4/10
A silly one, not so good
2 October 2017
This is the sixth of the Little Rascals sound films. It is a very silly and ineffective one. That is because the producers decided to take their eyes off the children and try and involve too many adults. They also used a hopelessly corny story, which is really ridiculous. In this film, the local policeman Officer Kennedy is introduced as a kind-hearted man who loves children and likes to look after them. That is OK, and Edgar Kennedy who plays the cop is very good. He tells the gang that when he was young he dug with a shovel to try to find treasure, so all of them rush off to do the same. They choose for their site an old abandoned 'haunted house'. They go inside and start digging the earth foundations. Pete the Dog joins in, spraying Wheezer with the dirt he kicks up in his burrowing. Where the film goes wrong is in having a 'lunatic' vagabond secretly living in the house, who howls like a ghost to scare people away. He lives in a space between the walls, accessed by a secret button. The children eventually come face to face with, and interact with, the madman, and he insists to Farina that he will give him a turkey dinner. He serves an invisible turkey to Farina, who is scared and pretends to eat it. One good bit of the film is that he also throws imaginary pieces of the turkey to Pete the Dog, who is sitting on the chair beside him, and Pete 'catches' them and pretends to eat them too. For some unknown reason, the madman is portrayed as a wild-haired German who speaks with a strong accent, and who counts in German. None of this makes any sense at all, of course. The madman is played by a genuine German actor, born in Berlin, named Max 'Davidson' (his real surname is not recorded on IMDb). Davidson went on to appear in 197 films in his career, retiring in 1945. The moaning and groaning of the title of this film are those of the 'ghost', i.e. the madman. This film was an unfortunate lapse in the series, since its 'geniuneness', which comes from the interactions of the children with one another, is sacrificed for a silly haunted house story which ruins the mood and the point of the Little Rascals films altogether.
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