|Index||5 reviews in total|
I enjoyed this movie, because it showed children growing up in the same
time period as my parents grew up in. It was like "Leave It To Beaver"
(20 years earlier), Billy was Wally, Kenneth was Eddie and the sisters
could have been a number of girls who liked Wally and were momentarily
fooled by Eddie.
I liked seeing Billy stand up to Kenneth, but never really hurting him. Pige was one tough girl and little sister Julia the sweetie who didn't participate in any of the ruff stuff. Billy's mother was a worry wart and his Dad the calming influence, which reminds me of my parents.
The movie starts out with John Greenleaf Whittier's poem being recited, which brought back my Grade School days of having to memorize the poem and then write a parody of it.
If you only watch the all time great movies skip this one, but if you want to see a nice dumb movie you can sit back, relax and enjoy; Don't miss it!
Rural teenager Jackie Moran (as Billy Whittaker) likes to play with his
dog and climb trees with no shoes on, as suggested in John Greenleaf
Whittier's poem "Barefoot Boy". Mr. Moran also likes cute neighbor
Marilyn Knowlden (as Julia Blaine) and writes her a love note. The
potential for puppy love is threatened however, by the arrival of
spoiled military schoolboy Bradley Metcalfe (as Kenneth Hale). He
teases Moran about going barefoot, wrestles with him, and pledges to
steal his girlfriend. Their parents have Mr. Metcalfe staying with
Moran when the former's father Ralph Morgan (as John Hale) gets out of
Meanwhile, Matty Fain (as Blake) and Frank Puglia (as Hank), two crooks who committed the crime for which Mr. Morgan served time, hide out in the local haunted house. After Metcalfe is declared a hero for saving her sister from drowning, jealous Marcia Mae Jones (as Pige Blaine), who has a crush on Moran, takes the teenagers to the haunted house, hoping to expose Metcalfe as a coward. Mixing it up with criminals puts the youngsters and Moran's dog ("Toto" from "The Wizard of Oz") in grave danger Director Karl Brown moves this teen fare well, but it looks like some omissions or edits have garbled parts of the story.
***** Barefoot Boy (8/3/38) Karl Brown ~ Jackie Moran, Bradley Metcalfe, Marcia Mae Jones, Ralph Morgan
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The teen team of Jackie Moran and Marcia Mae Jones isn't one of
Hollywood's most endearing. They lack the nostalgia and box office of a
Mickey/Judy (or even Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan), but in the late
1930's and early 1940's, they made half a dozen programmers at the
low-grade Monogram which ended up on bottom half of double bills and
often were overlooked by reviewers. While some of their films are
acceptable in spite of low budgets and contrived plots, a few of them
are rather mediocre, focusing on melodramatic twists and some
ridiculous sudden developments that seem truly forced and put in simply
to manipulate the audience's emotions without regards to whether they
seem realistic or not.
While pretty much all of these stories take place in small communities and focus on simple family values, they add a big city mentality with the ruthless or criminal element coming in to disturb the peace of rural life. This deals with the calmness of teenagers Moran and Jones' life being interrupted by the arrival of spoiled and temperamental Bradley Metcalfe whose parents are separated due to his father's (Ralph Morgan) incarceration and will most likely end in divorce. Resentful of the belief that his father stole some valuable bonds, Metcalfe takes it out on everybody around him, even planning on running off with the missing bonds when he discovers them. This leads to a confrontation with crooks and a cruel prank played on the audience by the writers concerning Moran's beloved dog (played by Terry, aka "Toto"). A few light-hearted moments break up the monotony of the plot, but ultimately it is unsatisfying and majorly disappointing.
Other than using the same title this film has no connection to nor is
there any film credit linking it to the poem by John Greenleaf
In this film, Kenneth Hale, a pampered, snobbish young boy is sent by his father, John Hale, who has served time in prison for a crime he did not commit, down to the country farm of an old friend, Calvin Whittaker.
The barefooted, honest and plucky Billy Whittaker, his girlfriend, Pige Bennett, and punky Kenneth get involved with a "haunted" house and a gang of crooks, while Billy helps make a "better man" out of Kenneth.
Filmed well, acted well, just a ridiculously slow, tedious, bland story.
"Barefoot Boy" is a film that clearly demonstrates why it's in the
public domain. Simply put, the film is annoying...very, very annoying.
Unless you love films that star annoying pre-teens, then my advice is
to avoid this one like the plague.
The film stars two boys--one a spoiled little $&!% who is simply too obviously awful to be believed. No child is that obnoxious and yet so adored by a parent!! Instead of a reasonable portrayal, it's all black & white--like a comic book. And, when this kid does horrible things, people either cover for him or resist the urge to bust him in the mouth--something I truly was hoping to see. And, it's a bad film that makes me root for child abuse!!! As far as the plot goes, it's a ridiculous mess involving the jerk kid going to live with a nice country boy, some stolen bonds, a father coming out of prison and some crooks pretending that they are ghosts. Believe me that the average Bowery Boys film is 1000% better! Bad acting, bad writing and bad direction...this one is just BAD!
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