Dimples Appleby lives with the pick-pocket grandfather in 19th century New York City. She entertains the crowds while he works his racket. A rich lady makes it possible for the girl to go legit. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is performed.
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Dimples is a busker - a street entertainer, and lives in mid-19th century New York City's Bowery with her kindhearted but pickpocketing Grandfather, Prof. Eustace Appleby. Dimples is a talented child and is hired to perform at a party in the home of Mrs. Caroline Drew, an elderly widow living in Washington Square. Dimples delights the gathering and charms not only the elderly mistress of the house but her nephew Allen as well, a theatrical producer betrothed to a lovely society belle. Allen engages Dimples to perform the role of Little Eva in his production of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" while Mrs. Drew makes it possible for Dimples to remain in her genteel home and enjoy its benefits. Various complications ensue and Dimples bravely makes the decision to sacrifice her happiness to return to her slum dwelling Grandfather. Mrs. Drew traces Dimples's whereabouts and convinces Prof. Appleby that his lovely granddaughter deserves something better than a life of poverty and crime in the Bowery. The... Written by
Herman Bing as "Proprietor" and Greta Meyer as "Proprietor's Wife" are in studio records/casting call lists as cast members, but they did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. See more »
The film takes place in the early 1850s. Towards the end, in a scene set in a theater, the producer announces to the audience that "a new form of entertainment has come from the South," and he would like to be the first to present it in New York City. We then see a minstrel show. But by that time minstrel shows had been staged in New York for a decade, since the Virginia Minstrels performed at the New York Bowery Amphitheatre in 1843. See more »
Shirley Temple plays a singing, dancing street urchin in 1850 New York City whose multi-racial music troupe is managed by her pickpocket grandfather (he uses the kids as ruse for robbery); when a rich matron takes kindly to the youngster, the wily grandpa has to decide whether to sell the child for five grand (in the hopes she'll have a better life) or continue living happily together in squalor. Not-bad star vehicle allows Shirley to be more sly and precocious than in some of her other pictures. She stumbles over big words (like 'peneteniary') which seems out of character, though her scene with Mrs. Drew returning a stolen clock is funny ("I'm so wicked, I don't know what's to become of me."). Temple was always goaded into acting like a wise-beyond-her-years wind-up doll, but here she has a more distinct personality, and the director gives her time to think things through. She's still far too choreographed (in both her acting and dancing), but her responses seem pretty fresh, and matching her with Frank Morgan was a good casting move (they play off each other warmly). Interesting subtext about racial equality, as well as some clever material aligning the desperation of 1850 with Depression-era audiences circa 1936. **1/2 from ****
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