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The Littlest Rebel (1935)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Family  |  27 December 1935 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 864 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 7 critic

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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(screen play) (as Edwin Burke) , (from the play by), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Littlest Rebel (1935)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John Boles ...
Captain Herbert Cary
...
Colonel Morrison
Karen Morley ...
Mrs. Cary
...
Uncle Billy
...
Sergeant Dudley (as Guinn Williams)
Willie Best ...
James Henry
Frank McGlynn Sr. ...
Bessie Lyle ...
Mammy
Hannah Washington ...
Sally Ann
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

America's Little Sweetheart . . . The Dimpled Darling You Love in the Greatest of Civil War Dramas !

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Pequena Rebelde  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play, The Littlest Rebel, opened in New York at the Liberty Theater on November 14, 1911 and closed in January 1912 after 55 performances. The opening night cast included William Farnum as Mr. Cary and Mary Miles Minter as Virgie Cary. See more »

Quotes

Virginia 'Virgie' Cary: Uncle Billy, I don't think it was very polite to chase everybody out of my party like that.
Uncle Billy: Their mammies have to take them home quickly. You see, honey child, they's gonna be a war.
Virginia 'Virgie' Cary: What's war?
Uncle Billy: War is a lot of soldiers and battle where men kill each other with guns.
Virginia 'Virgie' Cary: Really and truly kill each other? Why?
Uncle Billy: Seems to me, honey child, no-one knows why. I heard a white gentleman say there's a man up north who wants to free the slaves.
Virginia 'Virgie' Cary: What does that mean? Free the slaves?
Uncle Billy: I don't know what it means ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in You're My Everything (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

She and I
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge and Bill Robinson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
No, you can't not see the racism here, but the race relations are not simple
3 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The previous review of this movie begins with the question "Can you get past the racism of the era?", and concludes that you can't. I won't argue that you should "get past" the racism. Rather, I'd argue that you need to look right at it and see that it is not simple, and not just a matter of stereotypes.

Yes, Willie Best's character is an embarrassment when it is not infuriating. There's no arguing that.

But Bill Robinson's character is very different. He is the one on whom Mrs. Cary relies when her husband is at war, he is the one who makes it possible for Cary to get back to see his wife as she is dying, etc. He is also the one who makes it possible for he and little Virgie to get to Washington and, eventually, plead her father's case with President Lincoln. In short, he is the character who makes pretty much everything good happen.

Yes, there is injustice in that he should have received higher billing as a result, and he should have been in the final shot with Temple, as he was as important as her father and more important than Jack Holt. That was unfair, and though probably based on what Fox thought American audiences of the time would tolerate, nonetheless a concession to the racism of the time. But for its time, this movie is remarkably devoid of the "dumb and happy darkie" stereotypes of the time that are so infuriating.

Furthermore, little Virgie never once treats "Uncle Bill" as anything less than an equal. Nor do her parents ever treat him disparagingly.

Race relations in this movie are not perfect. But neither are they stereotypes. There is no point on zooming in on Willie Best's character and going through all the modern clichés of moral superiority, only to dismiss it. The movie deserves better than that.

Yes, the dancing by Robinson and Temple is a wonder. But this movie has other things that are worth examination as well.

Forget what you may have been told about this movie and try to watch it with an open mind. You won't waste your time.


2 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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