Spoilt child Geoffrey Bramer teams up with a pair of small time crooks to pose as an aristocrat and steal jewelry from exclusive shops. During a a caper, Geoffrey is caught and is sentenced...
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Spoilt child Geoffrey Bramer teams up with a pair of small time crooks to pose as an aristocrat and steal jewelry from exclusive shops. During a a caper, Geoffrey is caught and is sentenced to a reformatory where young men are trained to be sailors. He is befriended by model in-mate Terry O'Mulvaney but soon starts to get them both in trouble.Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
Freddie Bartholomew stars as a seemingly upper crust "Lord" (Jeff Braemer) who is really an orphaned thief; suspected in an emerald necklace heist, he is sent to a navel academy and meets idealized Irish orphan Mickey Rooney (as Terry O'Mulvaney). Boy-among-the-young-men Terry Kilburn (as Albert Baker) keeps the "cute quotient" high.
Their roles are tailor-made for Mr. Bartholomew's "British upper crust" and Mr. Rooney's "Irish working lad" personas. Bartholomew is perfect as the aristocratically-guised London thief, complaining about the "wretched" hotel service and fainting during opportune moments. Bussed to a a purgatory-type sailor school (not quite a hellish reform school), he immediately clashes with Rooney. The two "child stars" contrast well, and their difficult bonding becomes the film's main source of entertainment. Rooney is much more relaxed in "Lord Jeff" than other "orphaned lad" roles; here, he exudes natural likability. Kilburn's little Albert seems out of place among the older boys, but he performs as well, and gives Bartholomew's character some much-needed appeal. Other story structure, and editing, problems weaken the running time.
Irrelevant, probably, to the film "Lord Jeff" is the status of its two stars. Bartholomew was a very popular "boy star" and Rooney was much more popular as a "teen star"; and, they made several films together. This film catches the Bartholomew near the end of his career, and Rooney beginning his most successful years. With this in mind, don't miss their mid-film fistfight!
****** Lord Jeff (6/17/38) Sam Wood ~ Freddie Bartholomew, Mickey Rooney, Terry Kilburn, Charles Coburn
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