There is a cliché in 1938 movies that people are either very rich or very poor. In The Beloved Brat, Bonita Granville stars as Roberta Morgan, an only child in a wealthy family. She has no friends and her working father and society mother spend no time with her, leaving her to the care of servants. She is desperately lonely and the household staff are in the difficult position of both serving her and disciplining her. Because of this conflicting role, they are the ones who must suffer Roberta's verbal and physical abuse (calling them stupid, throwing dishes at them) when she rails against the restrictions of her life. This is Roberta's life: her parents ignore her and the servants resent her. One day she finds a poor boy (played by 'Stymie' Beard) hunting small animals on the grounds and befriends him. She starts skipping school and dance lessons to spend time with her new friend and even tries to bring him home for dinner one night when her parents are not home. Finding a poor black boy at the dinner table, the butler literally throws Stymie out. Then, when Roberta's parents find out that she has been lying about where she spends her days, they charge Jenkins (the butler) with making sure she doesn't leave the house. He can only accomplish this by locking Roberta in her room, but she escapes by starting a fire in a wastebasket and calling the fire department. Jenkins tracks her down and tries to bring her back, but Roberta grabs the wheel of his car and causes an accident that kills someone in another car. Before finally admitting fault, Roberta nearly sends Jenkins to jail by saying he had been drinking. A judge sentences Roberta to a boarding school for troubled girls. After a few weeks of stubborn defiance she realizes that she is now in an environment where she can finally have friends and she turns into a charming girl. Only when she is confronted with returning home does she throw another tantrum, causing her parents to realize their role in Roberta's rotten behavior.
Roberta meets Stymie
Familar faces: Donald Crisp is her dad, Leo Gorcey (one of the Dead End Kids) makes a brief appearance as a bully.
This is a George O'Brien Western that doesn't fit the George O'Brien Western model I have built. He does not play an undercover lawman. Instead, he is a cattle rancher who ends up with a tungsten mine on his land. Maybe I'm just getting used to these budget Westerns or maybe this one was particularly well done, but I was pretty caught up in the suspense scenes at the end. One involved a runaway mule train pulling loads of tungsten ore beside a precipice, and another involved fist fights while a fuse burned toward a pile of dynamite. Ray Whitley does the singing, as usual.