An early product of the Hal Roach/Pathe period of Hal Roach Studios, COMMENCEMENT DAY is so good at capturing a time and place, that today it serves as a window to its production date.
Centering around the closing days of the school year, this is a view into the life of a one-room schoolhouse. This type of learning institution has long vanished from the landscape being continued in Amish communities and such.
We get kid-centric amusement as various skills of music are performed by youngsters who were probably coaxed by parents to take up the instruments used.
The black kids (Earnest "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison and Allen "Farina" Hoskins) are mysteriously absent from the classroom sessions but interact through a window and a doorway. Of course explaining why they weren't allowed would put a damper on the lively proceedings.
The prominent kids (Mickey Daniels, Joe Cobb, and Mary Kornman) are natural and appealing. Expressions are persuaded once again by Robert (Bob) Mcgowen who directed most of the silent and the sound era shorts up to the mid 1930's. He had been a fireman who had been injured but Hal Roach gave him the position because he had a natural rapport with children.
Comedies of that era saw amusement in throwing insects and frogs at people.
Now we have fart jokes.
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