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The Terrible Kids

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 28, 2015

Here we are, back to the more customary, conventional Edwin Porter. This is a fun film.  The boys are quite unsentimentally, irredeemably naughty. Good for them! (For a bracing dose of that sentiment, try out Mark Twain’s stories about bad and good little boys.) The value added is this tremendous dog, who is not only very graceful physically, but seems to have a certain gleam in his eye. As with all those French chase films, and the American ones too, I guess, the chasers in this piece multiply like crazy. The end is tentative for the same reason that the water rescue in Life of an American Policeman was. It’s because we have to wait for the dog! Similar to that earlier film, the delay is made up for the authenticity or power of process. They’re out! Here is a positively lovely last shot, as the three recalcitrants run toward us and out the back of the frame. It’s an inversion of what I’ve been criticizing EP about, a little. Changing the screen direction, though, also changes the sense of the whole. Instead of feeling impatience, we feel a sense of promise, of impending, of the future ahead of them.