War Babies (1932)

Genres - Comedy, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy Western  |   Release Date - Sep 18, 1932 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 10 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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One of several shorts made early in Shirley Temple's career, War Babies is essentially a take-off on war movie conventions, performed by a cast of infants and very young children. Babies takes place at Buttermilk Pete's Café, where the dress code runs to diapers and rubber pants, with the occasional army helmet, tie or vest thrown in for good measure. A quartet plays some typical café music, and Shirley Temple dances out, clearly performing the role of a French dancer-cum-temptress. The piano player can't help but shift music to a vampy, come-hither mood, but is quickly told to straighten up. Shirley gets the big eye from one doughboy in particular, who orders his milk straight up (which he pays for with the coin of the realm -- a lollipop). Shirley's dance moves into high gear when the ice cream off one of the musician's cones drops down her back. The doughboy talks Shirley up, but so do several others, and it seems that Shirley is most interested in whoever can add to her own personal collection of lollipops. When a new boy arrives with a huge lollipop, it looks like the doughboy may lose Shirley, but he trickily gets possession of the larger candy stick himself and keeps Shirley as a result. Just then a messenger arrives, and all of the soldiers have to leave. Shirley tearfully bids the doughboy adieu, waving a handkerchief after him as he leaves, before blowing her nose with it.