Kentucky Kernels

1934

Action / Comedy / Music

3
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 50% · 50 ratings
IMDb Rating 5.9/10 10 398 398

Director

Top cast

George 'Spanky' McFarland as Spanky Milford
Mary Carlisle as Gloria Wakefield
Willie Best as Buckshot
Margaret Dumont as Mrs. Baxter
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
692.14 MB
988*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 15 min
Seeds ...
1.25 GB
1472*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 15 min
Seeds 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10

Inheriting A Feud

Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey get themselves stuck with little Spanky McFarland. They're a couple of itinerant magicians and the last thing they need is a kid. But this might be a pot of gold because Spanky just could be the heir of the Milford estate in Kentucky.

But what the boys don't know is that in passing themselves off as Milfords as well, they're inheriting an old mountain feud with another clan called the Wakefields. Made even worse by the fact that poor Bert has fallen for Mary Carlisle the daughter of Wakefield family patriarch Noah Beery, Sr.

The boys are pretty resourceful though and the last twenty minutes or so with them, Willie Best and Spanky holding off a horde of Wakefields is pretty funny. Sad to say though that Willie Best's portrayal of Buckshot probably keeps Kentucky Kernels from having been shown too much on television for years.

Although Kentucky Kernels is funny, I'd see Abbott&Costello's Comin' Round the Mountain. A similar story without the racism.

Reviewed by MartinHafer 7 / 10

Not among the team's best, but Spanky is adorable.

Unlike most of their films, Wheeler and Woolsey are blessed with some very good supporting actors--such as Noah Beery, Spanky McFarland and Margaret Dumont. And, unlike most of their films, Dorothy Lee is NOT in the movie! Instead, Mary Carlisle is on hand as the love interest for Bert Wheeler.

The film starts with a guy jumping into the river to kill himself after breaking up with his girl. However, Wheeler & Woolsey save him and Woolsey comes up with the insane notion that the man should adopt a kid in order to give him a reason to live. I am sure adoption agency would love to hear THAT reason for wanting to adopt! However, the guy reunites with his girlfriend and leaves for his honeymoon--leaving the child (Spanky) with them. The problem is that although he's adorable, the kid has a mania for breaking glass(?!) and he's constantly getting them in trouble. That is, until they soon learn that the boy is an heir to a Kentucky estate. And so the boys are excited about this fortune--but the excitement is short-lived as they walk into the middle of a feud.

Fortunately, Wheeler & Woolsey decide to invite all of the rival clan over for a party--to bury the old hatchet, so to speak. The plan works perfectly until Spanky screws it all up, as he's a bit of a psycho in this film! In fact, when all the shooting starts, Spanky is thrilled and gets in on the action himself! And the last half of the film is a lot of action--with a very long (too long) feud that is naturally stopped just before the boys are killed.

The overall film is enjoyable but slight. While it's worth watching, the second half of the film just isn't as good as the first and could have used less action and more jokes. Still, compared to some of the team's movies, it's pretty good--especially since there isn't as much singing as in many of their films!. And, Spanky is truly adorable..and a bit evil! By the way, audiences today will probably be offended by the character 'Buckshot' (Willie Best). Although less famous than Steppin Fetchit, Best also made a name for himself playing horribly stereotypical black men--lazy and stupid ones. It's sad that this was considered funny and in this case it's nice that times have changed. Now that I think about it, I am sure some Kentuckians would also be a bit put off by the jokes about feuding and inbreeding!

Reviewed by Steffi_P 7 / 10

"The true spirit of brotherly love"

Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey were one of many comedy teams to make it big during the early sound era. But unlike Laurel and Hardy or the Marx Brothers, their fame has not endured and their movies are not widely available today. Kentucky Kernels is a rare chance to see them at their prime.

The story and screenplay are by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, the same duo who wrote many of the Marx Brothers' early hits, including Animal Crackers and Duck Soup. The fact that Kentucky Kernels features a slightly more conventional brand of humour shows how much of an influence the Marx Brothers had over their appearances. The early Marx Brothers comedies barely had any kind of story at all, because Groucho et al had such wild personalities they overshadowed the logic of plotting. By contrast Wheeler and Woolsey have slightly less exuberant comic personas and are able to work inside someone else's story. This is not a condemnation of the pair, simply an explanation of their difference in style.

Comparisons can be drawn however with other comedians of the era. Robert Woolsey has a little of Groucho in his wisecracking delivery, but also a touch of dour character actor Ned Sparks. Woolsey makes much play of his spectacles and his ever-present cigar, working these props into his aloof, confident comedy creation. Wheeler is more of the straight man, with some of the incompetent and effeminate qualities of Stan Laurel. However he is outwardly normal enough to take the part of a romantic lead in Kentucky Kernels. They are not a bad pairing, although they don't have quite the same dynamic as many of the more famous double acts.

The director for Kentucky Kernels was George Stevens, a graduate from the Hal Roach studios who would later make some very fine pictures. From the rather arty opening shots, it's clear Sevens had a burning desire to be a dramatic director. Stevens, a former cinematographer, had also worked informally as gag-man for Roach and there's no doubt he was a very funny man, but he was never actually that great a comedy director. As he always would, he doesn't stick to wide shots where you can see everything going on, and works a lot in close-up. It's a style that would work very well for him later on, but it doesn't lend itself very well to movies of this sort, as the comedy business becomes too disjointed.

The reason for Wheeler and Woolsey's lack of contemporary fame has been blamed on a number of things, a commonly cited example being their pictures not being reprised on TV in the 50s. However, it seems they weren't exactly phenomenally popular in the first place. Pictures like Kentucky Kernels would do a healthy trade, but they wouldn't get queues round the block. But all comparisons aside, this is still a fairly funny little movie. Our Gang member "Spanky" MacFarland pulls a number of cute and amusing poses. Noah Beery, a hammy version of his brother Wallace, is great fun here. Whether it comes from the writers Ruby and Kalmar, the ideas of cast members or the director, there is a cartoonishness to the humour that keeps things suitably silly. And, even though they may have been a somewhat second-rate pairing, Wheeler and Woolsey are able to provide us with a good many laughs.

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