Free Wheeling (1932) Poster

(1932)

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10/10
Among the Best!
LAKERS3414 May 2004
I recently bought a collection of Little Rascals shorts on DVD for my 3 year old daughter...needless to say she loves these pieces more than anything on TV today...she's memorized many of the lines in them and will quip off at will at any time around the house... This particular episode serves as a sterling example of the Little Rascals at their best...not only the kids but the adult team of McGowan, Roach, and Walker. Their direction and writing are fantastic, and create humor that is enjoyable and timeless... 70 years later we still find ourselves in stitches watching the gang's adventures.

This episode features Dickie Moore and Stymie Beard, along with Spanky, Kendall McComas (Brisbane), and Dorothy (DeBorba)... The premise of the sick rich kid wanting to "rough it up a bit" with the "street urchins" is refreshing to this day...color of skin was no barrier. The taxi contraption is ingenious and hilarious to watch in action. Spanky provides priceless comic relief going up against the poor little monkey. In the end, every issue is resolved and it even seems Dickie's (rich kid) parents view Stymie (street urchin) as a hero! Look for Stymie's real-life mother in a brief cameo...

Could you imagine how much fun it would be if we could watch one of these shorts in a theater before the main attraction (instead of all the commercial advertising)like the old days? Imagine what a treat people who've never heard of this series would be in for!
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10/10
Free wheeling fun!
jimtinder3 August 2002
"Free Wheeling," a Hal Roach "Our Gang" entry from the 1932-33 release season, shows the Rascals at their peak. Dickie Moore plays the poor little rich boy who wants to play with his pal Stymie - but Dickie's doting mother insists he can't rough it up because of his stiff neck. Dickie wants some excitement in his life, and Stymie promises him excitement on his taxi made from cardboard, wood, and powered by a mule!

Dickie's dad and the doctor agree that all Dickie needs is to go outside and run and jump and play. Mother won't hear of it, however, and Dickie and Stymie sneak away on the taxi. Chaos ensues, however, as the mule gets away from the taxi - and Dickie, Stymie, Spanky and Jacquie Lyn "free wheel" it down a hill! Will Dickie's parents find them in time?

Truly a "Little Rascals" classic, "Free Wheeling" succeeds on many levels. First, the performances of the children are natural and playful. Second, the film is aided by blending comedy with the drama of the taxi "free wheeling". The only drawback to the film is the obvious backscreen as the children race downhill, but since this is 1932, one can forgive the antiquated special effects.

If you saw "Free Wheeling" on television when you were growing up, chances are you never forgot it. Funny and action-packed, the film deserves its ranking as one of the best "Our Gang" comedies from this period. 10 out of 10.
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10/10
One of the best, and most anti-racist, of all Rascals films
Damonfordham14 April 2008
There are those who complain about the supposed racism of the Our Gang/Little Rascals films. This one dispels a lot of that.

This is where rich kid Dickie is hampered by his overprotective mother, who despises Stymie, who she refers to as "That colored boy" and a "street urchin," but the two bond nonetheless and without spoiling it, let's just say that Stymie's actions in this film changes the snooty mother's mind.

Not only is this a nice and somewhat subtle message about friendship across lines of race and class, but the film is good and funny to boot. The gang's makeshift cab, their encounter with the drunken mule, Spanky playing with the monkey, the wild taxi chase, and the gag with the midgets and the car (you have to see this, although it's in pretty good taste). While there is no racism here, this is certainly RASCALism at its best!
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9/10
Among the funniest Little Rascals shorts ever!
EllisDee7 October 1998
"Free Wheeling" is one of the best Little Rascals films. It's loaded with the sight gags and exaggerated sound effects that make films from Hal Roach Studios so funny. A whole variety of hilarious things happen in "Free Wheeling," from a mule that gets drunk to a traffic cop jumping 12 feet in the air. A must see for any Little Rascals fan!
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10/10
Hilarity As Our Gang Hits The Highway
Ron Oliver15 March 2000
An OUR GANG Comedy Short. Rich kid Dickie has a stiff neck and his mother insists on treating him like an invalid. After his pal Stymie hears the doctor say that Dickie needs to get out & have some excitement in his life, Stymie takes him for a ride in the Gang's new taxi, which is operated by mule power. But the ornery critter breaks loose - leaving the vehicle without breaks. With a steep hill & dangerous curves ahead, it looks like little Dickie is in for plenty of excitement - now that they're FREE WHEELING.

This is a funny little film with a couple of very cute moments: Dickie & his nurse tricking each other into taking castor oil and Spanky's encounter with a monkey. The taxi itself is quite ingenious and should delight gadget-minded viewers.
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Plenty of Excitement
Derek0322 August 2003
Another of my personal favorites.Free Wheelin' makes you laugh.Stymie is the voices on the taxi-cab radio,as well as the floating power!Spanky shakes down an organ grinder's monkey for cab fare,and Dickie's stiff neck gets cured!All thanks to a wild down hill ride that provides plenty of excitement!Stymie and Spanky are exceptionally good in this one,as they often were.
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7/10
Most people believe that Dustin Hoffman pioneered Product Placement . . .
pixrox117 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
. . . within the film industry when he shilled for Plastic during THE GRADUATE. However, more than 30 years earlier the American Association of Castor Oilers brazenly opened this Hollywood revenue stream with their blatant plugs for the laxative product during an extended portion of FREE WHEELING. Castor Oil is presented as a luxury good here, carefully positioned as an essential condiment in the household of Rich Kid Dickie. FREE WHEELING suggests that Castor Oil is a versatile additive to virtually any exercise in culinary excellence. Dickie's Nurse Ratchet or Nurse Betty or whoever slops a heaping helping of the viscous fluid atop her short stack of pancakes, doubtless to stretch out her chewing pleasure. Before anyone had thought to invent Hamburger Helper, the Castor Oil Council endeavors to get America moving again by thinking outside the bottle. Once Betty's flap jacks are oiled, can anyone doubt that her waffles will come close behind? Then, when Dickie goes looking for excitement, he just needs to find something to put the donkey's rice in.
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7/10
Free Wheeling was a pretty thrillingly funny Our Gang comedy
tavm27 October 2014
This Hal Roach comedy short, Free Wheeling, is the one hundred seventeenth in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series and the twenty-ninth talkie. This is also the first short to only have "Our Gang" as the series title with no "Hal Roach presents His Rascals" heading. It would remain this way for the rest of the series' theatrical run. (On television, however, the Hal Roach-produced talkie entries will be renamed "The Little Rascals" since only M-G-M owns the "Our Gang" title.) Dickie has been wearing a neck brace since, well, forever. The latest doctor says take it off and let him play with the rest of the gang but his over protective mother won't hear of it. When Stymie comes into Dickie's room, he lets him pay for a ride in the gang's mule-pushed taxi. He's not the only passenger on it, however-little Spanky and Jacquie also come along for the ride...This was another funny Our Gang comedy which climaxes with quite a thrilling ride though it's not too convincing since an obvious rear projection screen is used for the climax. No matter as there's enough humorous lines and scenes to keep one entertained throughout. So on that note, Free Wheeling is recommended.
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5/10
It's all downhill
Squonk24 June 1999
In 'Free Wheeling,' Dickie is one sick little boy. Or at least his mother thinks so. Turns out, though, that the cure is some time out with the gang. So Stymie and Breezy take him for a ride in their cab which ends up sailing down the road, out of control. Most of 'Free Wheeling' is build up to the final downhill chase, which ends up being only mildly amusing. Spanky, of course, has some great lines and a wonderful scene with a monkey. 'Free Wheeling' will leave you with a smile on your face, but the gang has been much funnier than they are here.
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8/10
It's got something after all
xidax21 December 2000
Warning: Spoilers
The first time I saw FREE WHEELING I was disappointed (Spoiler Warning: Only read this if you've seen the film). I thought the whole thing about Dickie's bad neck was a waste of time. He's obviously perfectly healthy, and he, the kids and the adults (even the nurse, despite what she says) in his life all seem to know this. Only his mother doesn't believe it, and she's not onscreen long enough to have much impact. So when Stymie accidentally cures him, the feeling for me was not "Wow - he's all better," but "Wow - I didn't know he was ill."

The climactic ride down the hill also lacked something to me. When Stymie and Dickie are shown inside the carriage, not the least bit terrified, watching that fake projected view in front of them, with mostly background music playing rather than the rumble of sound effects, it seems almost like they're watching TV in a limo.

Recently, however, I saw the film again and liked it better. The acting from the kids is great, something I didn't fully appreciate the first time around. Dickie's bad health is still a flimsy device but it does get the plot where it needs to go. The middle part, with the kids driving their wagon, is what made the short work for me this time, and it inspired cheery feelings that spilled over to the rest of the story. It really is a pretty well-designed film.
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8/10
Great runaway car chase
Leofwine_draca7 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
FREE WHEELING is another hit for the Our Gang team. The first half of this story sets up the plot while the action hits in the second part, involving a runaway car chase which is absolutely hilarious and filled with surreal sight gags. Stymie and co. race down hills with various foes in pursuit, spilling rolling tyres and knocking out road workers en route. The addition of a cute monkey can only be a plus. It's madcap and absolutely hilarious, one of the funniest I've seen from the team.
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4/10
This needed an actual twist. And a plot.
Horst_In_Translation2 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Free Wheeling" is an American movie from 1932, so this one has its 85th anniversary this year. Sadly, this also means that all the actors in here, also the kids have been dead for a long time, but at least they left us their work. It runs for 20 minutes and is basically still from the pretty early days of sound films and like the other Rascals short films it is in black-and-white. The focus here is Stymie and Dickie, but the latter feels really irrelevant I must admit. The duo goes on a journey, where they meet monkeys, donkeys, ducks and other animals. And also some of the other members of Our Gang. The comedy is very situational and relies a lot on the protagonists' cuteness. But scenes like a kid wrestling (for fun of course) with an adult or random driving (obviously fake with the camera's wild motions) just does not cut the cake anymore. The age is not an argument as there is more entertaining stuff from decades earlier. Baffled to see this film's rating here on IMDb. Nowhere near the best Rascals short films. The only somewhat interesting thing about it is that Stymie's mother was actually played by his real mother as they must have been struggling to get Black actors at that point.
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10/10
Perfect Episode to showcase the Rascals to the next Generation!
thejcowboy224 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
One day I was talking to friends of my own generation (The Baby Boomers)and we got on to the subject of The Little Rascals and how we enjoyed the episodes after school. My Daughter had never heard of them and was curious to view the aforementioned program. Mainly do to the fact that we spoke with a fondness for the show. My Father-in-Law had in his VHS collection, the CABIN FEVER edition of The Little Rascals.My Daughter has a very short attention span and I had to choose which episode to showcase. Free Wheeling was a no Brainer!The opening scene show the life of a poor rich kid played by Dickie Moore.Dickie is home bound with a stiff neck and is under the care of a nurse.The breakfast scene is cute and a bit racy as Dickie tackles the nurse on the floor to the disdain of his pompous overly protective Mother who has her own Ideas on his son's well being. Despite the reasoning of the Family Physician and husband who suggests he goes out and plays, Mother wants to hear anything of the sort especially playing with "THAT COLORED BOY!" Stymie.Stymie is Dick's closest friend and part owner and Radio announcer of the cab. That Taxi cab complete with mule and punching bag makes you want the meter to run all day. My daughter was immediately captivated by the contraption. Dick leaves his Mansion for the badly needed excitement and jumps into a mule less cab with little Spanky, Jackie and Mischievous Monkey due to an unfortunate overdose of Polish The mule runs off and gives his final notice.Dick wants to see the fracas but his neck is stiff so Stymie gives it a twist and the cure is sealed. A light bulb pops on top of Stymies head and plan B goes into action. Stymie takes a rope and ties onto a moving truck and off go our kids for the ride of their lives through the mountainous streets of Los Angeles. The cab reeks havoc hitting a cop,balloons,tires and finally ending up to safe finish in a hay stack. This is an episode you NEVER get tired of and take the extra 15 minutes to watch over and over again. One of Hal Roach's finest works with the kids and a MUST SEE for future generations.
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4/10
A rare misfire.
MartinHafer2 December 2011
Generally, the Our Gang comedies are very watchable today--especially those from the early 1930s. However, "Free Wheeling" manages to be a rare misfire--and is pretty bad in parts. Too bad--and the film started off well enough. It seems that Dickie's mother is VERY over-protective. She's convinced he needs to be in a neck brace and has been for some time. However, the doctor insists that the boy is fine and he just needs to go out and have some fun. However, he makes the mistake of trying out Stymie's new cab service. The cab is an old wreck of a car pushed by a mule. But, when the mule gets loose, the cab goes careening out of control--and the children could be killed.

While the idea doesn't sound bad, the film became bad once the cab supposedly broke loose. Such a stun was VERY difficult to film realistically back in 1932. Now I am NOT suggesting that the studio should have really pushed the kids down the hill!! But, it looks so incredibly fake even by the standards of the day. As a result, there is no excitement at all. Even part of you knows the kids are fine because it's so unreal. As a result, the film is all downhill from there...so to speak.
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Rescue this classic episode.
geneascherman-123 October 2011
I recorded this episode in its entirety on VHS in the 1980's. Many moons and neighborhoods have seen it pass.

As the clock of progress takes us beyond, theatre, broadcast, VHS, DVD, internet, etc.; this masterpiece of comic genius is becoming more scarce than ever.

There was a brief time that you could view it on YouTube Movies in a few chapters. They're gone now and most of what's out there now online are missing the funniest parts. The mule gets drunk drinking rubbing alcohol and his tail points straight up.

Whatever it takes to get this, pursue it passionately. Even if it means buying it on VHS and having it professionally digitized. It's that good!!!!
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