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Ever since they were teamed in The Champ MGM saw Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper as money in the bank and they were cast together again in Treasure Island and now this film O'Shaughnessy's Boy. They also were together in The Bowery but that was under another company banner. After this though Cooper was getting a bit too old for these kid roles as he moved into his teens.
Instead of a boxer past his prime Beery plays a circus lion tamer at the top of his game. He's married another circus performer Leona Maricle who is a neurotic away from the high trapeze. She's brought her sister Sara Haden who is miles from her kindly spinster aunt role in the Andy Hardy series. She caters to Maricle's neurosis and eggs on a split between Beery and her.
But Beery gets along great with his son first played by Spanky McFarland. But it all goes bad for Beery when Maricle and Haden leave taking his son with him and Beery loses his right arm in the arena after a cat mauls him.
The rest of the film is Beery trying to get his son back who eventually grows up to be Jackie Cooper.
The Beery/Cooper chemistry was still working albeit a bit creaking now that Cooper's voice was changing. Leona Maricle's character was somewhat underdeveloped, we never really find out why she's such a neurotic only that Haden caters to it. Henry Stephenson also has a fine role as commandant of the military school that Cooper attends.
Jackie Cooper whose career was made with his films with Wallace Beery was like all the rest of his contemporaries who could find nothing good to say about him in real life. Knowing that you may be seeing some of the greatest acting in history in O'Shaughnessy's Boy.
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