Shirley Temple's father, a rebel officer, sneaks back to his rundown plantation to see his family and is arrested. A Yankee takes pity and sets up an escape. Everyone is captured and the ...
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Shirley Temple's father, a rebel officer, sneaks back to his rundown plantation to see his family and is arrested. A Yankee takes pity and sets up an escape. Everyone is captured and the officers are to be executed. Shirley and "Bojangles" Robinson beg President Lincoln to intercede.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In one scene Shirley Temple disguises herself as a black child using boot polish; a controversial act by modern standards, this was not uncommon in early Hollywood films. See more »
When the Union soldiers are caught looting, the commanding officer orders them to be flogged. The US Army according to the "History of the United States Army" stopped flogging at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861--this scene is obviously later in the war as Union forces are occupying the south. See more »
This film says more about North America in the 1930's than it does about the Deep South in the 1860's.
The thing which is racist about the film is not that it sets out to show anything evil about the black people - Shirley seems to be quite fond of her slaves, unless of course they do something wrong - but in the subtle way it suggests there was nothing wrong with the situation the Deep South was in before the civil war.
The black people are not only less intelligent than the whites (notice the girl so dumb she can't even remember a single line her mother told her to memorise to impress the young white child star - or perhaps she's just so nervous in the presence of the superior species that she can't remember), but they're completely happy being enslaved.
They absolutely love being told what to do by the six year old landowner's daughter, and the neighbourhood slaves just wait around for young Shirley to lavish some attention on them.
The thing I most regret about the film was that they forced the blacks to dance and entertain their white hosts like a bunch of chained elephants or circus freaks.
Its always a bad sign when the civil war is portrayed as a distruption to the desired state of affairs, as it is here and in Gone with the Wind.
Only youngsters, who don't yet understand that the only difference between white folks and black folks is skin pigment, which only evolved from a group of people living in an ultra-sunny climate for years, will be able to enjoy this film. But perhaps its better for society if you don't show it to them - the young are so impressionable, after all.
UPDATE: Can I point out that I've noticed people don't like this review, and I'm not surprised; its intentions were so innocent, it feels a shame to accuse it of causing offense, but unfortunately, I'd still suggest this one not be shown to impressionable kids for the reasons I have outlined above.
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