Dimples Appleby lives with the pick-pocket grandfather in 19th century New York City. She entertains the crowds while he works his racket. A rich lady makes it possible for the girl to go legit. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is performed.
After Southern belle Elizabeth Lloyd runs off to marry Yankee Jack Sherman, her father, a former Confederate colonel during the Civil War, vows to never speak to her again. Several years ... See full summary »
Shirley Temple's father, a rebel officer, sneaks back to his rundown plantation to see his family and is arrested. A Yankee takes pity and sets up an escape. Everyone is captured and the ... See full summary »
Eddie Ellison is an ex-con who spent time in Sing-Sing prison. Kay marries him as soon as he serves his time. Five years later, Eddie and his ex-convict buddy Larry, have both gone straight... See full summary »
Wealthy Edward Morgan becomes charmed with a curly-haired orphan and her pretty older sister Mary and arranges to adopt both under the alias of "Mr. Jones." As he spends more time with them, he soon finds himself falling in love with Mary.
Little Martha Jane, aka Little Miss Marker (Temple) is left with the bookmaker Sorrowful Jones by her dad as part of a bet on a horserace. Sorrowful (Menjou) and his group of fellow bookies... See full summary »
Dimples is a busker - a street entertainer, and lives in mid-19th century New York City's Bowery with her kindhearted but pickpocketing Grandfather, Prof. Eustace Appleby. Dimples is a talented child and is hired to perform at a party in the home of Mrs. Caroline Drew, an elderly widow living in Washington Square. Dimples delights the gathering and charms not only the elderly mistress of the house but her nephew Allen as well, a theatrical producer betrothed to a lovely society belle. Allen engages Dimples to perform the role of Little Eva in his production of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" while Mrs. Drew makes it possible for Dimples to remain in her genteel home and enjoy its benefits. Various complications ensue and Dimples bravely makes the decision to sacrifice her happiness to return to her slum dwelling Grandfather. Mrs. Drew traces Dimples's whereabouts and convinces Prof. Appleby that his lovely granddaughter deserves something better than a life of poverty and crime in the Bowery. The...Written by
Two lines in the end cast list credits are subject to two different interpretations: "Children's Band ... Leonard Kibrick" and "Walter and George Weidler." The IMDb cast lists three actors: Leonard Kibrick Warner, Walter Weidler and George Weidler. However, The AFI Catalogue lists four actors: Leonard Kibrick, Warner Weidler, Walter Weidler and George Weidler. See more »
The movie is set in 1850 but the song, "Little Brown Jug" (heard during a scene), was not written until 1869. See more »
Although Stepin Fetchit is in the opening and closing credits of the original 1936 release, a video release and some prints completely eliminate his name from the credits. The Fox Movie Channel broadcasts the original version. It is not known why two different versions were made. See more »
People are often made uncomfortable by elements that reveal racial attitudes in old movies, but those elements can make the movie fascinating. "Dimples", which is set in the 1850s before the Civil War, often makes explicit references to slavery and also reveals 1930s stereotypes. (Also, the movie keeps referring to "the depression," drawing parallels to the '30s.)
The opening legend calls attention, with deliberate irony, to the fact that some young radicals are questioning "that respectable institution of slavery". Then we see Shirley dancing with black and white street orphans, implying that they are equal in their economic straits. Stepin Fetchit has an important but unbilled role as Frank Morgan's servant (who isn't a slave, but isn't getting paid either). Black servants are shown everywhere, especially at Mrs. Drew's house.
Two plot points are important. The central question is whether Mrs. Drew will "buy" Shirley for $5000, and the characters go back and forth on this question. On the night of the debut of the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" play, Mrs. Drew arrests Frank Morgan (in disguise as Uncle Tom). Then while watching Shirley's death scene in the play, where she begs for Uncle Tom to be free, Mrs. Drew "frees Uncle Tom" (letting Morgan go). Shirley converts Mrs. Drew's impulse to "enslave" people.
We see (with historical accuracy) that the play uses white actors in blackface--but in a curious twist, the play closes with a "new entertainment from the South," a minstrel show with the actual black performers (including Fetchit) pretending to be white actors in blackface. These elements make some viewers uncomfortable, but if you can watch critically, it reveals how the movie was attempting at some level to recognize and deal with unpleasant realities of U.S. history and address freedom, equality, and integration in disguise as entertainment. The Hall Johnson Choir appear, and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson choreographed the dances.
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