The Littlest Rebel is a good Shirley Temple picture. It happens to be very similar in title, plantation locale, Negro comedy, and in general mechanics to The Little Colonel (1935).
Shrewdly playing both sides, as between the north and the south, script [from the play by Edward Peple] throws a lot of dialog to the Confederacy. All bitterness and cruelty has been rigorously cut out and the Civil War emerges as a misunderstanding among kindly gentlemen with eminently happy slaves and a cute little girl who sings and dances through the story.
Picture opens just before war is declared. The tot is giving a party to all the well-mannered children of the Virginia aristocracy and a good deal of sly comedy is slipped in at the table, and later when the children skip the minuet with genteel dignity. War brings successive losses culminating in the death of the mother (Karen Morley).
Bill Robinson and the child again dance. Robinson is once more the trusty family butler who guards little missy. John Boles, Jack Holt and Karen Morley are just routine adults who react to the charm of a little girl.