All credit to the kid players, director Norman Taurog, and the adapters for taking Percy Crosby’s newspaper comic strip [co-written with Sam Mintz] and making it readable and moving in scenario form.
When Skippy (Jackie Cooper) is so sorely depressed over the death of his poor kid-pal’s dog, he turns down supper and goes up to his bed to cry. The two kids had tried so hard to dig up the coin for his release from the moronic dogcatcher’s pound.
To get the $3 for the license they tried everything from staging a show and running out on the musicians after promoting a buck from Mitzi Green to let her play the lead, to selling lemonade for a cent a drink.
When Skippy’s father gives him the promised bike to ease his sorrow, Skippy trades it for Mitzi’s dog. Sooky (Robert Coogan) already had gotten a new mutt meanwhile, making it a bad deal for Skippy, but Skippy’s father makes the ending happy.
Cooper’s playing could not be improved upon. He does everything well, never camera-conscious and never suggesting it’s only a picture. The small and young Coogan boy is cute in every sense. His voice jibes with his looks and manner so well it makes him doubly cute. In contributing some valuable ‘heavy’ aid to this talker, Jackie Searl plays his boyish assignment as well as John Barrymore ever played a lover.
1930/31: Best Director.
Nominations: Best Picture, Actor (Jackie Cooper), Adapted Screenplay, Writing (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Sam Mintz)