Shirley Temple's father, a rebel officer, sneaks back to his rundown plantation to see his family and is arrested. A Yankee takes pity and sets up an escape. Everyone is captured and the ... See full summary »
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C. Aubrey Smith
Shirley Temple's father, a rebel officer, sneaks back to his rundown plantation to see his family and is arrested. A Yankee takes pity and sets up an escape. Everyone is captured and the officers are to be executed. Shirley and "Bojangles" Robinson beg President Lincoln to intercede. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
(I Wish I Was in) Dixie's Land
Music and Lyrics by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Played during the opening credits
Sung by Shirley Temple
Also played in the background as the troops are leaving for war See more »
At her Richmond birthday party, six-year-old Shirley Temple (as Virginia "Virgie" Cary) is delighted when dutiful dancing slave Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (as "Uncle Billy") entertains on cue. The towering tap-dancer doesn't understand slavery. And yet, Mr. Robinson is one of the smarter servants in the cast. The others, led by Willie Best (as James Henry), can most politely be described as mentally challenged. The outbreak of the US Civil War disrupts Ms. Temple's happy life. Handsome father John Boles (as Herbert Cary) is called to duty, and "The Littlest Rebel" must see President Lincoln himself, to set things right...
Unless some subversive statement is being made by having the confederate "Curly Top" leading a group of Black children in white-coned caps, the motive is strictly to entertain. However, the story features abhorrently rampant racism. Here, the slaves are happy to serve the obviously superior white folks - and why shouldn't they? They wouldn't know how to say, "Emancipation Proclamation," let alone understand slavery. Other racially problematic films have some depth to the characters, attempt to honestly reflect the times, or advance film as an art. You have little of that, here. Temple and Robinson dance appealingly together, however.
*** The Littlest Rebel (12/19/35) David Butler ~ Shirley Temple, Bill Robinson, John Boles, Willie Best
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