Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Shirley Temple Canon Ranking Attempt

During the Christmas break of my sophomore year at college, I discovered blogspot. Thanks to the IMDb hitlist, I found a couple doing an exploration of all the best picture winners who posted a blog about each one. A few years ago, I had watched and ranked all the best picture winners so I was immediately intrigued and loved the idea of going through an entire list of movies. But because there so many BPW's and I had so little time, I settled on the 22 movies from Shirley Temple's youth.


Since I was a little girl (in the early to mid-90's) I have been a fan of Shirley Temple. I have collected most of her movies (on good ole’ VHS) and devoured them. I love them. The childish off key cutesy singing. The extraordinary tap dancing numbers. The cheesy-deep-fried-in-sugar dialogue. I love it all. I feel that no one is really familiar with her movies anymore so I have taken it upon myself to view and dissect her canon.

I originally started in 2007, with half of the blogs being written then. Shit happens, blah blah blah and I didn't finish. But since a friend of mine has all of them on VHS, I figured now was as good a time as any to finish.

So here's some information from my original blog...

I will watch the 22 Shirley Temple vehicles starting with Stand Up and Cheer! made in 1934 to Young People made in 1940. Over the next few weeks, I will post a blog on each in chronological order. I will give basic information on each film (i.e., ratings, run time, plot summaries, etc.) I will also give a list of featured songs and offer my favorite quote. Finally I will discuss the film in question to the best of my ability.

As you may know, the Motion Picture Association of America instituted its rating system on November 1, 1968, long after the Shirley films were made. But by the late 80's, Shirley’s movies were being release on home video, meant to be devoured by families across America. With censor friendly parents chomping at the bit to show their kids the "gentler" good old days, the Fox video department thought it wise to go back and rate all the movies in the Shirley canon by the M.P.A.A.’s current standards. This resulted in 11 of the films being rated "G" and 9 being rated "PG". This is most likely due to the racial stereotypes and mild violence that I’ll discuss later. The other 2 films, Little Miss Marker and Now and Forever were released by Paramount Pictures and not re-rated for their video releases in the early 2000's. 

For those of you who are sticklers... On Shirley Temple’s actress page on IMDb, there are two films made in between Stand Up and Cheer! and Young People that won’t be discussed in this blog. They are Change of Heart and Now I’ll Tell. What I can gather from these movies’ pages, Shirley is a minor character and brought in for whatever reason. This blog will only focus on her star vehicles in which she is given top billing. As for after Young People, those films were made after Shirley’s contract at 20th Century Fox had ran out and she was picked up by other production companies. Afterwards, her films had more of a "teen" feeling. 

Okay...so yeah...I'll be posting the ones I wrote a year ago shortly and hopefully get going tomorrow.

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