Fast Freight

film no. 85


availability:

Rascals Silents Vol. 5 (VHS/DVD) from A-1 Video
This is a home movie print from Blackhawk Films. The inter-titles are remade, but retain the original wording. The picture quality is fairly good. The footage totals 22:32, with about 20:05 of it original.

Our Gang Volume #13 (VHS) from Grapevine Video and also from The Picture Palace
This copy is a home movie print from Blackhawk, but with the company name blacked out. It includes a textual introduction. The inter-titles have been remade, but appear to retain the original wording. At least a couple seem to be missing from this print. The picture quality is fairly good. The print totals 19:51, with about 17:15 of it original footage. Ignoring the inter-titles, it appears that almost all of the original version is included. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.


special note
There's a European video release of this film lasting 18:06 which has better picture quality than the Grapevine version. The titles are all remade, with the object of making them appear original. However, the font is not quite the same as on the original prints, and there are a few instances of misspellings and the like. Also, Farina's pamphlet advertising California is reproduced in a less-than-accurate fashion. Music is provided by the Beau Hunks with sound effects.


technical details:

Production G-19.

Filmed December 10 to 29, 1928. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Copyrighted April 1, 1929, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP265. Renewed September 13, 1956, with registration no. R176895. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2024.

Released May 4, 1929. It was the 85th film in the series to be released. That is, unless "Small Talk" was released earlier, as per some sources, in which case "Fast Freight" would have been the 86th release.

Silent two-reeler.

Probable opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Fast Freight".'


the crew:

Produced by Robert F. McGowan for Hal Roach
This is the way Maltin & Bann put it. The film credits Roach as a presenter, with a separate credit reading "A Robert McGowan Production."

Supervised by Robert F. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without his middle initial.

Directed by Anthony Mack
This credit appears in the film. Mack was actually Robert A. (for Anthony) McGowan, the nephew of Robert F.

Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit appears in the film.

Edited by Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film.

Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film.

Story by Robert F. McGowan
This credit doesn't appear in the film.

Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.

Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Indicated in the opening title card.

Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.

studio personnel
possible uncredited involvement


the kids:

Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Lead role. The nickname doesn't appear in this print. He rides the rails, and is joined by the other kids.

Joe Cobb
Featured role. He does almost all of the talking among the white kids.

Harry Spear
Supporting role. He gets his rear end burned on the train, and keeps falling into a vat of flour at the old house.

Mary Ann Jackson
Supporting role. She does mostly ensemble work, but gets a moment where her rear end catches on fire.

Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins
Supporting role. The nickname doesn't appear in this print. He does mostly ensemble work, but has a featured scene where he's throwing lightbulbs.

Jean Darling
Supporting role. She does almost entirely ensemble acting in this short.


the animals:

Pete (no. 1) as "Petie"
Featured role. He rides the rails with Farina, and is featured in many gags along the way.

dog 074
Bit part. The wolf that walks between the kids looks quite a lot like a German shepherd to me, and presumably the one seen in "Barnum & Ringling, Inc." (no. 74).

Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

other animals
Bit parts.
(1.) The frog that gets under Farina's hat.
(2.) The owl that spooks Farina.
(3.) The lizard that crawls down the back of Mary Ann's coat.

bugwatch
The bees that Farina lets loose under the train, including both real ones and animated.


the adults:

Robert Dudley as the chief of police
Small part. He shows up at the end of the film to round up the runaways.

other adults
Bit parts.
(1.) The face in the spooky wall painting, which Maltin & Bann identify as James Finlayson, but I have to admit to some skepticism.
(2.) The railroad worker who closes the train door on Farina.
(3.) The conductor seen on the back of the train.


miscellaneous:

15 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Shooting for "Wiggle Your Ears" was still being directed by Robert F. McGowan when the 'start' date for "Fast Freight," directed by Anthony Mack, arrived on Dec. 10th. "Wiggle Your Ears" continued until Dec. 12th, after which "Fast Freight" continued until the 'finish' date of Dec. 27th. Two days later, on Dec. 29th, train shots were taken on what proved to be the last day of shooting. No shooting took place on Dec. 9th or Dec. 23rd, which were both Sundays. However, there was shooting on Sunday, Dec. 16th, no doubt to create a day off on Dec. 24th. And, of course, no shooting took place on Christmas, Dec. 25th. After this, five weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began to shoot "Little Mother" (no. 86). The studio was closed for four of those weeks.

Pete puts on a record called "The Ravings Of John McCullough."


©Apr. 11, 2005, by Robert Demoss.
2005 updates: 4/19, 4/25, 7/9, 12/15.
2006 updates: 5/16, 10/25.
2007 updates: 4/1, 10/22.
2008 updates: 1/19, 7/6, 7/20.
2009 updates: 1/18.


Thanks to Henry Sorenson, Rob Stone and Joe Moore for assistance on this page.


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