Deep In The Dial: The Littlest Rebel (1935)


Film lovers can count on MOVIES! to show classic movies. On Sunday night MOVIES! graced us with the honor of Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra. For reasons that we may never discern, MOVIES! is airing a dark mark on Shirley Temple’s career with The Littlest Rebel.

The film will air tomorrow at 6:20 a.m. and again on Saturday, February 27, at 1:15 p.m.

Released in 1935, Temple stars as 6-year-old Virginie, the daughter of a Confederate spy jailed for treason. Virginie and her slave, Uncle Billy (Bill Robinson), dance through the streets to earn money so she can visit with President Lincoln and convince him to pardon her sack-of-crap father.

“My daddy couldn’t have done anything bad,” she promises Lincoln. Yeah, well, you own another human being, and your daddy owns a plantation, so I find your assertion hard to believe, kid. Your daddy fought for the Confederates so he could keep his Union plantation and all its slaves, so actually, your daddy doesn’t deserve the pardon a fictional Lincoln grants you at the end of this film.

In colorized clips posted on YouTube, the acting is over-the-top. Temple is disappointingly more akin to cardboard than the engaging child star she is remembered as so fondly.

If a viewing leaves you thirsty for vengeance, Django Unchained is streaming on Netflix and Nate Parker’s historical drama Birth of A Nation is likely to see an Oscars-season release at the end of the year.

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