The gang is participating in a program sponsored by the Golden Age Dramatic League. They present their own fractured version of Quo Vadis? (1924). Things go from bad to worse when the ... See full summary »
Robert A. McGowan
Norman 'Chubby' Chaney,
Allen 'Farina' Hoskins,
Jack likes Mary Ann but doesn't know how to tell her; he gets advice from the neighborhood beat cop, Officer Kennedy, who tells him to be a cave man. That goes badly (Mary Ann whups him), so Kennedy suggests Jack go home, clean up, put on a suit, and bring her candy. While Jack's getting ready, Speck puts the moves on Mary Ann; when Jack comes back, he challenges Speck to a fight. Mary Ann, who reads romantic novels, suggests they fight a duel. With Chubby and Farina as their seconds, the knights errant don makeshift armor and have at it. Trouble is, Speck is good and has a very sharp sword. Will Jack live to tell the tale? Written by
Released in four versions with a different language spoken by the actors in each one: English, Spanish, French and German. The new dialogue was not dubbed in; instead, each scene was shot four times, one take for each language. This process was helped with the aid of language tutors, blackboards placed out of camera range with the phonetic dialogue written on them, and the hiring of foreign actors for the incidental roles. This process was also used in the Little Rascals shorts When the Wind Blows (1930) and A Tough Winter (1930). See more »
THE FIRST SEVEN YEARS wouldn't have worked as well with a musical score. Though the background silence is probably a sound equipment problem fluke rather than an artistic decision, it gives the illusion the onscreen events are actually happening. This might not have worked with most Rascal pictures, but it complements FIRST's natural, leisurely tone, with Jackie and his friends seeming more than ever like everyday kids. The story is interesting though, unlike certain OUR GANG sequences where it seems they probably did film whatever might be happening at the moment (and then forgot to edit it). I wish they'd tried this kind of thing more often.
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