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Claude Pierce is delighted to move in with his father, Jay Pierce, a struggling architect living in lower Manhattan, for the six months the divorce agreement of his parents specified. He's come at a particularly bad time for his classmate, Gig Stevens, whose father is to be executed that night for murder, so he's treated badly by Gig as well as Gig's pal, Buck Murphy, and their gang. But he takes boxing lessons and holds his own in a fight with the older and heavier Buck, so he is grudgingly accepted into the gang. Their chief interest is to get a proper tombstone for Gig's father, costing $80. When stealing and selling tires proves too slow, Claude suggests burglarizing some rich kid's home for his toys, and pawning them. Claude leads them to a house at night, where rich looking toys are found, stolen and pawned. However, a suspicious policeman has them brought before a judge where Claude eventually confesses they were his toys; he knew his mother was away and the house was ... Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wonderful movie starring the three biggest male child stars of their era. It's about a young English boy (Freddie Bartholomew) who comes to live with his father in New York and makes friends with a couple of tough kids (Mickey Rooney, Jackie Cooper). Before long the boys are getting into all kinds of trouble. Two other kids who are part of the same gang are called Bugs and Six Toes, because one eats bugs and the other has six toes on one foot. Sounds weird but their scene together is actually pretty funny.
The three leads are all excellent. Likable, fun performances. It's a treat to see the three of them together like this. Ian Hunter plays Freddie's bohemian father. Hattie McDaniel's sister Etta McDaniel plays a maid. The two look almost identical to me except for different noses. At first I thought it was Hattie but couldn't figure out why she looked different. Calvin Lockhart has an amusing part as Jackie Cooper's father who keeps bragging about his service in World War I. Jonathan Hale is great as a wise judge who gives the boys a corny but cute speech about the devil being a sissy. Hence the movie's cool title.
There are a lot of funny lines and some good banter between the boys. One of my favorites is when the boys are breaking into a house and Freddie warns the other two to be careful or they'll have Scotland Yard after them. Dull-witted Jackie responds "How do you know whose yard it is?" A lot of times these culture clash movies, typically comedies, can fall flat and be insulting to one side or the other. This one manages to avoid that and pokes a little fun at the Brits as well as the Yanks, but both without malice. It's an entertaining movie, for sure. A sappy ending too but I loved it.
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