8/10
A truly superb Little Rascals film
8 October 2017
This is the eighth Little Rascals sound film, and it is superb. This time we are back in the closed world of the children themselves, which is where all the humour comes from. The theme of this film is that all the kids think they should be 'married'. So we have the boys asking the girls to marry them, especially Mary Ann, but she frowns and pushes them away and even whacks them. Jackie Cooper makes his first appearance as a Rascal in this film, playing the boy named Jack. He 'falls in love with' Mary Ann. Today's world is a decadent one, obsessed by sexuality, but naturally sexuality is nowhere on the horizon in these Little Rascal films, as such things in connection with children were unthinkable in the far more innocent world of 1930. Therefore all the talk of 'marriage' and 'love' with the little kiddies is intended entirely humorously, and is very funny indeed. For instance, Farina says: 'I've been married seven times now, but I'm finished with women.' The entire basis of the humour of the Little Rascals films was concerned with tiny children pretending to be adults, but getting it hopelessly wrong. Officer Kennedy, the local cop who is the kids' friend (played as usual by Edgar Kennedy) tries to give helpful advice to the children about 'marriage', saying that to win the love of a gal, a fellow needs to 'be a caveman', but this is of course misdirected and misunderstood. However, all the male attention from the boys eventually goes to Mary Ann's head, and she indulges her fantasy of two knights in the Middle Ages fighting with swords for the hand of a maiden. She decides she wants two of the boys to fight a duel for her 'hand'. So she produces two very sharp and dangerous swords, and a duel takes place which descends into chaos, with everyone getting stabbed slightly in the bottom and saying 'ouch!' Much of this takes place in a yard where sheets are hung up to dry, so there are many sight gags of people stabbing each other through the sheets because they see a shadowy figure through the sheet, but it is the wrong person, and so on. The edges of the swords are so sharp that as the swords slash around, they easily slice the sheets in half. It is total pandemonium, and a miracle that no one got hurt (as far as we know). This is a pretty wild Little Rascals film, where 'letting it rip' is taken literally. But this is certainly the best one in the series so far.
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