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The Apple Dumpling Gang
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Apple Dumpling Gang More at IMDbPro »

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Likeable....

Author: jwrowe3 from Tampa, FL
15 June 2002

As it goes with most 70's Disney fare, this is an acceptable family movie. Most of their live action flicks of this period are best described as "hit or miss". Where, say, that "Pete's Dragon" is a "MISS", "Apple Dumpling Gang", is a solid "HIT". One wonders where Disney's creative minds were in this period, as some of the films of this period are just a little "off". As in seeming "out of date", and "stale". I guess they were all working on getting Disney World, and EPCOT off the ground in Florida, and gearing up for the much anticipated animated movie "The Black Cauldron". I have a book about Disney, that a relative got for me in 1975, that goes into a good amount of detail on that movie, even though it would be a decade(!) before it was released.

"TADG" has just the right amount of excitement, comedy, cute kids, and bumbling to be watchable by almost anyone. Bill Bixby does a good job as the lead, and Susan Clark is quite watchable. The kids are not as "whiney" as most live action Disney kids, and David Wayne and Harry Morgan are most welcome. And then there's Don Knotts and Tim Conway! I usually get tired of "the bumbling duo" act, but there is just the right amount of screen time for them, to not become annoying.

I'd suggest this to any parent who has to sit and watch along with the wee ones. I usually grab a magazine to read, but I found myself actually enjoying this warm hearted film.

Miss some of the stinkers like "Pete's Dragon"(I hate that kid!), and enjoy this kind hearted little movie from Disney.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Funnier Than Most!

Author: Anya-fan from USA
27 June 2000

In the 1970's, Disney churned out cheap film after cheap film meant to draw children in without spending much money. They had mediocre acting, mediocre laughs and often obscure and pointless plots.

Out of all these films, The Apple Dumpling Gang is one of the few that succeeds in capturing the audience. This is entirely due to the splendid performances by Don Knotts and Tim Conway. These accomplished comedy actors give perhaps the most hilarious performances that Disney has delivered to date.

The plot is pretty pointless, most of the acting is only okay, but the dialogue and action, especially from Knotts and Conway, is hilarious. Catch this film if you just want to laugh.

You can also see the sequel, which delivers quite a few laughs but is a little too weird and pointless for my taste.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Apple Dumpling Gang

10/10
Author: laminuk from United Kingdom
14 August 2005

I saw the Apple Dumpling Gang when I was a child and I found the film to be delightful. The film is intended to be pure comedy and that is what it delivers.

Don Knotts and Tim Conway are both excellent actors and they provided a superb performance in this comedy. This is a show that I was proud to show my children and my grandchildren as it holds wonderful childhood memories for me.

There are a lot of shows out there today that are too violent, and rude. This show is refreshing in that you can be assured that your children are not watching blood splattering or listening to foul language. This show is in true Walt Disney fashion.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A sweet family picture

10/10
Author: William (wmattifo) from Lubbock, TX
29 April 2003

I've always enjoyed this movie. Don Knotts and Tim Conway should have done a hundred more movies together. Just imagine what they could have done in the 1960's when both were very hot? It would have been something special. Rent this and share it with your family. You'll enjoy it.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Consignment, One Set Of Kids

6/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
28 December 2010

Don Knotts and Tim Conway, two very big stars in their own right, teamed to do some very successful films mostly for the Disney Studio. Their comedy style was a lot like Laurel and Hardy, but in terms of individual stars teaming and being successful at both, the only comparison there is Crosby and Hope.

The Apple Dumpling Gang follows the misadventures of these two lunkheads as they try their hand at the outlaw trade. They accidentally shot a really fierce outlaw in Slim Pickens and left him crippled in one leg and he's out for their hides.

Paralleling that plot is that of gambler Bill Bixby who wins what he thinks is a consignment of freight in a poker game, but what he really gets is the delivery of three children. Being a roving bachelor Bixby naturally thinks the kids will cramp his style and they do for awhile. Willing to help is Calamity Jane like character Susan Clark who drives for the freight line that her father David Wayne owns.

One thing I do so like about Disney films is the use of familiar Hollywood faces who were having trouble getting work. For example the brassy Iris Adrian, a little older and heftier, but still full of sass.

But the film really belongs to Conway and Knotts. Conway is the Laurel like figure in the partnership, dumb and he knows it. But he has for a partner Knotts who like Oliver Hardy is full of grand schemes who when they blow up in his face will always blame is hapless partner. But in point of fact Knotts is just a bad planner.

The Apple Dumpling Gang spawned a sequel in The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again where Knotts and Conway have even more hysterical misadventures. This one however and its successor are some of the best films Disney Studios made in the Seventies.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

western/comedy with Don Knotts,Tim Conway and Bill Bixby

5/10
Author: disdressed12 from Canada
26 April 2009

this western/comedy starring Don Knotts,Tim Conway,and Bill Bixby is a movie the whole family can watch.there's nothing offensive that i noticed.the thing is,though,the movie is not all that great.sure,it does have a few comedic moments(courtesy of Knotts and Conway),which provide some lite chuckles.but nothing great.the story is decent enough,though pretty unoriginal,and predictable.and most of the movie is slow,and maybe a bit too long.but if you go in to it with low expectations,you might actually enjoy it.i found myself mildly amused and entertained.for a lazy Sunday,you could do worse.for me,The Apple Dumpling Gang is a 5/10

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Great Fun

Author: vagabondjonson from United States
14 April 2008

This is a fantastic family movie that kids can watch and enjoy and those of us who love the Tim Conway-Don Knotts combination will get our money's worth as well. I know the movie is about Bill Bixby and the kids but really, it's all about Conway and Knotts. They worked so well together that even if the rest of the movie was worthless, they made it incredible. If you watch the scenes with the two of them moving the ladder, you'd swear that all of that was storyboarded and choreographed, but according to Conway on the special edition DVD, they improvised all of it. The bit with Knotts drinking out of the beer glass and Conway trying to get a drink out of too is some of the greatest schtick in movie history. This is a great movie with a great cast including Slim Pickens and Harry Morgan and some of the finest character actors of the day. It's great and even if you don't like live-action Disney movies, you should still be able to appreciate the comic genius of Conway and Knotts.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

One of Disney's best live-action films.

8/10
Author: CountessM from California
21 May 2004

One of the best live-action Disney movies. A sweet story about misplaced children, an unwilling but good-intentioned gambler as a foster parent and two bumbling crooks as the comic foil. Bill Bixby, of "My Favorite Martian" and "The Hulk" fame, plays Russell Donovan, the roaming gambler who is unwittingly stuck with some "valuables." Tim Conway and Don Knotts, a little past their prime, play the hapless crooks known as the "Hash Knife Outfit." Susan Clark plays the tomboy stage coach driver who fills in as the kids mother. It also stars Harry Morgan as the town sheriff. Beautiful scenery, lots of action, comedy, and a fabulous saloon brawl that is the highlight of the film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Don Knotts and Tim Conway Mine for Gold

5/10
Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
23 May 2010

During the California Gold Rush, gambler Bill Bixby (as Russel Donavan) wins something he wasn't anteing up for - three orphaned children. Declaring, "I'm a bachelor," and in, "no position to care for them," Mr. Bixby tries to unload the cute, but precocious Clay O'Brien, Brad Savage, and Stacy Manning (as Bobby, Clovis, and Celia Bradley). Bixby is unsuccessful, but since he is a latent family man, it really doesn't matter. Herein, he mustn't remain single, unlike in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father".

So, tomboyish Susan Clark (as Dusty) provides the prerequisite motherly attention. Sheriff Harry Morgan (as Homer McCoy) insists Ms. Clark has womanly curves, having seen her "in a cloudburst." In the aptly named "Quake City", the kids find their stock rises after discovering gold in an old, abandoned mine. "The Apple Dumpling Gang" all very direct, and obvious, with bumbling gold-diggers Don Knotts (as Theodore Ogelvie) and Tim Conway (as Amos Tucker) effectively stealing the show.

***** The Apple Dumpling Gang (7/1/75) Norman Tokar ~ Bill Bixby, Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Susan Clark

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good Threeway Storytelling

Author: tedg (tedg@filmsfolded.com) from Virginia Beach
26 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm usually appalled at how vintage Disney (of about 1940-80) ignored the basics of good storytelling, relying instead on cinematic gimmicks.

Sometimes it worked, sometimes not, but when you just simply don't invest in good storytelling, you plant poison that somehow catches up with you. The primary reason that I remembered this fondly is that it was that rare project where lots of attention was spent on story structure. It is engineered for lowbrow effect of course, but that is beside the point.

The two main story threads are:

— a pair of hapless cowboy bandits, whose every move is comedic. It is simple Laurel and Hardy stuff with better facial expressions, and it is this that provides the entertainment value.

— a story about the essential power of the nuclear family. It was still the 1950 notion, involving 3 children. They sacrifice wealth in exchange for parents, while Dickensian characters circle around. This provides — even now — the "nourishment" value.

The two threads are interwoven in rather brilliant fashion with encounters between the two lost parties (children and adults) few and clear. They meet initially when the erstwhile crooks believe they are to be captured. They meet a second time when they form the Apple Dumpling Gang to steal the children's gold nugget. They meet only a third significant time at the end when the now mommy and daddy adopt both the children and the virtual children.

There are many architectural correspondences that work with this and the internal cinematic references. For instance, we have a red "hook and ladder wagon" that we see three times after we are told that the town has one: when it is poses a threat to the little girl who is rescued by the hero; when its ladder is stolen for the bank robbery; and when that same little girl is kidnapped by the real robbers and a chase ensues.

This is because Disney at this period had a story lab that was looking at what they considered narrative dynamics. We know much more today, but in that era, the threes came about because there was a deliberate weave of three genres.

— The standard western where a Maverick-like character rides into town as a loner and wins someone's heart. Here it is the town redhead. He wears the standard gambler garb, and we track him at the important beginning where the terms of the story are established.

— A comedy genre based on a combination of slapstick and Marx brothers quality dialog.

— A family movie where what is now called "family values" are celebrated in a lighthearted fashion, but deeply acknowledged.

Given this establishment of the three genres, the script was designed around the rule of threes. For instance, the gambler saving the girl from the fire engine is for the family genre; the chase in the fire wagon at the end is standard Hopalong Cassidy fare; and the bit in the middle where the ladder is stolen while the fireman sleeps is from the Marx tradition.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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