Polly Tix in Washington (1933) Poster

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4-year-old Shirley as a call girl???
JohnnyOldSoul29 December 2000
This is one truly bizarre film! The "Baby Burlesks" were a series of short films intended as an answer to the hugely popular "Our Gang" series, but in the "Burlesks" toddlers enacted adult roles with truly twisted and shocking results.

In this outing, 4-year-old Shirley Temple plays Polly Tix, a high-priced call girl who is sent by corrupt officials to influence a backwoods politician. There's racial stereotypes, racy dialogue and a rather bizarre cake fight. Little Shirley sashays across the screen in a manner that would make Madonna blush. Despite the lewdness of these little films, they are rather interesting, giving us a glimpse of a time when people thought differently than we do now, and child actors were merely cashcows for greedy studios and stage parents. (of course, that may still be the case today.)

Some other films in this series of child exploitation include: "War Babies," "Kid 'N' Africa," and "Kid 'N' Hollywood" in which Shirley Temple plays a Marlene-esque character called Morelegs Sweettrick! Reprehensable? Perhaps, depending on what their original intent was, but still an important capsule of our past.

These films are available on video in several collections, including Goodtimes Home Video's "Shirley Temple Festival" on the same tape as "The Little Princess" (1939).
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An enlightened look at Shirley Temples Cinema beginnings
yvonnemc-110 February 2007
At first I thought the little darlings were cute but my heart sunk, feeling like some old pervert who had money had taken advantage of innocence and the poor. Then I found it to be of great value to me. We are a spoiled society in a time when we have so much and appreciate so little. These films were made during the great depression¬Ö very harsh times when people were starving, broken, lost everything and the films are a peek into what life was like. The comments say a great deal about that time in history, and although it seems distasteful at first, you still can't help but appreciate how talented Shirley Temple was at such an early age!

Why would anyone even allow someone to depict the little ones in such a way? Child porn, incest and other abuses were handled differently then and usually considered nobody's business as well. We didn't have the laws we presently have and I think we should be appreciative of the lessons that show us just how far we have come in both our technology and our laws of humanity in less than a century. We should also be grateful to those who pioneered the whole process, both the victims and the heroes. A picture speaks a thousand words and I see these little films as a valuable piece of our history.

The time that most of us know Shirley Temple best for was during World War II when she gave us all hope (Such as "The Little Princess"). Shirley Temple gave us what we needed most in a time when we had so many devastating losses. She was America's Little Sweetheart who later became an ambassador to the United States since she had spent her life knowing how to deal with dignitaries from foreign countries. We owe her respect and a thank you in a big way and these early films show us that her successes and contributions were not from easy beginnings or for free!
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Bizarre, strange, but somehow cute.
gkeith_114 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Trashy little characters, played by talented children. How exploitative. I think it was pre-code (I studied history of theatrical censorship recently in college). It was satirical, and a takeoff on all the adults.

The African-American children played stereotypes. This was common then. This movie was made way before the civil rights movement, and way before someone alluded that it was better to be paid a lot of money playing a maid than being one in real life.

The diapers were corny and too revealing. The bar scene was hilarious. All this made-up stuff reminded me of the set of dog films (same time period?) where dogs talked, were dressed in people clothes and hats, and made to walk on their hind legs to mimic people, all the while acting out scenes like domestic abuse and divorce. Ugh.

This was still a fascinating window into an earlier time. I liked the part of "a lollipop in every fist", lol. I was thinking of the current political scene, where politicians try to make promises before they actually go to Washington. Remember "a chicken in every pot", lol? It was before my time, but I heard about it.
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Young kids posing as politicians
Horst_In_Translation15 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Polly Tix in Washington" is an American 10-minute black-and-white film from 1933, so almost 85 years old now and from the earlier days of sound film. The director is the highly prolific Russian-born Charles Lamont, but the star in here is of course Shirley Temple who plays the title character, probably the biggest (small) child actress from her time. This is a political movie with very young kids playing grown-up characters, so of course this one can only be appreciated as a comedy, but not even there I found it entertaining or funny. It is black-and-white in the original, even if there is a colored version out as well. What else can you say here. Seeing the success of the Rascals etc., it's obvious people liked really young kids in front of the camera back then posing as adults as you can also see by the characters' clothes, but I don't think the films have aged too well, also because of revelations about how these kids were treated pretty badly during the shootings. But completely aside from the production circumstances, I would say that this was not an engaging watch by any means as it just wasn't funny at all and the dramatic significance of the story was lost entirely. But you can't blame the kids here really. They were just tools of those in charge. I give this little film a thumbs-down. Don't watch.
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Just Awful
filmloverlady3 August 2005
Why anyone would want to scantily dress little children, put them in adult situations and call this entertainment is beyond me. I mistakenly got this on DVD from Netflix as I thought it was a documentary of her early films. The quality is horrible and no entertainment value at all- Totally weird!!! I have a feeling that even Shirley would cringe at the thought that these early 'films' were released on DVD. There are so many better Shirley Temple films, yet those are not out on DVD, but this junk is! Go Figure????? I would love to see a boxed set of some of her later films when she was still a teen-ager. I think the movie studios need to get their act together and give us some of the films that were never released on VHS-
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Yet another stupid and nasty little film.....
MartinHafer14 December 2012
"Shirley Temple's mother designed the black lace panties and bra worn by Temple".

The above comment is from IMDb and pretty much sums up why I hated this film and the other 'Kiddie Burlesque' films Educational Pictures made with Shirley Temple at the beginning of her career. The joke in the films consisted of very, very young children dressing and acting like adults--and in many suggestive and sexually inappropriate situations. Like the rest, Shirley amazes the audience with her singing and dancing--which, frankly, was terrible as any child's SHOULD have been at that age. Sure, she quickly developed into an amazing actress--but here, watching her is like going to watch a school pageant--and NO ONE would pay to watch that! Combined with the creepy factor, this is NOT a film that normal folks would readily enjoy. Beware.
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Shirley Temple Goes to Washington!
Sylviastel13 May 2014
Shirley Temple starred in many short films before the feature length productions. As a performer in the Great Depression, money was tight everywhere including Hollywood. This film shows kids playing adults who are in politicians in Washington D.C. This film short captures the silliness and foolishness of politics that probably occurs there. Shirley Temple is fine as Polly Tix. The other cast members who are all kids seem to realize the nonsense. While its a satirical take on politics, the kids probably act better than the actual adults. Still disturbed by the boys without shirts in these short films. The kid actors were obviously exploited and poorly paid. Maybe an investigation should take place to know more about how these children performers fared during and after.
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