Craftily playing both the sides of the north and the south, the script from The Littlest Rebel throws a lot of dialog pertaining to the Confederacy. All cruelty and bitterness has been scrupulously patterned and the Civil War comes out as a misapprehension and misunderstanding among kind gentlemen with happy slaves and an adorable little girl singing and dancing through the story.When The Littlest Rebel was first shown on the screen, the United States of America was suffering from the Great Depression. Although the New Deal programs of President Roosevelt helped ease the financial and economic devastation, the programs had not completely restored the prosperity or brought a complete end to the human suffering and pain. To the people with the depression-heavy heart, The Littlest Rebel was a godsend. This angelic cheerful film made audiences leave the theatre with the feeling of hope, like they were strong enough to survive the painful and bad times.
The Littlest Rebel pacified its weary audience by reinforcing and encouraging black stereotypes as well as by minimizing the disruptive emotions brought by the Civil War.The picture opens just before the declaration of war. The child is throwing a party to all the well-off children of the elites and aristocrats of Virginia and a good sly comedy is then slipped in on the table, and afterwards, when the kids skipped the minuet with refined dignity.
The war brings consecutive losses concluding in the mother’s (Karen Morley) death.One of the best parts of the film was when Shirley Temple climbs on the lap of President Lincoln, saves John Boles from the firing squad, and hums and sings the “Polly Wolly Doodle” song in her Christmas photo taken at the Radio City Music Hall. It seems an exciting slice of meringue and the most pleasant item where the baby has recently appeared. Edwin Burke has effectively worked up a nice deal of fun and brightness on the twaddle of the film. Bill Robinson is ready to tap out excellent numbers with the girl and Shirley continues to be the most unbelievable child in the world.Although the Civil War and the Great Depression were incredibly sad and bad times in the American history, their memories become even sadder and worse when recalling the futile prejudice endured by the African Americans.
It is such a shame that even before and after the Civil War, the people’s race continued to be discriminated and stereotyped. Films like The Littlest Rebel made Americans realize how slow and difficult the fight against prejudice and intolerance can be. It is simply a realization that as long as people lift themselves to bring other people down, racism will not end and will just continue to be a bad spot on the American’s conscience.Reference:DeSylva, B.
(Producer), & Butler, D. (Director). (1935). The Littlest Rebel [Motion Picture].
USA: 20th Century Fox.