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If given the difficult task of choosing the very best of the Our Gang comedies "The Kid from Borneo" would certainly be in the running. In this short, Dickie, Dorothy, and Spanky mistake a wild-man from Borneo for their uncle George. This wild-man has a taste for candy, so when he sees Stymie snacking on candy he pursues the gang, shouting "Yum yum, eat 'em up" the whole way. Of course the gang thinks he wants to eat them. The highlight of this film has to be Spanky's kitchen encounter with the wild-man. The scene is proof that Spanky was a child actor of amazing comic ability. Some of his reactions are so subtle yet hilarious you would think he had spent years studying the great comic actors of the time.
This one is as un-PC as they come, but it is quite possibly the funniest Little Rascals short ever made. The kids mistake "the Wild Man from Borneo" for "Uncle George" and some of the lines and actions that follow are priceless. Spanky is the main Rascal in this one, but Stymie has the funniest bits. This would never be made today and I am surprised that it was made back then. A black man chasing white kids with a large knife seems odd for the time even though it was a comedy setting and we are told up front that the wild man wouldn't hurt a fly. What is so refreshing about this and other Little Rascal shorts is how innocent the kids seem. A far cry from the wise cracking kids today who always outsmart the adults. Do not miss this one.
Thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially the kitchen-refrigerator scene where the "Wildman" eats the eggs & everything else. Spanky is in high form. Hal Roach was a real genius. The ending could have been a little better, though. Would have liked to seen it run a little longer, as well. Although a little short thats what these were designed at. Personally do not see anything "Politically incorrect" about it. Folks are just too sensitive now days. See something wrong where nothing is. Movie is an accurate depiction of those times. Totally innocent & very entertaining fare. Especially interesting is the historical perspective - carnival sideshows & living conditions during that time.
An OUR GANG Comedy Short.
Uncle George comes to town, bringing the Wild Man he's brought with him from Borneo. When the Gang goes to visit, Stymie's candy awakens the savage within him (`Yum-Yum! Eat em up!') and he chases them all back to and through Spanky's house.
A very funny film - lots of wild slapstick here - but the sight of the drunken fellow pursuing little kids with a big knife is a bit unsettling. Highlight: Spanky feeding the Wild Man. Query: why does the film treat Spanky's Mom so harshly at the end? That's John Lester Johnson as the Wild Man.
Millions of children howled with delight when they saw this film on television in the 50's, and its just as funny today! Although there is arguably a subtle anti-miscegenation message here-what would happen if white children actually had a black uncle?-you must understand that sex, not race, was the taboo topic then, and 1930's audiences would have thought this perfectly appropriate comic fare, but would have been shocked and offended by what we would regard as the mildest of sexual innuendo found in current comedies! Children, however, are impressed by the madcap frenetic pace of the film, and the musical score that matches the action so perfectly-it is a work of true artistry in this regard. Most of the best Our Gang comedies have a racial theme-check out "Little Sinner" or"A Lad and a Lamp", for example. The comedy is nonetheless excellent-it's a marvel that they did so well on such a small budget. Anyone who can't appreciate these films is wound a little too tightly.
I remember seeing the original Our Gang Comedies (the silent films) on television in the Fifties. Joe Cobb, the little fat kid, was the leader at that time just as Spanky MacFarland became in the Thirties. Mary Kornman was a pretty little blonde girl who preceded Darla Hood as the sweetheart of the gang. Freckled faced Mickey Daniels was Alfalfa's predecessor and Farina was the only black child in the gang. Later would come Stymie and Buckwheat. The gang used to build soap box derby cars that would actually run and they had their own clubhouse. I think it was the inventiveness of the kids that actually appealed to the kids in the Fifties. How many of them had actually built a soapbox car with wheels that they took off the Irish Mail (Say What, it was an early scooter) or their sister's baby carriage. If their father was watching with them, perhaps he would recall building something like this as kids did back then. They had tree houses or club houses with signs that said "No Girls Allowed." Remember the Women Haters Club that Spanky started and Alfalfa couldn't join because Darla talked him out of it. That is what made the series cute and entertaining. The politically correct critics always look at everything in a modern sense. The stereotype was not meant to be mean, just a reflection of the times.
this is one funny movie. the politically correct pseudo-intellectuals (the same ones that set OJ free) have succeeded in robbing the future movie-lovers of this rich and universal humor. those who see "inflammatory racial content" in this funny show indicate both how shallow (read "non-existent") their understanding is and that they are card-carrying members of trendy tree-house clubs like the NEA, NAACP, AARP, and lack the brain power to handle a light switch. fortunately, there is a strong growing movement against the "government by what People Magazine wants." Folks are being reminded of just who and what twanna brawley was and is and how she made the monkeys look like true simians. Racial content is one thing -- stupidity by censorship of the idiot is another.
The gang goes to a circus sideshow to visit Dickie and Spanky's uncle
George, mistakenly believing he is "The Wild Man from Borneo."
I watched this as part of a Super-8 movie event, so the version I watched may have had a few minutes clipped from the film (though with the full film being eighteen minutes, I doubt very much was removed).
There were some good jokes that stood the test of time, and got me cracking up. There is some issues with racial content, but honestly not as bad as you might think (at least what I saw). By no means did I get the impression that everyone from Borneo was a cannibal or wild. This is not really any more or less racist than anything else coming out in the 1930s.
The best part is definitely when the younger kid (Spanky?) is feeding the wild man from the pantry. While obviously edited, it is amusing to see the bottomless pit that is the cannibal's stomach.
For me the "Our Gang" shorts of this era were far superior to "Little
Rascals" MGM episodes of the late 30's & early 40's. "The Kid From
Borneo" AKA-Uncle George, who Spanky's father referenced as "the black
sheep of the family" is an absolutely hysterical episode, as Spanky and
Dicky are mistakenly convinced that Bumbo, the wild man of the circus,
is indeed their uncle!
Spanky McFarland was, hands down, the best kid comedic actor of all time. His scene with Bumbo in the kitchen, when Spanky is offering food from the icebox to Bumbo (which includes eggs, shell & all, tabasco, vinegar, wine, a hunk of bolongna and about 2 dozen wienies) is priceless Bumbo continues to shove it in, to Spanky's amazement. A wonderful chase scene throughout the house, Stymie as always is a riot as a drunken Bumbo chases the kids with a knife, yelling "yum, yum, eat em up!" Throw in the rest of the gang, plus Petey the Pup and the wonderful musical score they had in the episodes from this period and this might be the funniest episode in the series! Totally un-PC!!!
This Hal Roach comedy short, The Kid from Borneo, is the one hundred twenty-second in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series and the thirty-fourth talkie. In this one, the uncle of Spanky, Dickie, and Dorothy is supposed to come to town with a traveling sideshow. The mother is anxious to see him again but the father, not so much. The gang ends up going to the place the show's at but they miss him and sees this child-like man who loves candy but is mistaken for Spanky's uncle and also a cannibal...Okay, the fact that the "uncle" is black and primitive in characterization may give one pause watching today but otherwise, this was one of the most hilarious shorts in the series yet especially when Spanky and Stymie are involved! So on that note, I highly recommend The Kid from Borneo. P.S. This was Tommy Bond's second appearance in the series but the first in which he has lines.
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