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  • Little Rascals (1933) - Diamond Classic Collection DVD Vol. 4
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Little Rascals (1933) - Diamond Classic Collection DVD Vol. 4


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Editorial Reviews

Children, with their fusion of innocence and mischief, can be natural comedians, and The Little Rascals plunders youthful exuberance for all it's worth. This series of short films (a.k.a. Our Gang) is most famous for a handful of glorious imps: Spanky, the scheming ringleader; Alfalfa, the softhearted second-in-command; and Buckwheat, with his skeptical sideways looks and big smiles. But over the years there were dozens of Rascals, and The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection features just about all of them, spanning 80 talkie shorts (with three silent shorts included in the extra features). Historians and nostalgists speak fondly about how natural the kids were, but that's nonsense--the kids that stand out are the ones who act like little adults, such as when Jackie and Chubby compete for their pretty schoolteacher's affections, or when Spanky and Alfalfa conduct the He-Man Woman Haters Club like middle-aged Shriners, or when the kids all put on a show (the Our Gang Follies in 1936 and 1938 are pretty impressive theatrical spectacles). The earlier years were rougher in structure and more improvisational, but as the series went along it became more scripted and shaped. Contemporary audiences are likely to prefer these later productions. The Little Rascals can also righteously claim to be a racial groundbreaker, with its depiction of African-American and white kids playing together, with black kids--particularly Matthew Stymie Beard--frequently taking the lead in the shenanigans. Nonetheless, viewers should be prepared for stereotypes, all common to the era and without any real malice, but hardly pleasant. This painful element gets addressed in several of the bonus features; in one of four interviews with surviving Rascals, Dickie Moore reflects acutely on the racism of the time and tells some powerful anecdotes. All of these interviews are fascinating and among the best reasons for any fan of The Little Rascals to own this set--though this incredible abundance of Little Rascals material seems pretty must-have for anyone with fond memories of watching these kids, either on TV or the big screen.

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