The Little Colonel Film Review
The Little Colonel cover picture.
Year released: 1935
Running time: 1 hr 21 mins
Producer: Buddy G. DeSylva
Director: David Butler
Genre: Musical, Family, Comedy
Box Office: $1.2 million (approx)
Distributor: Fox Film
Shirley Temple stars in The Little Colonel
As you have probably guessed by now, I'm a big fan of old and classic films. And with so many being freely available to watch on websites such as You Tube, I am inundated with a wealth of old movies to view. Shirley Temple was a big star as a little girl, and one move she starred in was The Little Colonel. Shirley Temple was just 7 yrs old when this film was made, and was already a huge and successful star in the USA and around the world. And this film contains the famous scene where she dances on the stairs with Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson. This film is based on the book written in 1895 by Annie Fellows Johnston.
Little Shirley Temple stars in this classic 1935 film as Lloyd Sherman. In the movie she comes from a somewhat troubled family. Her mother, Elizabeth, marries Jack Sherman. The Colonel tries to discourage his daughter from eloping and marrying Jack, but Elizabeth is having none of it. So when she does elope, she is subsequently disowned by her father, Colonel Lloyd. It is unfortunate that the Colonel does not like Yankee's, and is highly disapproving of his daughters choice of man to marry. When Elizabeth has a daughter, Lloyd, they move south in America. They move into a cottage close to where Elizabeth's father lives in a mansion. Lloyd learns about the difficulties of her mothers past from the housekeeper, Mom Beck. Throughout the film we see how Elizabeth and her father struggle with their relationship. The colonel is a stubborn man and through Lloyd, we see how she slowly begins to melt the Colonels heart. We also see her playing the Colonel dressing up as a Colonel and telling the men to stand at ease. I found this part of the movie quite cute and comical to watch. It's funny seeing such a little girl being so serious and bossing these big men around. Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson plays Walker, the butler. It is interesting seeing the interactions between him and Shirley Temple and their dance scenes in the film.
The main cast in the film
Elizabeth Lloyd Sherman
Shirley Temple & Bill Robinson
General thoughts about the film
What I like about films from years ago is that seems to be a kind of innocence about them. There's no swearing or violence in this film. It's just a nice, heartwarming film of how a family is torn apart by differences of opinions, and how a little girl helps to rebuild relationships. Shirley Temple is clearly the star of the show with her acting, singing and dancing. She was definitely a star in her time, and this comes through on screen.
The scene where she dances on the staircase with Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson is a lighthearted scene in the film. The little frown she has on her face at the beginning of the scene is really cute. But when she starts dancing on the staircase with him, it will lift your spirits and make you smile. The acting in the film was really good too. Given it was made in 1935, I particularly like how they filmed the scenes with Shirley Temple and Bill Walker dancing and singing. And considering she was so young, it's remarkable how she could sing and act so well for her age.
The story is enlightening and an uplifting tale of family relationships and how families can reunite and come together. At nearly 1 and a half hours long, I really enjoyed this film. Shirley Temple is a name that virtually everyone around the world has heard of, and her part in this film just shows what a talented little young girl she was. It is worth watching this if you like these types of films, just to remind yourself how well made and innocent they were made.