Dimples (1936) Poster

(1936)

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interesting racial angles
michael.e.barrett25 January 2003
People are often made uncomfortable by elements that reveal racial attitudes in old movies, but those elements can make the movie fascinating. "Dimples", which is set in the 1850s before the Civil War, often makes explicit references to slavery and also reveals 1930s stereotypes. (Also, the movie keeps referring to "the depression," drawing parallels to the '30s.)

The opening legend calls attention, with deliberate irony, to the fact that some young radicals are questioning "that respectable institution of slavery". Then we see Shirley dancing with black and white street orphans, implying that they are equal in their economic straits. Stepin Fetchit has an important but unbilled role as Frank Morgan's servant (who isn't a slave, but isn't getting paid either). Black servants are shown everywhere, especially at Mrs. Drew's house.

Two plot points are important. The central question is whether Mrs. Drew will "buy" Shirley for $5000, and the characters go back and forth on this question. On the night of the debut of the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" play, Mrs. Drew arrests Frank Morgan (in disguise as Uncle Tom). Then while watching Shirley's death scene in the play, where she begs for Uncle Tom to be free, Mrs. Drew "frees Uncle Tom" (letting Morgan go). Shirley converts Mrs. Drew's impulse to "enslave" people.

We see (with historical accuracy) that the play uses white actors in blackface--but in a curious twist, the play closes with a "new entertainment from the South," a minstrel show with the actual black performers (including Fetchit) pretending to be white actors in blackface. These elements make some viewers uncomfortable, but if you can watch critically, it reveals how the movie was attempting at some level to recognize and deal with unpleasant realities of U.S. history and address freedom, equality, and integration in disguise as entertainment. The Hall Johnson Choir appear, and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson choreographed the dances.
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10/10
What a charming musical!
smaniaci28 June 2001
What a charming musical! Shirley Temple is absolutely adorable. I love when she sings "Get on Board" as Eva in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her character is dressed in white. I love plenty of song and dance. It does not make me tired at all. What it does, is make me so very happy. The title alone, Dimples, is very charming. Shirley Temple herself as a child has had what the title says. That was for quite a long time. I have been very glad of that. It is a very old movie, but then again I like old ones. Whatever age you are, it is a must that you like good movies. This especially holds true for most of Temple's films. They are absolutely irresistible. Maybe someday I'll put on a song-and-dance myself. Who knows? The number "Miss Dixie-Anna" at the end makes it a great movie. Would I dare to say anything else about the ending? I really don't know for sure. No one wants to know that in advance. They want to see for themselves, thank you. Please let everyone enjoy this really good vehicle of Little Miss Temple.
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4/10
Life with Grandfather
lugonian29 June 2007
DIMPLES (20th Century-Fox, 1936), directed by William A. Seiter, marks the third movie with a title depicting on Shirley Temple's trademark features, following BRIGHT EYES (1934) and CURLY TOP (1935). It also marked the return of the bright-eyed, curly-top, dimpled-child star to 19th Century America, having already won her own Civil War as THE LITTLEST REBEL, and taken charge in post Civil War as THE LITTLE COLONEL. While these 1935 classics featured the legendary dancer Bill Robinson, DIMPLES, which goes further back in time, New York City circa 1850, it credits him only as choreographer to Temple's dance numbers, which are in many ways, first rate.

With the opening of a sign reading: "Vote for (Franklin) Pierce in 1850 so he can end the Depression by 1852," the story gets underway with the introduction of Dimples (Shirley Temple), a talented child helping her grandfather, Professor Eustace Appleby (Frank Morgan) to earn extra money by singing and dancing on the street corners of the Bowery along with other urchins of an all kids band. With her grandfather being an unemployed actor, Dimples, who looks up to him as a man of honesty, is unaware that he's a petty thief who picks pockets while she sings and dances to the crowd. The Professor arranges for the children to entertain uptown in the home of the wealthy Caroline Drew (Helen Westley) during an engagement party of her nephew, Allen (Robert Kent) and his fiancé, Betty Loring (Delma Byron). As Dimples performs, the Professor breaks away to steal some articles from Mrs. Drew. Realizing the other kids are right about her grandfather being a thief, Dimples saves him from disgrace by assuming the blame of a stolen cuckoo clock to Mrs. Drew. Because Mrs. Drew is lonely, especially after losing her nephew to the theater (with Allen wanting Dimples to play the lead in his upcoming production of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"), and his association with an Cleo Marsh (Astrid Allwyn), an actress, she decides to bring some life into her empty mansion by offering the Professor $5,000 to have Dimples live with her. While this brings some joy and happiness to the dowager, it brings sadness and emptiness to the child who wants nothing more than to be with her grandfather again.

In its own little way, DIMPLES resembles POPPY (Paramount, 1936), starring W.C. Fields (reprising his Broadway role as Eustace McGargle) and Rochelle Hudson. With both stories set in the 19th century, Frank Morgan, on loan from MGM, enacts his role almost in the Fields manner. Aside from being middle-aged and addressed as "Professor," they are both father and mother to a female orphan who truly loves them, in spite of their weakness of lying and stealing. Both men make the supreme sacrifice by leaving their loved one in the care of a rich widow who can better provide for them with a brighter future. Morgan's character at one point gets taken in by some thieves (one of them played by John Carradine) in Central Park by purchasing a valuable watch that "Josephine gave to Napoleon" with the $800 entrusted to him by Allen. Discovering the watch to be worthless, he sells the "family heirloom" to Mrs. Drew for $1,000. To avoid being arrested, the Professor hides in the theater by blackening his face where he is mistaken for the real actor (Jack Clifford) playing "Uncle Tom." While Morgan does a commendable job all around, how interesting DIMPLES might have been with W.C. Fields instead of Morgan opposite Temple. While POPPY and DIMPLES mix sentiment with comedy, DIMPLES provides more musical numbers than POPPY. Songs for this production composed by Jimmy McHugh and Ted Koehler include "What Did the Bluebird Say?" "He Was a Dandy," "Picture Me Without You" (all sung by Shirley Temple); "Get on Board" "Sweet Low, Sweet Chariot" (sung by the Hall Johnson Choir during the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" play); and "Dixie-Ana" (performed by Temple and minstrels).

While DIMPLES recaptures the bygone era of minstrel shows and the re-enactment of noteworthy scenes taken from Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" during the theater segment with Dimples playing Little Eva, certain areas of the story suffer from slow pacing. The young romantic leads (Kent and Byron) are lifeless while the older players (Morgan and Westley) prove satisfactory. Without the presence of Temple and her ability to bring life to the story through her singing and dancing, DIMPLES might have been a total failure. Temple's singing of "Picture Me Without You" to Morgan comes across a little trite or corny, while "Dixie-Ana" is agreeable enough to rank this one of her finest dance numbers captured on film.

Others members of the cast include Berton Churchill, Paul Stanton and Betty Jean Haines as "Topsy" in the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" segment. While it's been customary for resident 20th-Fox black comedian Stepin Fetchit to receive special billing in the cast, in DIMPLES his performance as Cicero, mysteriously goes without any screen credit in most prints, receives fifth billing in closing credits in others.

Available on video cassette and DVD for any Temple fan to enjoy in both black and white and colorized formats, DIMPLES was presented over the years on several cable TV networks ranging from The Disney Channel (1980s-90s), American Movie Classics (1996-2000) and presently on the Fox Movie Channel. (**1/2)
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10/10
Shirley Temple & Frank Morgan Shine In Depression Comedy
Ron Oliver25 May 2001
DIMPLES, a precocious little tot in the New York City of 1850, must decide between life with her penniless but charming rogue of a grandfather & a wealthy old lady who loves her.

Shirley Temple, that pint-sized package of amazing talent & energy, delights once again. Her megawatt smile & boundless vivacity are only the outward manifestations of her unique personality & status which still keeps her - after so much time - Hollywood's greatest child star.

Frank Morgan, who had honed his scene stealing techniques for decades before Shirley was born, plays her grandfather. Given good lines, he was the rare actor who could dominate the dialogue even at the mighty tyke's expense. He is constantly entertaining to watch and adds greatly to the enjoyment of the film. His classic role would come a few years later when he was to portray THE WIZARD OF OZ, over at MGM.

The supporting players all give solid performances, most notably Helen Westley & Berton Churchill. John Carradine & ubiquitous child actor Leonard Kibrick both have small roles. Movie mavens will recognize Stepin Fetchit, unbilled as Morgan's servant.

The romantic subplot, consisting of Robert Kent trying to choose between Astrid Allwyn & Delma Byron, is a dull affair - as is usual in most Shirley Temple films.

Shirley sings `What Did The Bluebird Say,' `He Was A Dandy,' and, with The Hall Johnson Choir, `Get On Board, Little Children'. Although he does not appear in the film, the legendary Bill Robinson choreographed Shirley's tap routines; his influence is readily apparent.

It has to be mentioned that there is quite a lot of racism in the film. It should also be noted that this was not an unusual situation in Hollywood films of the 1930's.
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6/10
Pretty Good But She's Done Better
ccthemovieman-130 May 2006
Boy, I really liked this Shirley Temple film the first two times I saw it when I owned it on tape. Then, after a fairly long hiatus, I bought the DVD and didn't find it nearly as entertaining as I had before. Having a poor transfer on DVD didn't help. Subsequently, Fox has re-issued these with much better quality (on those 3-pack Temple collections) but I doubt if I'd re-purchase this again.

Anyway, I still liked all the songs and dances, especially the ones earlier in the film. There are a few more numbers here on than on most of her movies, which is fine with me. Temple is still cute and winsome as ever and there are no evil- nasty villains in here, for a change. Yet, Frank Mogan can be a bit annoying and Stepin Fetchit is just plain aggravating. Fortunately, he has a minor role without much dialog.

In summary, a decent Shirley Temple movie but she made at least a handful of others during this time period that were much better It's still a sad comment there are only six reviews of this. Don't people appreciate this girl's talent? She is a legend.
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4/10
Certainly not among Shirley's best.
MartinHafer30 March 2013
For a wide variety of reasons, "Dimples" is among the poorest of Shirley Temple's full-length films. The characters are often quite unlikeable and there are MANY segments that simply made me cringe due to the film's racial insensitivity.

Dimples (Temple) lives with her no-good grandfather (Frank Morgan). Grandpa makes his living cheating people and picking pockets--yet somehow we are expected to somehow care about him. An old lady (Helen Westley) thinks Dimples is simply adorable (as did all of America in 1936) and wants to buy her from Grandpa! Now Grandpa tries to change his evil ways and care for her but he soon loses Allen Drew's money he entrusted to him and ends up considering the old lady's offer! In the meantime, there is a show to put on--and seeing all the black-faced folks putting on a minstrel show is quite a treat! And, it's sure to cause some viewers to have heart attacks.

While the minstrels and the addition of Stepin Fetchit are NOT unique to this Temple film (in "The Littlest Rebel" Shirley herself is in black-face and Willie Best does his best Fetchit imitation), it's made worse by a cast of characters you simply cannot like. All in all, a clear misfire by the studio and a far from satisfying family film.
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6/10
Entertaining sub-Dickensian tear-jerker...
moonspinner5525 May 2008
Shirley Temple plays a singing, dancing street urchin in 1850 New York City whose multi-racial music troupe is managed by her pickpocket grandfather (he uses the kids as ruse for robbery); when a rich matron takes kindly to the youngster, the wily grandpa has to decide whether to sell the child for five grand (in the hopes she'll have a better life) or continue living happily together in squalor. Not-bad star vehicle allows Shirley to be more sly and precocious than in some of her other pictures. She stumbles over big words (like 'peneteniary') which seems out of character, though her scene with Mrs. Drew returning a stolen clock is funny ("I'm so wicked, I don't know what's to become of me."). Temple was always goaded into acting like a wise-beyond-her-years wind-up doll, but here she has a more distinct personality, and the director gives her time to think things through. She's still far too choreographed (in both her acting and dancing), but her responses seem pretty fresh, and matching her with Frank Morgan was a good casting move (they play off each other warmly). Interesting subtext about racial equality, as well as some clever material aligning the desperation of 1850 with Depression-era audiences circa 1936. **1/2 from ****
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8/10
Not bad at all!
JohnHowardReid14 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Copyright 16 October 1936 by 20th Century Fox Film Corp. New York opening at the Roxy: 9 October 1936. 7,108 feet. 79 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Bowery street waif becomes Broadway star, despite opposition - "You know how I hate the theatre and all it stands for. If you leave this house you may never expect to come back to it."

COMMENT: A compendium of every cliché known to Victorian melodrama, but I liked it. At least one of the worst sequences of unbridled sentiment is missing from the current TV version and one cannot but applaud its removal. The film is somewhat light on songs and one could have wished for at least another production number to cap or offset the agreeable minstrel-type finale.

Casting is well-nigh perfect (Mr Fetchit's part is not nearly as obnoxious as usual) and the script provides meaty parts for Frank Morgan and Helen Westley. Direction and photography are pretty ordinary, however, and the sets and costumes have to contend against their current presentation in an indifferent TV print. Still, the sound has been re-recorded and it comes across to-day with a fidelity and clarity (thanks to peerless original recording) that must make Douglas Shearer and M-G-M squirm with envy.

OTHER VIEWS: 2018 prints are still missing 5 or 6 minutes (including all of Herman Bing and Arthur Aylesworth) but all the songs have now been pleasingly restored, thus giving the melodramatic story a balance which greatly improves the entertainment value of the whole. In fact the skill of such support players as Frank Morgan and Helen Westley helps carry the story. Berton Churchill has a characteristic part too and if the hero and his heroine are a bit wet (Astrid Allwyn makes an agreeably tempting siren but her part is tiny) their parts are small enough to make little difference. John Carradine plays a confidence man with his usual affable rascality, while Stepin Fetchit is mildly amusing as Morgan's servant ("Pour? Pour what?").
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5/10
Shirley and her thieving grandpa
bkoganbing26 April 2017
For this Shirley Temple feature Frank Morgan was borrowed from MGM and worked awfully hard to keep America's favorite moppet from stealing the whole film. Morgan was no mean scene stealer himself.

A lot of his Professor Marvel aka known as the Wizard over in Oz went into Morgan characterization of the Professor who is Shirley's grandfather. He's a former actor who has seen his better days and now lives hand to mouth. Shirley and her street peers and an integrated group of peers they are distract the crowd while he pilfers their pockets.

I won't say how but Shirley comes to the attention of society matron Helen Westley who offers to adopt her. At the same time she's got a nephew Robert Kent who wants to enter that most ignoble of professions, being an actor. She won't hear of it, especially his adaption of that current best seller Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.

These two issues meet and are resolved in the finale. Though we're never sure whether Frank Morgan will end his thieving ways. It's practically an addiction now.

Morgan and Temple made a good team on screen. Their scenes are almost a dress rehearsal for his role in The Wizard Of Oz.
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8/10
Shirley must choose between uptown or slums NYC
weezeralfalfa18 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
WARNING: Several blackface musical numbers are included. If sensitive to such, best not to view this film or close your eyes during these portions.

Our story takes place in 1852 in NYC. The screenplay is driven by several conflicts, There's the conflict between wealthy Mrs. Drew and her nephew Allen over the worth of plays and actors. Allen, who is interested in theater, and in marrying an actress, gets no financial help from Drew for his theater projects. Furthermore, she says if he persists in marrying an actress, he will not then be welcome into her house. Allen also has to decide definitely which actress he wants to marry, as he has recently changed his mind several times.

The major conflict is between Shirley's desire to obtain the finer things in life and an education , by living with Mrs. Drew, or to continue living with her grandfather "The Professor", in his apartment in the slums, where there are lots of kids and dogs to play with and perform street entertainment for change. Mrs. Drew offers $5000. to "buy" Shirley. The Professor initially rejects this temping offer, but later accepts it to replace the $800. he lost on an antique swindle he fell for that was supposed to pay for the startup of a show: "Uncle Tom's Cabin". But Shirley finds she's very lonely without her grandfather, her dog, and the neighbor kids to play with. She suggests that her grandfather marry Mrs. Drew as the obvious solution, but this isn't taken seriously. Thus, The Professor gives back the $5000., but sells her his worthless "antique" watch for $1000., enough to cover his debt. Too late, she asks an antique expect, who tells her it's worthless. She calls for police to arrest him. They find him functioning as the director's aid in a performance of "Uncle Tom's Cabin". He dons blackface and extra clothes for Uncle Tom, and goes out on the stage when cued, but the real Uncle Tom player goes on the stage at the same time. He is caught; however, Mrs. Drew decides to stay for the rest of the show. She's very impressed with the play, and especially Shirley's part(Elyza)in it, and changes her mind about the worth of plays and actors. This may mean that Allen can get married to an actress without her disapproval. Also, she drops the swindle charge against The Professor , deciding that the $1000. she lost was worth it. The Professor kisses her neck, suggesting the possibility of a marriage, as Shirley hoped....Helen Westley, who played Mrs. Drew, was generally pleasant in her role when not forced to sponsor plays or when being swindled. She played matronly authoritarians mostly, and is an important character in 3 other S.T. films.

The film begins with a street performance by Shirley and the neighbor kids, singing and dancing to "Hey, What did the Blue Jay Say?" Later, Shirley , along with 2 African Americans, dance to "He was a Dandy". When Shirley is considering leaving her grandfather, she sings "Picture Me Without You".. Later, she sings the African American spiritual "Get on Board", with a blackface chorus behind her. The minstrel show after the play consists of Shirley singing and dancing in front of a large chorus of men in blackface, at least one of whom: Stepin Fetchit was an African American in blackface! The song was Dixie-anna, quite catchy for a show song.
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5/10
Likable film with some great character performers!
mark.waltz25 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Can you imagine Shirley Temple as one of the Bowery Boys? Well, here in 1852, she plays a ragamuffin street entertainer being raised by a pickpocket grandfather (lovable Frank Morgan). Dimples gets the attention of an aging society matron (equally lovable Helen Westley) who, for some reason, has a hatred of the theater and everything that it stands for. Her nephew (Robert Kent) wants to put on a Broadway production of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and use Dimples for the role of Little Eva. Desperate for money after being cheated into buying a fake watch for $800 of the show's money, Morgan agrees to let Westley take Temple in for $5000.00. Eventually, he sells HER the fake watch for $1000 and stays on with her to be with Shirley. The show goes on but when Westley finds out that the watch was fake, she tries to have Morgan arrested. But then she sees Temple on stage dying as Little Eva and has to face both her hatred towards the theater and her decision to imprison Temple's grandfather.

It's a predictable story with a few musical moments, including a minstrel show at the end that might raise a few eyebrows. But that was life in Hollywood in the 30's, and producers didn't think about who they might offend then, let alone the future. Add Stepin Fetchit as Westley's servant, and you have double the offense for some audiences.

Minus this socially unaware concept fortunately gone (but available to be seen to show how wrong it was), "Dimples" is a cute little film that was made during Temple's heyday as Box Office gold. She's always been a little too cutesy pie for my tastes, but I can understand how late depression audiences could take her into their hearts as a sign of hope for the future. I much prefer the talents of the veterans here, Frank Morgan and Helen Westley, who manage to avoid being background furniture when sharing scenes with her. They are adorable. Here, they are the type of grandparents many audiences could relate to or desire for their own. Morgan, rascally yet undeniably charming, and Westley, somewhat cranky, but oh, that heart of gold, are well paired here. Both had very long careers in films, and Westley seems to have been overlooked as a major character player. She could play gruff characters like Parthy in 1936's "Show Boat" or be lovable like the blind grandmother opposite Temple in "Heidi". Try not to fall in love with her here or in the 1937 Loretta Young screwball comedy "Cafe Metropole". She's also wonderful in the 1934 version of "Anne of Green Gables".

While not outstanding, "Dimples" is still quite likable in spite of its shortcomings. Overlook the bad taste of black-face and stereotypes and a cute little film emerges.
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3/10
Dimples is a primer on stereotyping of Blacks
murraygewirtz12 June 2009
Parents should not allow their small children to watch Dimples any more than they should allow them to watch excessively violent, sexually explicit or profane movies, as they would be exposed to egregious stereotypes of Black people. The movie should be viewed by students of film, sociology and American history so they might have a better understanding of the negative, demeaning attitudes toward Blacks so prevalent in the U.S. until relatively recently, traces of which still exist. The picture has Stepin Fetchit playing a servant to Frank Morgan as if he has an IQ of 10. It has a "play-within-a play" performance of scenes from Uncle Tom's Cabin featuring Whites in ludicrous black-face complete with white sugar donut lips. It's ironic that the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was intended as an abolitionist work, and indeed did arouse sympathy for Blacks, (so much so that President Lincoln called its author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, "The little lady who started the Civil War") while this movie, in which Uncle Tom's Cabin plays a prominent part, is, by enlightened standards, crudely racist.

If you can overlook the above racism, and I I'd like to know who can, Shirley Temple is adorable as usual, dancing wonderfully, though her singing voice, albeit cute, leaves something to be desired, as always. Frank Morgan gives an admirable performance as a charming con man thief.

But, all in all, Dimples is a children's movie that is no longer, if it ever was, suitable for children. If you doubt this, Just picture the Obamas screening it for their daughters.
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6/10
slow, rarely interesting
talking_tree11 January 2003
I usually really like watching the old and charming Shirley Temples. But this one, Dimples, just simply isn´t a very good movie. Some fairly good actors are in it but all together it´s very tiring and unrealistic little film. Shirley´s charisma just doesn´t hit it this time. And when it doesn´t hit, the only thing that shows is her acting which is not anything special. The only quite good thing is the songs and dance rutines but other wise: boring. Also it just shines out how bad possition black actors had in Hollywood on the 30s. This is not Shirley´s best, watch Curly top or The Little Princess instead.
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4/10
A Hard To Love Temple Movie
jdc1214 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
While most of Shirley Temple's movies are quite cute and quaint, there were too many cringe-inducing factors in this one to recommend it. From the outset, it is hard to feel anything but disdain for Frank Morgan's character. The Professor, as he's known in the film, is the grandfather of "Dimples", and her sole guardian. He's a thief and a swindler, and, even though he knows his actions hurt his little granddaughter, he refuses to mend his ways. One hopes for the entire movie that she will eventually leave him behind. Sadly, it never happens, and one can only imagine what type of life she will lead as she grows older.

Another cringe-inducting factor about the film is large number of scenes which involve black-face. Now let me first state that I am NOT one who promotes political correctness when it comes to old movies, or one who gets upset at the slightest thing which could be taken as "racist". I enjoy the actors Stepin Fetchit (who also happens to be in this movie) and Willie Best, have seen most of the Charlie Chan movies, and get royally ticked off when one of the DVD studios (usually Warner Brothers) warns me that what I'm about to watch is "wrong now, and was wrong then". I recognize old movies are a sign of their time. I don't need to be lectured like an elementary school student.

However, I have to believe that even in 1936, I would have felt a little uneasy with all of the black-face scenes in this film. The one with "Topsy" made me especially uncomfortable.

That said, there were still some good moments in the film. Shirley's dancing numbers were, as usual, quite enjoyable, and Stepin Fetchit was as funny as always. However, if I were rating Shirley Temple films, this would be at the bottom of the long list of her movies I have seen to date.

As for the DVD, I viewed the Fox release from 2006. I understand from other reviews on-line that the picture is superior to the previous Fox release in 2002. However, that must mean that the 2002 release was mighty poor, as the newer one still has moments when the picture is extremely soft, or extremely dark. Still, overall, it is a has a very watchable picture.

The extras include only two trailers for other Temple movies, a very short Movietone news clip, and a colorized abomination of the film in question. And, of course, Fox must insult the person who buys this film with a loud accusational anti-theft PSA before they even get to the menu.
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10/10
Musical Set Race Relations Back 500 Years!
arete500026 December 2008
Minstrel Shows, Stepin Fetchit, Blackface........kind of makes you long for the good old days when the colored knew their place. Negroes far and wide will once more call for their mammies when they take a gander at this 79 minute romp in the antebellum South. Shirley Temple couldn't have poisoned the well more if she came out and tap danced in a Klan hood. Once more playing the adorable waif (cast with the kind-hearted but sketchy grandfatherly type), Dimples shuffles her way into your big ol' racist heart with a big helping of maudlin sentimentality. Zanuck proved that with a commodity like Temple, no script was too hokey. Spike Lee could learn a thing or two about directing from this one. Who says the Hollywood musical is dead?
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3/10
Limited Suffering
kenjha20 October 2008
A rich woman wants to adopt a sweet, young street performer, but things are complicated by the latter's thieving grandfather. Shirley gets to dance and act cute. She also gets to display her dramatic side in an enactment of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" that brings tears to one's eyes, not because it is moving, but because it is painful to watch. Morgan made some fine films, but this is not one of them. He does the best he can as Shirley's greedy grandfather, who considers selling Shirley for $5000. There is an uninteresting romantic subplot involving the rich woman's nephew. The best thing to be said about this film is that it is only 79 minutes long, limiting the audience's pain and suffering.
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4/10
I love movies from the 30's and 40's but
browser-425 May 2008
This was not one of Shirley Temple's better films and the cast didn't help much. There are several actors and actresses in the film that I like but they couldn't bring the film through to a good movie. The acting was so-so and the script didn't help much at all.

Stepin Fetchit did well in a non-credited role but didn't save the movie.

In addition Frank Morgan seemed to me to be sleepwalking his way through his role.

Some of the cast did what they could but the vehicle didn't allow them to do what they could.

All that said, little Miss Temple did what she did so well and almost managed to make it a good movie. She was, however, cast in a mediocre film but was still entertaining. Watch it for her performance.

I did winced at the blackface ... 70 years DOES make difference.
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