Auto Antics (1939) Poster

(1939)

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Lazy and Boring
Michael_Elliott13 February 2013
Auto Antics (1939)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

The gang have their dog taken from the dog-keeper because it doesn't have a license. The kids then join a soap box race hoping to win so that they can take the prize money and get their dog back. AUTO ANTICS follows DOG DAZE and the two films have a lot in common. One thing is that they both feature dogs in the plot. The second thing is that both films are actually very, very bad and it's hard to tell which one is worse because both stink so bad. This one here just has an overall lazy feel to it because not only are the jokes not funny but I'd say the entire picture just seems cheap. Take a look at a sequence where a couple kids go flying into some water and you can see both of them hanging by wires. There's not even an attempt to try and make this sequence look real or even hire the wires. You can tell from this that no one really cared how obvious it was. Even the kids are pretty bland here with none of them really standing out among the pack. The film thankfully runs less than 10-minutes because had it been longer then it really would have been painful. I think this here is only going to be recommended to Our Gang fans who must watch them all.
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7/10
Auto Antics marked Porky's final appearance in the Our Gang series
tavm17 January 2015
This M-G-M comedy short, Auto Antics, is the one hundred eighty-third entry in the "Our Gang" series and the ninety-fifth talkie. Hoping to win the soap box derby, Spanky and Alfalfa have their wheels given an extra spark for speed. Butch, also wanting to win, decides to sabotage them before the race while also getting the gang's stray dog, Whiskers, to the dogcatcher who demands $3 for a license. Since that's the race's first prize, Spank and Alf have an extra incentive now...This was another pretty enjoyable short in the series. So on that note, Auto Antics is worth a look. P.S. This was Eugene "Porky" Lee's final appearance in the series. He was growing much faster than everyone else in the gang with the result he was losing his cuteness. So he moved back home in Texas and endured constant teasing to the point of not revealing his famous past for awhile. He endured, however, when he became a teacher and was gifted in treating troubled students. When he reemerged in public, he embraced the recognition wholeheartedly, accepting an honorary award from the Society of Cinephiles in 1989 and reuniting with Tommy "Butch" Bond later in life. By that time, he went by the name Gordon, in honor of his favorite mentor-Gordon Douglas. He died on October 16, 2005.
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6/10
I like the cars
dbborroughs24 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
As with most of the MGM series this is an overly busy story of the kids needing to win a soap box derby so that they can get the money to get their dog back from the dog catcher.

Containing some fair jokes and lots of rear screen work this is an okay film that seems to be much too rushed. The reason the film exists is the actual race, and that is often a thing of beauty. I really enjoyed it, but then most of my memories of the earlier Hal Roach series is the kid made cars and machines that often appeared in the films. The problem is that the film's plot has too much going on with the result that when the race ends the film has to speed to the ending much too quickly. If you like kid made cars give it a shot
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6/10
The race is nice
xidax22 December 2000
However, the film could have been a lot better than it was. The kids are all getting noticeably older, especially the previously noted Alfalfa and Spanky, who speak in a gosh-wow way that not only trammels the whole picture with that MGM goodygoody feeling but is age-inappropriate as well. If MGM wanted to use ten and eleven year olds, okay, but they should have adjusted the plots and such accordingly. The rest of the gang comes off better, especially Butch. This is one of the five or six shorts that got recycled into the plot of the 1994 LITTLE RASCALS remake, and it's the only one that was actually improved in the retelling.
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It was all downhill from here
C. L. Huang22 September 2000
One of MGM's most foolish decisions regarding OUR GANG - in a year when those seemed to be increasing exponentially - was to dismiss Porky Lee after this short. He had certainly outgrown his original persona as the tiniest of the Rascals, but so what? Previously, the little kids in the gang became the big kids in the gang. If anyone should have been discharged at that point, it's the prepubescent Spanky and Alfalfa, who were no longer very convincing as naive innocents.

The five-year-old Lee wasn't as outstanding a talent as those two, but he had a reserved charm of his own that was missed in subsequent films where even the best of them started overacting like hand puppets. Even worse, his exit ended one of the series' finest virtues - his rapport with Buckwheat. And by the time AUTO ANTICS was made, OUR GANG needed all the virtue it could get.

Anyway, the film itself isn't bad. It has a few inspired ideas. It isn't up there with MEN IN FRIGHT and MIGHTY LAK A GOAT, but it's closer to those than it is to DOG DAZE and WEDDING WORRIES.
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