The Smile Wins (1928)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Countries - United States  |  
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

When the hard-working, widowed mother of Our Gang member Allan "Farina" Hoskins falls ill, things look bad for her family: She has no money for food or medicine, and even worse, the cruel landlord intends to evict her unless two hundred dollars in back rent is immediately forthcoming. Determined to raise the money himself, Farina is equally determined not to let bad fortune weigh him down, and to that end he adopts a perpetual winning smile. Unfortunately, the rest of the gang misinterprets Farina's grin, thinking that he's mocking them. Only after Farina has been abused beyond reason by the other kids does Joe Cobb discover the truth. Hoping to make up for their past misdeeds, the gang vows to earn enough money to save both Farina's mother and her humble home. As it turns out, however, Farina and his family are rescued by a convenient oil gusher. Long considered lost, this silent, two-reel Our Gang comedy was rediscovered in France in 1991: Inasmuch as it has not yet been released to video, the above synopsis is based on contemporary reviews and an eyewitness account by "Little Rascals" historians Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann. Originally released on February 26, 1928, The Smile Wins was the last Our Gang film released through Pathe; thereafter, producer Hal Roach would distribute his product exclusively through MGM.