Rebel [1961]

Forget about its potentially politically incorrect subject manner. Shirley Temple, America's sweetheart by the time this film was made (1935), utterly charms as Virgie Cary, a plucky baby belle during the Civil War. Virgie is the treasured daughter of a Confederate officer, Capt. Herbert Cary (John Boles). Captain Cary ventures back to his decaying plantation for but a glimpse of his beloved family. Meanwhile, Virgie has managed to captivate a Union officer, Colonel Morrison (Jack Holt). Colonel Morrison becomes sympathetic enough to their plight that he assists Captain Cary's escape, only to have them both caught and set for execution. Trust plucky Virgie--who enlists the help of Abraham Lincoln (!)--to help get them out of their scrape. As with any Temple film, there's a message of familial love and perseverance. And even though there's a celebration of the Old South's genteel ways, Virgie's affection for her family's slaves comes through, as Temple and Bill "BoJangles" Robinson (as loyal Uncle Billy) happily dance together. The film is based on a 1914 silent film of the same name. --N.F. Mendoza

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