Kentucky Kernels (1934)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   Release Date - Nov 2, 1934 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Though not the best of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey's starring vehicles, Kentucky Kernels turned out to be the team's biggest financial success. Wheeler and Woolsey star as unemployed vaudevillians Willie and Elmer, who through a series of convoluted circumstances become the guardians of mischievous orphan Spanky Milford (Spanky McFarland). The boys get into plenty of trouble thanks to Spanky's predilection for breaking windows, but worse is to come: When it turns out that Spanky has inherited the Milford homestead in Kentucky, our heroes find themselves smack in the middle of an old-fashioned mountain feud. Elmer manages to arrange a d├ętente between the warring Milfords and Wakefields, but thanks to the precocious Spanky, the feud resumes -- much to the dismay of Willie, who's fallen in love with gorgeous Gloria Wakefield (Mary Carlisle). Willie and Elmer manage to stave off the hostile Wakefields by substituting berries for bullets, but the story doesn't come to a conclusion until the boys are nearly knocked off by a firing squad. Praised to hilt for being "cleaner" than the previous Wheeler-Woolsey epics, Kentucky Kernels seems disappointing today when compared to the team's classic Diplomaniacs and Hips Hips Hooray; additionally, Spanky McFarland sabotages several potentially hilarious sequences with the most obnoxious performance of his career. Even so, the film is consistently entertaining, especially during the delightful Bert Kalmar-Harry Ruby musical number "One Little Kiss", performed by everyone in the cast from Wheeler and Woolsey to Noah Beery Sr!

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Keywords

actor, family-feud, inheritance, orphan