The gang puts a phony absent note on their teacher's desk so they can go to the circus, then have to get it back when they find out that the class was going on a field trip to the circus ... See full summary »
Eugene 'Porky' Lee,
George 'Spanky' McFarland,
Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer
The gang packs up for a camping trip to Cherry Creek two miles from their home, but to them it is the wilderness. After night falls, the hooting owls and croaking frogs conjure up visions ... See full summary »
Matthew 'Stymie' Beard,
The initials of R. P. W. C. R. C. W. M. R. (Spanky's Confederate Army) stands for "The Royal Protection of Women and Children, Regiment Club of the World and Mississippi River". See more »
[Vaughan, Marshal Valient's dog, just led Spanky to Marshall Valient]
Friend or enemy?
Enemy. And I thank you, to leave me alone, when I'm on personal business.
See more »
Fighting For The Lost Cause With Spanky & Buckwheat
During the War for Southern Independence, GENERAL SPANKY mobilizes his forces to defend the local women & children against a Yankee invasion.
In 1936, Hal Roach decided it was time for his popular OUR GANG kids to branch out into occasional feature-length films. With the big success of Shirley Temple in two Civil War period movies in 1935 (THE LITTLE COLONEL, THE LITTLEST REBEL), it was only natural that Roach would look in that same direction for his GANG. Although given a rather lavish production and distributed by MGM, GENERAL SPANKY was not a critical or box-office success. The little GANGsters would henceforth stick to short subjects.
Although he's given top billing & the title role, George Spanky' McFarland is rivaled throughout the film's first half by little Billie Buckwheat' Thomas. Here were two of the finest young actors to ever appear in American movies. With all the experience of old, seasoned pros, these two gamin could steal scenes & hearts with equal bravado. A constant joy, without a false note between them, they provide the essential reason for watching the film today.
Phillips Holmes gives a quiet, gentlemanly performance as Spanky's adult protector. Nearly forgotten now, Holmes was a fine actor who died much too soon, during World War Two. Genial Ralph Morgan is especially good as a sympathetic Union general - his scenes with Spanky are quite amusing.
Other OUR GANGers appear midpoint into the movie, most notably Carl Alfalfa' Switzer; he gets to warble Just Before The Battle, Mother.' Even pretty Rosina Lawrence (the GANG's schoolmarm) shows up to play Holmes' beloved.
Irving Pichel is particularly slimy as a cowardly cardsharp turned vindictive Yankee captain. Bumbling Willie Best & feisty Louise Beavers play Miss Lawrence's slaves.
It should be noted that there is racism in the film, not unusual for Hollywood of that era - but almost completely missing in the original series of OUR GANG shorts.
Fans of 19th Century music will enjoy paying attention to the soundtrack, which is a long succession of ancient tunes.
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