Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wiggle Your Ears - 1929

American movie. Ear wiggling--girls can't help falling in love with boys who can do it. Wheezer thinks it's ridiculous.
Authors Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann rightly characterize "Wiggle Your Ears," a 1929 Our Gang short silent film as "an amusing but absolutely bizarre two-reeler." [from their book: THE LITTLE RASCALS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF OUR GANG] That assessment is spot on in terms of both story and cinematography (the use of disarmingly extreme close-ups).
In this video, you will see that ear-wiggler Harry Spear and blonde bombshell Jean Darling make a cute, but ultimately tragic couple. You will witness Mary Ann Jackson rising from the ashes of thankless toil and heartbreaking despair to fall in love with faux-ear-wiggler Joe Cobb. You will see a bemused contribution by Farina. Best of all, you will behold Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins—willing to connive at deception by pulling Joe;s ear(s) with a string, but who remains absolutely (and wonderfully) unimpressed and derisive about everybody's actions. ("Wheezer" was Our Gang's resident raspberry expert.)
These kids were cast members of Hal Roach's Our Gang on the eve of the motion-picture-sound revolution. They may have been succeeded by the most popular Rascals of all--e.g. Spanky, Darla, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Porky, Butch, et al.--but they were no less charismatic and fun to watch. Their delightful work deserves public rediscovery. This video provides one means to that end.

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