang shorts I see I'm starting to realize that the best ones feature an imagination and that's clearly the most important thing. I thought the "dream" sequence was without question the highlight of the film because the Our Gang kids are shown as miniatures and I was shocked to see how well the special effects were. The larger sets look extremely believable and I can't help but feel the studio spent a few extra dollars. Some of the gags don't work too well including one with the kids being scared by the radio. Others work fairly well including a sequence where the kids keep slipping on a "magic" rug.
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