Divorced Ethnologist John Parker loves his two boys, Al and Terry, and misses them terribly when they have to leave his archaeological dig at the end of the summer. While Al goes to ... See full summary »
Divorced Ethnologist John Parker loves his two boys, Al and Terry, and misses them terribly when they have to leave his archaeological dig at the end of the summer. While Al goes to military school, Terry returns home and learns that his mother, Grace, has married Dr. Phil Shumaker, a stable man who can provide the home that Grace never had with John. When John gets a note from Terry saying that Grace has married and he wishes he were dead, John decides to give up his work and go to his sons. He visits Al at military school first and asks his assistance in helping Terry to accept Phil as his new father. Though the terms of the divorce prevent John from seeing Terry at home, he takes a place near them and asks Al to keep in touch with him about Terry's progress. Though Phil tries to be a good father, he does not understand Terry and makes rules that are impossible for the child to follow. Written by
Jackie Cooper was the first of the 'BIG' Child-Stars of the post 'Silent' era. His training period was with the HAL ROACH STUDIOS and the LITTLE RASCAL's and broke into the 'big-time' with SKIPPY (1931) Paramount, see our review for details. Snatched up by M.G.M. he was their mainstay Child-Star from 1931>1936. Until upstaged first by Freddie Bartholomew, then Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Jackie's main sthick was to appeal endearing and 'cry on cue'.
DIVORCE IN THE FAMILY (1932) features a still topical story. The adjustment of the Children after their Parents divorce. The characters are represented by 'Fall' Lewis Stone's and 'Spring' Lois Wilson's divorce, 'Summer' Conrad Nagel is the new Husband and Step-Father. Jackie has trouble adjusting to the new situation. Older Brother Maurice Murphy, is more interested in his new 'main squeeze' Jean Parker then supporting Jackie. Misunderstandings abound, causing a crisis that nearly ends tragically for all. For details watch the Movie.
Now Nagel's character, a Doctor is a little stiff and unfamiliar with how to handle his new charges. Jackie though makes it impossible to sympathize with his character either. From their first meeting to almost the last reel he either acts irresponsibly or whines. Followed by a unusual amount of 'Cooper Tears'. Once or twice in a Picture is O.K. but NOT this much! After five (5) years the Public had wearied of this act and had moved on. The shelf life of a Child-Star was limited to how long they were 'cute'. After that it was change and/or grow-up. Either becoming a Adult-Actor or move on to something else.
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