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The Little Rascals: Pirates of Our Gang [DVD]

Release Date:09/20/2011
This release collects a half-dozen Little Rascals shorts including Shiver My Timbers, Mama's Little Pirate, Three Men in a Tub, Buried Treasure, Derby Days, and Our Gang Follies of 1938.
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    The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection [8 Discs] (DVD)  (English)  1929 - Larger Front

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    Special Features

    • Two Bonus & Un-Cut Little Rascals Episodes!


    Derby Day
    The Our Gang kids set up a concession stand across the street from the local racetrack. Befriending Mary Kornman, the daughter of a wealthy horse-owner, the youngsters gain free access to the track, and thrill to the sight of a race in progress. Thus inspired, the kids set up their own track and stage their own "champeenship" race, with the youthful jockeys astride such beasts of burden as cows, goats, and donkeys, and with the action covered by a junior-grade newsreel team (grinding away with a cigar-box camera). Inevitably, the race degenerates into a comic free-for-all and a climactic chase, but not before little Allen "Farina" Hoskins crosses the finish line on his trusty tricycle. Originally released in November of 1923, Derby Day was chosen some 37 years later as the "pilot" film for The Mischief Makers, a TV package primarily comprising abbreviated Our Gang silent comedies. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Shiver My Timbers
    The Our Gang kids spend so much time listening to the tall tales spun by a salty sea captain (Billy Gilbert) that they haven't any time to attend school. Their teacher Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe) angrily trails the kids to the docks, then gives the captain a piece of their mind. Apologizing, the captain suggests a drastic plan to cure the kids of their fondness for maritime stories, enlisting Miss Crabtree as co-conspirator. Inviting the youngsters to sign on as crew members, the captain orders them to board ship at midnight, whereupon he and his crew, disguised as buccaneers stage a mock pirate raid guaranteed to scare the kids out of his wits. But when the captain pretends to kidnap Miss Crabtree (who of course is in on the scheme), the kids vow to come to her rescue, turning the tables on the "pirates" in a most painful fashion. Originally released on October 10, 1931, "Shiver My Timbers" is a lesser but amusing "Our Gang" entry. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Our Gang Follies of 1938
    Briefly digressing from "Our Gang"'s new one-reel format, the series' December 18, 1937 release, Our Gang Follies of 1938, was expanded to two reels -- and the result is often considered to be the best "Gang" comedy of all. Another musical short in the tradition of Our Gang Follies of 1936 and Reunion in Rhythm, this one begins in the basement "theater" of Spanky McFarland, who serves as emcee of a lavish kiddie revue, built primarily around the talents of Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, "King of the Crooners." Alas, Alfalfa has decided to forego swing music in favor of grand opera, and to that end he walks out of the show and heads to the Cosmopolitan Opera House, where Mr. Barnaby (Henry Brandon), the troupe's bemused manager, jokingly signs Alfalfa to a contract -- effective twenty years later. Falling asleep, Alfalfa begins dreaming of his future, envisioning his name in lights all over Broadway. Alfie's dream turns into a nightmare when he loses his "gift" on the eve of his operatic debut, whereupon the now aged and wizened Barnaby forces the hapless crooner to sing in the streets. Our hero is rescued when he ventures into fashionable Club Spanky, where lead singer Darla Hood and orchestra leader Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas are now making "hundreds of thousands of dollars." Though at first insisting that he's a "slave to his art," Alfie finally breaks down and agrees to return to crooning -- but his dream, and the film, aren't quite over yet. Seldom has the imagination of a child been so vividly conveyed as in Our Gang Follies of 1938, wherein the standard "show-biz movie" cliches are played out and exaggerated for all they're worth. As a bonus, the film scores as both an uproarious comedy and a legitimately entertaining musical. Highlights include Alfalfa's unforgettable renditions of "I'm the Barber of Seville" and "Learn to Croon"; Darla's interpretation of "The Love Bug Will Get You If You Don't Watch Out"; "Loch Lomond", performed by Annabella Logan (who grew up to become fabled jazz singer Annie Ross); and "That Foolish Feeling" and "There's No Two Ways About It", sung and danced by Georgia Jean LaRue and Phil MacMahon. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Three Men in a Tub
    Seven-year-old heartbreaker Darla Hood throws her steady beau Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer over in favor of wealthy Waldo (Darwood Kaye), who owns a junior-sized motorboat. Determined to win Darla back, Alfalfa challenges Waldo to a boat race for the championship of Toluca Lake. Alfie's vessel is a typical spit-and-vinegar "Our Gang" creation, powered by a couple of overworked ducks. Despite his amateurish means of conveyance, Alfalfa not only defeats Waldo, but also gets a chance to play hero by rescuing Darla from a watery fate. Could those little nemeses Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas and Eugene "Porky" Lee have had anything to do with Waldo's downfall? A slick and entertaining single-reel effort, Three Men in a Tub was originally released on March 26, 1938. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Mama's Little Pirate
    The first in a brace of "Our Gang" fantasy outings, "Mama's Little Pirate" begins when the mother of Spanky McFarland refuses to allow him to participate in a treasure hunt in a nearby cave (actually a spooky standing set left over from the 1934 Laurel and Hardy feature Babes in Toyland). Confined to his room, Spanky argues with his "inner self", who advises him to disobey his mother and join the rest of the Gang in their search for buried treasure. Though the kids miraculously unearth a fortune in gold and jewels, their triumph nearly turns to disaster when they encounter a surly giant (played by 7'6" Tex Madsen). Originally released on November 3, 1934, "Mama's Little Pirate" is enchanced by LeRoy Shield's brilliant background music composition "Cascadia", originally written for the equally thrilling "Boy Friends" comedy Air Tight (1931). Though he has never admitted it, Steven Spielberg may well have used this humble two-reeler as the inspiration for his own comedy-adventure feature The Goonies (1985). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Buried Treasure
    Once again, the Our Gang kids embark upon a treasure hunt, this time in search of Captain Kidd's buried gold. Boarding their own version of a luxury yacht, the kids end up marooned on Catalina Island, where by an amazing coincidence a group of moviemakers have converged to film a jungle epic. It is only a matter of time before the kids and the actors -- dressed as cannibals and wild animals -- converge upon each other. It is equally inevitable that the youngsters will end up outsmarting the adults, this time with the help of some booby-trapped coconuts. The silent, two-reel Our Gang comedy Buried Treasure was originally released on February 14, 1926. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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