The Little Ranger (1938)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
Very amusing and charming; it's a shame they couldn't keep this up for too much longer. The kids, however, would grow up, and that would be that.
Personal note: These were my first exposure to the Our Gang series during the mid-'70s when Buckskin Bill showed them on his weekday morning "Storyland" program or his daily afternoon "The Buckskin Bill Show". Me and my brother remember enjoying them as kids as we didn't know about the way some were presented as lessons as differed from those that weren't. But we'd soon find out when a rival station ran the earlier Hal Roach talkie entries...
****** The Little Ranger (8/6/38) Gordon Douglas ~ Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer, Tommy Bond, Darla Hood, Shirley Coates
*** (out of 4)
The first film in MGM's Our Gang series has Alfalfa getting dumped by Darla in favor of Butch. Inside the movie Alfalfa falls asleep and dreams that Darla is his girl and he must save her from the villain Butch. This here was certainly a cute way to kick off the series as all the kids were in fine form and the story itself was rather nice. If one is looking for some sort of ground-breaking social commentary then you're obviously not going to find it here but the film at least manages a few good laughs. What I was most impressed with was the way the film really did a nice job at seeming like a real Western. I thought the entire dream sequence contained quite a bit of imagination and it also felt like a real "B" Western that you could have been seeing in these days. There are some funny sequences scattered throughout including the one where Alfalfa realizes that Butch would beat him up plus another towards the end when Porky and Buckwheat show up to rescue their friend. All in all this is cute enough to where fans of the series should enjoy it.
Bigger budgeted film is just okay. The feel of the film makes it very clear that there has been a change in the studio. The problem with the film is that it seems for much of it to be little more than a filmed play with all of the shots coming from one angle. The sets also seem cavernous as if the extra money now gave everyone too much room. Certainly no where near as bad as some of the later films that followed in the series, this isn't one of the better one either. Its a good amusing middle of the road film.