Hal Roach's silent shorts distributed by MGM are hard to find because they were never released to either the home market like his earlier movies, distributed by Pathe, but this one turned up in a nicely tinted copy derived from the French release.
It's a bit weak for Our Gang. Jean Darling is the poor-little rich-girl and her father has invited the gang in for a party. Since it's April Fool's Day, he's wired the house to give the guests electric shocks, is offering them food made of sponge rubber and similar gags. Only Jay Smith as a Little Lord Fauntleroy type of kid is in on the gag, and he uses it to torment the kids.
As usual, it's fun to watch the kids behave as kids, and Miss Darling is pretty good. Most engaging, though, are Mary Jane Jackson, whose wide-eyed, confused reaction to the weirdness is the only thing that makes sense,and of course, Pete the Pup (who's called "Pansy" in several of the silents, for reasons I don't understand. Pete's real name was Pal and he rose to fame playing Tige in a weird series of Buster Brown shorts for Century Films before he debuted with the Rascals in 1927. He was a regular until 1931, then retired (except for a cameo in a Bob Hope short in 1935) and lived until 1946, a fine age for the best dog in the movies.
Over all, though, it's rather crueler to the kids than I like, and far more calculated than the good ones. Even so, it's good to have.
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