Wiggle Your Ears (1929)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Countries - United States   |  
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A truly offbeat "Our Gang" comedy, Wiggle Your Ears contains subtext that might make Sigmund Freud proud. Little Mary Ann Jackson is in love with Harry Spear because the boy can wiggle his ears. Alas, Harry has eyes only for five-year-old "vamp" Jean Darling. Acting upon the advice of Allen "Farina" Hoskins, Mary Ann tries to win over Harry by transforming herself into a "flapper," but to no avail. Meanwhile, chubby Joe Cobb, who has long worshipped Mary Ann from afar, captures the girl's heart by wiggling his ears, with the help of a string and a wad of gum. As for Harry, he loses Jean when his ear-wiggling gift mysteriously vanishes (a plot twist that one observer has labelled as metaphorical castration!) Adding to the already bizarre milieu was director Robert F. McGowan's decision to film the story entirely in tight close-ups -- presumably a parody of the "in your face" technique of such artsy directors as Josef Von Sternberg and Erich Von Stroheim. First released on April 6, 1929, Wiggle Your Ears was one of the 13 late-silent "Our Gang" films to be included in the "Little Rascals" TV package, albeit bereft of its original synchronized music and sound-effects track.