The Little Rascals (film)

Last updated

The Little Rascals
Little rascals ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Penelope Spheeris
Screenplay byPaul Guay
Stephen Mazur
Penelope Spheeris
Story byPaul Guay
Stephen Mazur
Penelope Spheeris
Mike Scott
Robert Wolterstorff
Based on Our Gang
by Hal Roach
Produced byBill Oakes
Michael King
Gerald R. Molen
Starring
CinematographyRichard Bowen
Edited byRoss Albert
Peter Teschner
Music by William Ross
Production
companies
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • August 5, 1994 (1994-08-05)
Running time
82 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$67.3 million

The Little Rascals is a 1994 American family comedy film produced by Amblin Entertainment, and released by Universal Pictures on August 5, 1994. The film is an adaptation of Hal Roach's Our Gang , a series of short films of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s (many of which were broadcast on television as The Little Rascals) which centered on the adventures of a group of neighborhood children. Directed by Penelope Spheeris, who co-wrote the screenplay with Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur, the film presents several of the Our Gang characters in an updated setting, featuring re-interpretations of several of the original shorts. It is the first collaboration by Guay and Mazur, whose subsequent comedies were Liar Liar and Heartbreakers .

Contents

Another film based on Our Gang , The Little Rascals Save the Day , was released as a direct-to-video feature in 2014.

Plot

Spanky is the president of the "He-Man Woman ('woman' is misspelled as 'womun') Haters Club" with many school-aged boys from around the neighborhood as members. His best friend, Alfalfa, has been chosen as the driver for the club's prize-winning undefeated go-kart, "The Blur", in the annual Soap Box Derby style race. However, when the announcement is made, Alfalfa is nowhere to be found.

The boys catch Alfalfa in the company of Darla. The club's members try their hardest to break the two apart, eventually causing their beloved clubhouse to burn down. Darla is mistakenly led to believe Alfalfa feels ashamed of her, so she turns her attentions to Waldo, the new rich kid whose father is an oil tycoon. Spanky, Stymie and friends judge Alfalfa's punishment to be left guarding the go-kart day and night until the day of the race. Until that day comes, Alfalfa makes many attempts to woo back Darla including a visit to her ballet rehearsal, an undelivered love letter, and through serenade, all of which fail.

In order to rebuild their clubhouse, the boys try to fund-raise the cost of lumber, $450, but the youngest ones, Porky and Buckwheat, have unknowingly come up with $500. Their school teacher finds out about the scheme, but Spanky convinces her to use the funds as prize money for the go-kart derby.

"The Blur" is stolen by local bullies Butch and Woim. In addition to having to rebuild the clubhouse, the boys now need a new set of wheels. They band together to build "The Blur 2: The Sequel." Prior to race day, Spanky and Alfalfa reconcile and decide to ride in the two-seat go-kart together. They hope to win the prize money and the trophy, to be presented to the victors by the greatest racer of all, "A.J. Ferguson."

Butch and Woim make several sneaky attempts to stop Alfalfa and Spanky from winning the race. Waldo, who (seemingly) kicks out Darla from his race car, pulls a few tricks of his own. It's a wild race to the finish, but "The Blur 2" crosses the finish line ahead of the pack (and resulting in a photo-finish between "The Blur" and "The Blur 2" literally "by a hair" due to Alfalfa's pointy hairstyle), despite the many scrapes and crashes throughout the derby. When Butch and Woim try to beat up Alfalfa, he knocks Butch into pig slop and Woim throws himself in.

Along with first prize, Alfalfa also wins back Darla's heart after it turns out that Darla kicked Waldo out of the car, not the other way around. Spanky, meanwhile, is shocked at the trophy presentation when he finally meets his favorite driver, A.J. Ferguson -- "a girl!" As soon as the club house is rebuilt, the boys collectively have a change of heart toward membership and welcome Darla and friends to their club, with "Women Welcome" added to the sign.

At the end of the movie, it is revealed that Uh-Huh can say more than simply “Uh-Huh.” The movie closes with bloopers from the kids while filming.

Cast

Animals

Production

Bill Thomas Jr., son of the late Bill Thomas, who played the original Buckwheat, contacted the studio and was invited down to visit the set, but got the impression that the filmmakers did not want him or any of the surviving original cast members involved in any production capacity. The surviving cast members saw this as especially hurtful, in light of the fact that director Penelope Spheeris had previously made a point of including Buddy Ebsen, from the original Beverly Hillbillies , in her 1993 feature film adaptation of that series. Eugene Jackson, who played the original Pineapple from the silent Our Gang comedies, tried unsuccessfully to contact the studio to be a part of production, stated, "It's real cold. They have no respect for the old-timers. At least they could have recognized some of the living legends surviving from the first films." [3] Filming took place from January 11, 1994 to April 6, 1994.[ citation needed ]

Release

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 21% based on reviews from 14 critics as of December 2022. [4] On Metacritic it has a score of 45 out of 100 based on reviews from 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [5] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "A−" on scale of A to F. [6]

Brian Lowry of Variety magazine wrote: "Those who grew up watching The Little Rascals may well be intrigued by the idea of introducing their kids to this full-color, bigscreen version. Still, the challenge of stretching those mildly diverting shorts to feature length remains formidable, and one has to wonder whether an audience exists beyond nostalgic parents and their young children." [7]

Box office

The Little Rascals earned $10 million at the North American box office during its opening weekend. [8] [9] The film grossed a worldwide total of $67,308,282.

Repurposed scenes and situations

Many of the gags and subplots in the film were borrowed from the original Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts. These include:

Home media

The Little Rascals was released on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray in 1995, 2004, and 2014 respectively.

See also

Related Research Articles

The Little Rascals is a 30-minute Saturday morning animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and King World Productions. It first aired on ABC on September 25, 1982. A spin-off based on the live-action Our Gang comedy shorts, it was broadcast as part of The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show in 1982 and then as part of The Monchhichis/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show in 1983.

The Our Gang personnel page is a listing of the significant cast and crew from the Our Gang short subjects film series, originally created and produced by Hal Roach which ran in movie theaters from 1922 to 1944.

The following is a complete list of the 220 Our Gang short films produced by Hal Roach Studios and/or Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer between 1922 and 1944, numbered by order of release along with production order.

<i>Our Gang</i> Film series

Our Gang is an American series of comedy short films chronicling a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. Created by film producer Hal Roach, also the producer of the Laurel and Hardy films, Our Gang shorts were produced from 1922 to 1944, spanning the silent film and early sound film periods of American cinema. Our Gang is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way; Roach and original director Robert F. McGowan worked to film the unaffected, raw nuances apparent in regular children, rather than have them imitate adult acting styles. The series also broke new ground by portraying white and black children interacting as equals during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation in the United States.

<i>Our Gang Follies of 1938</i> 1937 American film

Our Gang Follies of 1938 is a 1937 American musical short subject, the 161st short subject entry in Hal Roach's Our Gang series. Directed by Gordon Douglas as a sequel to 1935's Our Gang Follies of 1936, the two-reel short was released to theaters on December 18, 1937 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

<i>Our Gang Follies of 1936</i> 1935 film

Our Gang Follies of 1936 is a 1935 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Gus Meins. Produced by Hal Roach and released to theaters by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it was the 140th Our Gang short to be released and the first of several musical entries in the series.

<i>Reunion in Rhythm</i> 1937 film

Reunion in Rhythm is a 1937 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas. It was the 150th Our Gang short that was released.

<i>Glove Taps</i> 1937 American film

Glove Taps is a 1937 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas. It was the 151st Our Gang short that was released.

<i>Hearts Are Thumps</i> 1937 film

Hearts Are Thumps is a 1937 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas. It was the 152nd Our Gang short released. An audio clip from the short was included in the beginning of the song "Tough Guys" by REO Speedwagon, from the album Hi Infidelity (1980).

<i>Three Smart Boys</i> 1937 American film

Three Smart Boys is a 1937 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas. It was the 153rd Our Gang short released.

<i>Rushin Ballet</i> 1937 film

Rushin' Ballet is a 1937 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas. It was the 154th Our Gang short that was released.

<i>Came the Brawn</i> 1938 film

Came the Brawn is a 1938 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas. Produced by Hal Roach and released to theaters by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it was the 165th entry in the Our Gang series.

<i>The Little Ranger</i> 1938 American film

The Little Ranger is a 1938 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas. It was the 169th short in the Our Gang series, and the first produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who purchased the rights to the series from creator Hal Roach.

<i>Party Fever</i> 1938 American film

Party Fever is a 1938 Our Gang short comedy film directed by George Sidney. It was the 170th Our Gang short that was released.

<i>Duel Personalities</i> 1939 American film

Duel Personalities is a 1939 Our Gang short comedy film directed by George Sidney. It was the 177th Our Gang short that was released.

<i>Cousin Wilbur</i> 1939 American film

Cousin Wilbur is a 1939 Our Gang short comedy film directed by George Sidney. It was the 179th Our Gang short that was released.

<i>Auto Antics</i> 1939 American film

Auto Antics is a 1939 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Edward Cahn. It was the 182nd Our Gang short that was released.

<i>Captain Spankys Showboat</i> 1939 American film

Captain Spanky's Show Boat is a 1939 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Edward Cahn. It was the 183rd Our Gang short that was released.

The Little Rascals' Christmas Special is an animated Christmas television special based on the Our Gang comedies of the 1920s-40s. The special was produced by King World Productions, and first aired December 3, 1979 on NBC. It is a spoof of the 1905 O. Henry short story The Gift of the Magi.

<i>The Little Rascals Save the Day</i> 2014 American film

The Little Rascals Save the Day is a 2014 American direct-to-video comedy film released by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Succeeding the 1994 film, it is the second feature film adaptation of Hal Roach's Our Gang, a series of short films of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s which centered on the adventures of a group of neighborhood children.

References

  1. "The Little Rascals". Blu-ray.com . Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  2. "American Bulldog Movies".
  3. Spiller, Nancy (August 6, 1994). "Not All 'Our Gang's' Here". Los Angeles Times .
  4. The Little Rascals at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. "The Little Rascals". Metacritic .
  6. "LITTLE RASCALS, THE (1994) A-". CinemaScore . Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  7. Lowry, Brian (August 5, 1994). "The Little Rascals". Variety .
  8. Fox, David J. (1994-08-08). "A 'Clear' Triumph at Box Office : Movies: The Harrison Ford thriller seizes the No. 1 spot with estimated ticket receipts of more than $20 million". The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2021-01-06.
  9. Welkos, Robert W. (1994-08-16). "Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2021-01-11.