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The Underdog (1943)

Approved | | Drama, War | 17 October 1943 (USA)
During WWII, a small but strong-willed 12-year-old boy tries to steer his vocationally and maritally confused father straight, at the same time striving to keep his honor while the gang in ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (story) (as Lawrence E. Taylor) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Henry Tate
...
Ämy Tate
Charlotte Wynters ...
Mrs. Bailey
Conrad Binyon ...
Spike
Elizabeth Valentine ...
Mrs. Connors
...
Eddie Mohr
George Anderson ...
Kraeger
Jack Kennedy ...
Officer O'Toole
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Storyline

During WWII, a small but strong-willed 12-year-old boy tries to steer his vocationally and maritally confused father straight, at the same time striving to keep his honor while the gang in his new neighborhood bully him. Nazi sympathizers connive to set up his father in a sabotage scheme. Written by JH

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Taglines:

COURAGE PROVED BY FIRE... Even a Quitter Can Be A Hero When The Chips Are Down!

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved
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Release Date:

17 October 1943 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Good intentions don't always make for a believable story.
22 August 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Dogs and children are always scene stealers or sympathy getters, but here, I'm afraid it's not enough to have won me over. This war era family drama stars Warner Brothers heavy Barton MacLane as a rather dour husband and father who has regretfully turned the pants of his family over to his seemingly loving but domineering wife (Jan Wiley) while their son (Bobby Larson) does his best to play Mr. Fix-It, trying to get his beloved dog to be used for military service and to fix his parent's marriage, especially his pop's very low self esteem. Bratty kids in the neighborhood try to bully him which brings out his anger while his father faces another crisis concerning Nazi sympathizers who set him up.

This is a very odd film with strange themes and characters that never fully ring true. MacLane is about as close to this character as Jackie Gleason would have been playing Norton rather than Ralph. Larson isn't really believable as the kid who seemingly brings order to the neighborhood. The main bully has a mother old enough to be his grandmother, and are we supposed to believe that one letter from an older brother whom we never see will bring him around? There's more stuff that makes this lack in credibility, and while it is supposed to add patriotism into its theme, it just ends up being too depressing to make much of a difference during the height of World War II.


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