Saturday, March 5, 2016

General Spanky (1936)

Our Gang (or The Little Rascals) make a feature film set at the beginning of the Civil War. Buckwheat is a slave on a riverboat, whose master calls him something. When slave owner disembarks, he realizes he is missing one of his slaves. So, Buckwheat goes around looking for someone to be his master. He befriends Spanky, falls off the boat, live with a kindly slave owner (which apparently is a thing), and try to thwart a Yankee attack. Boy, is this a movie that didn't need to exist.

To force myself to play Devil's advocate, I will mention that the Yankees were not depicted as evil. And that Spanky chooses to be Buckwheat's friend rather than his master. But it does present the idea of good vs. evil slave owners, effectively glossing over the tragedy of slavery. Something acceptable in 1936 but not today. What is not acceptable in any day is how unoriginal, unfunny, and otherwise uninteresting this film is.

I understand that movies making light of slavery and the civil war were made, and General Spanky was no Birth of a Nation, but still. If the best you can say about this uninteresting, unfunny, sometimes tedious film is that it could have been worse, then consider giving it a wide berth. AMRU 2.
"Here I is!"

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