Professor John Sylvestus Applegate has been dismissed from his college teaching position for objecting too loudly to the predominant part that football and other sports play in the ... See full summary »
Professor John Sylvestus Applegate has been dismissed from his college teaching position for objecting too loudly to the predominant part that football and other sports play in the curriculum, and soon finds himself dead broke when publishers show no interest in the dry material he brings to them. He meets a young boy, Laury and his mother, Sharon in the park and is quite taken with them. He gets a job-prospect letter, as a private tutor, and applies at once. His employer is Mr. Morley, a surly, sour, mean-tempered old man who informs John he is to act as a tutor for his grandson, who turns out to be Laury. Sharon, Morleys daughter had eloped against her father's wishes and was abandoned by her husband after Laury's birth. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This ultra-low budget quickie is actually quite good although it's clear that a good chunk of the action was missing from the version I saw (which ran about 50 minutes, while IMDb gives a running time of over an hour). The story is typical Hollywood hokum, designed to pull at the heartstrings of anyone with a nurturing nature. Crusty (but wealthy) old grandpa agrees to care for his daughter's son on the condition that she never darken his doorstep again. Fortunately for her, a mild-mannered teacher hired by Grandpa to teach the boy takes a shine to her. There must be an early scene in the film when these two meet, as later she admits to taking his wallet when they were sat on a bench in the park, but this wasn't in the version I saw. This being a film that has fallen into the public domain, I imagine there are countless versions floating around the internet and on cheap DVDs.
Little Dicky Moore is the little boy who's the focus of all the maternal angst, and he's quite good. He doesn't overact like Shirley Temple or Jackie Cooper, and he isn't so cute and lovable that you feel like you're having your emotions manipulated for cheap gain by cold-hearted movie directors. Perhaps this lack of cuteness explains why he never made it as big as Temple or Cooper.
What does stick in the memory about this film is a quite frankly mind-boggling sequence set in some kind of kiddie's café. The entertainment is provided by kids, one of whom is a little female tot, no older than four or five, dressed up to resemble Betty Boop who sings provocatively to her audience. Anyone trying to film a scene like that would probably find themselves up on all manner of charges today, but back then it was probably just a cute novelty with no ulterior motive on the part of the adults involved. Little Betty is followed by an equally young dance troupe who try to perform a Cossack dance with predictably but wholly unintentional hilarious results.
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