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Robot Wrecks (1941)

 -  Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi  -  12 July 1941 (USA)
5.2
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 26 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

While visiting Black's Department Store, the Our Gang observe "Volto" a publicity robot in the appliance department. Unaware that the robot is actually an actor in a costume, the Our Gang ... See full summary »

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Title: Robot Wrecks (1941)

Robot Wrecks (1941) on IMDb 5.2/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Mickey (as Mickey Gubitosi)
...
Darla (as Our Gang)
Billy 'Froggy' Laughlin ...
Froggy Laughlin (as Our Gang)
...
Spanky (as Our Gang)
...
Buckwheat (as Our Gang)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Margaret Bert ...
Julia Laughlin, Froggy's mother
Joan Blake ...
Robot onlooker
...
Mr. Laughlin, Froggy's father
Vincent Graeff ...
Boxcar
Emmett Vogan ...
Robot owner
Fred Walburn ...
Slicker
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Storyline

While visiting Black's Department Store, the Our Gang observe "Volto" a publicity robot in the appliance department. Unaware that the robot is actually an actor in a costume, the Our Gang resolve to build one of their own. The neighborhood bully takes advantage of the gang's ignorance and sells them a box of "invisible rays" to fuel the gang's creation. Actually, neighborhood tough guy "Boxcar" climbs inside to animate the robot. He runs amok, using the lawn mower to destroy flower and vegetable gardens. Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi | Short

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 July 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frankenstein, Jr.  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

a little lacking in credibility, but fun nonetheless (possible spo
1 October 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Let me explain....

The Gang had previously encountered Slicker as a bully in "Fightin' Fools" and now faces him as a con man who sells them "invisible rays" to help them make their robot work. Is the Gang that gullible? (And Spanky, the unofficial leader of the Gang, is 13-years-old! Surely, he would have had more intellectual sense!)

That having been said, this film is rather fun. As the Gang builds and tests their robot, they copy some of the same things they witnessed in a previous labor-saving robotics demonstration (they even mimic the famous line: "Robot, do you feel in condition to go to work?").

Even more fun is to be had. Slicker enlists a friend of his to step inside the robot, and fool the Gang into believing their endeavor was successful. When the robot is instructed to mow Froggy's lawn, he does more than that --- he mows down flowers and vegetables, turns over wheelbarrows, and flings newspapers all over the yard. All filmed at double-speed!! It's really cool to watch.

Sadly, what is less fun is when Froggy's dad gives the kids a lecture on personal responsibility (such is often the case in MGM Our Gang films). This lecture is then followed by one of Froggy's lame Aunt Minnie quotes at the end of film: "Never put off till tomorrow what you should have done yesterday!" (this, of course, in inexplicably followed by raucous laughter from the Gang).

An interesting side note is that Billy Bletcher, the actor who played Froggy's father, is the guy who provided voices for some of the Warner Brothers cartoons (probably most notably as Henry, the grouchy father bear). His natural baritone voice made him the perfect actor to play Froggy's father. In fact, in an amusing throw-away gag, he even provided a dubbed voice for Froggy's mother!

In sum, this is a reasonably enjoyable film that could have been even more so if the writers didn't feel the need to moralize near the end. One more thing: is it really necessary to end an MGM short with a contrived joke that produces forced laughter at the end?

Just a thought.


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