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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Miles Mander and Peter Cushing

7/10
Author: kevin olzak (kevinolzak@yahoo.com) from Youngstown, Ohio
21 March 2014

1940's "Laddie" was the third and last screen version of the 1913 story by Gene Stratton-Porter, the sixth of her 12 novels, already filmed in 1926 and 1935, an autobiographical work that no doubt resembles that of Laura Ingalls, very close in age with similar backgrounds. With the lead character the youngest daughter, referred to only as 'Little Sister' (Joan Carroll), "Laddie" really does look like an Indiana version of "Little House on the Prairie," particularly as our heroine sports the same pigtails worn by Melissa Gilbert on the Michael Landon TV series. Laddie Stanton (Tim Holt) lives on the farm run by his father John (Robert H. Barrat), with a mother and four younger siblings, while on the neighboring farm lives Charles Pryor (Miles Mander), with wife Anna (Mary Forbes) and daughter Pamela (Virginia Gilmore), recently immigrated from England. Laddie develops feelings for Pamela, whose demanding father makes no secret of his disapproval. 'Little Sister' seems to know everyone's secrets, and even speaks for Laddie with Pamela when he's right there (her tendency to blurt out confidences never seems to get her into trouble). Charles is a very strict military man, whose son Robert (Peter Cushing) has performed an undisclosed indiscretion back in England that led to their relocating to this tiny Indiana community. He looks down on the Stantons because they are farmers, taking pride in the soil which gives back so much, producing the goods that end up on everyone's dinner table. It's definitely an old fashioned story with universal appeal, played with believable warmth by a non star cast, though Joan Carroll won't make anybody forget Melissa Gilbert. Equally adept at good guys or bad, Miles Mander deserves mention for avoiding the clichés that might turn his stern character into an ogre, with a surprise appearance by Hollywood newcomer Peter Cushing, in only his fourth film, popping in for two brief scenes toward the end. Favorite Wheeler and Woolsey girl Dorothy Lee can be spotted among the bridesmaids, one line of dialogue as Louise, with only three more films prior to permanent retirement (still only 29).

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Stantons and the Pryors

7/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
28 December 2013

Like Booth Tarkington, Gene Stratton-Porter wrote of and was identified with her native state of Indiana. According to the Wikipedia article about her, the novel Laddie was a tribute piece to an older brother who was killed in an accident. If so then the Joan Carroll role of the youngest offspring of the Stanton family is Stratton-Porter herself and no doubt the tender scenes when the little sister becomes the confidante and to some extent problem solver for Tim Holt in the title role is how the author saw herself in her family dynamic.

Had this film been done at Fox Studios in the early sound era no doubt the female lead would have been played by Janet Gaynor. RKO with not quite the budget and on sets that look like they were also used for their Little Men production put together a top flight cast to tell the story of the young love of two neighboring Indiana rural families, the Stantons and the Pryors.

Holt is the oldest of a large family of two sons and three daughters. The marriage of one of his sisters Martha O'Driscoll to Rand Brooks sets his head toward romantic notions about Virginia Gilmore daughter of neighbors Miles Mander and Mary Forbes. They are a British couple who bought property in Indiana and Mander is a bitter man and bit by bit we find out what's eating him. I can't go into that any more because that's a lot of the story. But suffice it to say he's just outraged at the idea of Holt together with Gilmore. This might just be the career role for Miles Mander, he's that good.

Holt and Gilmore playing a Janet Gaynor part are a fine attractive young couple and Laddie is a nice nostalgic piece about rural Indiana at the turn of the last century.

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