Nicely filmed version of the Booth Tarkington novel, done with loads of charm. About a small town boy named Penrod and his adventures with his best pal/sidekick Sam - school scenes, a birthday party, touching scenes between Penrod and his dog Duke, the kids putting on a circus with Penrod as "ringmaster", and lots of stuff about the boys and their gang of kids who have this secret club - the In-Or-In lodge ("Independent Order of Infidelity" for those in the know) held in a shack in the neighboring vacant lot. This secret society's activities include some pretty brutal "initiations" for new members - of course, no girls allowed seems to be the policy too. One amusing scene features Penrod, having stolen his older sister's "love letter" to hand in for his school letter writing assignment, forced to read it aloud in front of the class as his own work. There is also a minor love interest for Penrod in the form of little Marjorie, a girl with a big case of "puppy love" when it comes to Penrod - he seems completely indifferent as he ends up in a sort of junior love triangle between him, the girl, and Sam.
I really enjoyed this film a lot - it's sentimental, yet funny and heartwrenching too. It is very nicely photographed with lots of sunshine and real small town houses and streets. The film seemed to me a sort of cross between "Our Gang" and "Andy Hardy" films. The child actors in this are all excellent - Leon Janney as Penrod gives a particularly likable and memorable performance here. Zasu Pitts and Johnny Arthur add some humor as the mother and effeminate father of Georgie, a boy who the kids don't like because, as one of them puts it "he's a big pansy". I also enjoyed seeing Elizabeth Patterson, later "Mrs. Trumbull" on "I Love Lucy", as the school teacher. I really found this film to be a delightful treat - highly recommended.
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