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The Littlest Rebel (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 27 December 1935 (USA)
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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 ... See full summary »

Director:

David Butler

Writers:

Edwin J. Burke (screen play) (as Edwin Burke), Edward Peple (from the play by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Shirley Temple ... Virgie Cary
John Boles ... Capt. Herbert Cary
Jack Holt ... Col. Morrison
Karen Morley ... Mrs. Cary
Bill Robinson ... Uncle Billy
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Sgt. Dudley (as Guinn Williams)
Willie Best ... James Henry
Frank McGlynn Sr. ... Abraham Lincoln
Bessie Lyle Bessie Lyle ... Mammy
Hannah Washington Hannah Washington ... Sally Ann
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She's a bundle of charm from Dixie singing new songs- Dancing New Steps and mingling Tears with Laughter. (Print Ad- Gridley Herald, (Gridley, Calif.)) 17 January 1936) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 December 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Pequena Rebelde See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play "The Littlest Rebel" opened in New York at the Liberty Theater on November 14, 1911, and closed in January 1912 after 55 performances. The opening night cast included William Farnum as Mr. Cary and Mary Miles Minter as Virgie Cary. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Virginia 'Virgie' Cary: Can you stay long this time, Daddy?
Capt. Herbert Cary, aka 'Master Cary': Not this time either, darling. I've got to be right off.
Mrs. Cary: I'll see if Rosabelle has your lunch for you.
Capt. Herbert Cary, aka 'Master Cary': Are they getting a fresh horse for me?
Virginia 'Virgie' Cary: Everybody knows just what to do. We practice it every day.
Capt. Herbert Cary, aka 'Master Cary': God love you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Soundtracks

Polly Wolly Doodle
(1880) (uncredited)
Traditional
Modified Music by Sidney Clare (1935)
Modified Lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva (1935)
Sung by Shirley Temple with Bill Robinson
Reprised at the end by Shirley Temple
See more »

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User Reviews

 
No, you can't not see the racism here, but the race relations are not simple
3 January 2013 | by richard-1787See all my reviews

The previous review of this movie begins with the question "Can you get past the racism of the era?", and concludes that you can't. I won't argue that you should "get past" the racism. Rather, I'd argue that you need to look right at it and see that it is not simple, and not just a matter of stereotypes.

Yes, Willie Best's character is an embarrassment when it is not infuriating. There's no arguing that.

But Bill Robinson's character is very different. He is the one on whom Mrs. Cary relies when her husband is at war, he is the one who makes it possible for Cary to get back to see his wife as she is dying, etc. He is also the one who makes it possible for he and little Virgie to get to Washington and, eventually, plead her father's case with President Lincoln. In short, he is the character who makes pretty much everything good happen.

Yes, there is injustice in that he should have received higher billing as a result, and he should have been in the final shot with Temple, as he was as important as her father and more important than Jack Holt. That was unfair, and though probably based on what Fox thought American audiences of the time would tolerate, nonetheless a concession to the racism of the time. But for its time, this movie is remarkably devoid of the "dumb and happy darkie" stereotypes of the time that are so infuriating.

Furthermore, little Virgie never once treats "Uncle Bill" as anything less than an equal. Nor do her parents ever treat him disparagingly.

Race relations in this movie are not perfect. But neither are they stereotypes. There is no point on zooming in on Willie Best's character and going through all the modern clichés of moral superiority, only to dismiss it. The movie deserves better than that.

Yes, the dancing by Robinson and Temple is a wonder. But this movie has other things that are worth examination as well.

Forget what you may have been told about this movie and try to watch it with an open mind. You won't waste your time.


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