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  • .... or Pares if it shows up on a sign here. The first half of this movie has the gang running an athletic club and raising money for it by a shoe-shine stand with one of their typical Rube-Goldbergesque contraptions of wheels and gears and pulley belts.... just the sort of thing I used to design myself when I was eight, where a rocket pack's design was no more difficult than drawing it. And inside the machine is someone with a brush and some shoe polish. wasn't that how the adults did it? Isn't that the charm of these movies for adults?

    For kids, it was more about belonging to a group, of having friends, and that was important too. But the charm of these often plot less and always slightly disjointed stories -- like the sort of tale a child might make up -- was their kindly, childlike charm, always on the side of the kids, even when they kidded them. Yes, we knew things were more complicated than a bunch of wheels and someone on the inside of the box doing the work. But there would be time enough to learn these things. in the meantime, we could enjoy things and worry about our small problems while the adults took care of the important things.

    Then we grew up. Sigh. But at least we can look at these and remember.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This Hal Roach comedy short, Every Man for Himself, is the thirty-second in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series. The gang has an athletic club/shoeshine stand running in their neighborhood. Hand-made contraptions are used in both. There's also a practical joke on unsuspecting customers: whenever they peep through two holes in a fence near the shoe stand, black rings form around their eyes! Oh, and there's a couple of new twin boys in the neighborhood with opposite traits-one's afraid of fights and one's always looking for one. Their names are Sissy and Scrappy! I'll just now say that while there are some amusing jokes (like the one involving painting someone's shoes white unknowingly to the person getting it and then having that person get a shoe shine which was previously used in A Pleasant Journey), this was a slightly enjoyable short, at best. Still, Every Man for Himself is worth a look if you're a die-hard Our Gang fan.
  • Every Man for Himself (1924)

    ** (out of 4)

    Fair Our Gang short has the group running an athletic club where Joe is put through a couple fights. They also appear to be running a wireless shoe-shining gig where they get customers by splashing paint on their shoes. If you're a fan of the series then I'm sure you're going to eat up what Hal Roach feeds you here. I'm not going to sit here and say I don't enjoy the series because if I didn't then I wouldn't keep watching the films but at the same time I can't say it's one of Roach's best. I'm sure kids in 1924 loved seeing themselves up on the screen doing things they'd like to do but at the same time these shorts really haven't been all that funny. This one here at least gives us a few interesting technical aspects and this here is mainly the creation of the shoe-shine machine. The second half of the film deals with the kids painting shoes so that the people will then have to come and get them clean. This gimmick was done in earlier shorts where Farina went out and painted shoes before eventually running into the police. The same thing happens here. There's also a brief segment dealing with a new kid but again it doesn't get any laughs. At just 14-minutes this one here is a bit shorter than some in the series, which turned out to be a good thing.