The Smile Wins

film no. 66


availability:

This film was considered lost until 1991, when a 35mm print was uncovered in France. There is also a Dutch print. The film is currently unavailable on video, but Festival Films sells 16mm copies of the French print, and it's one of these that I've researched.


technical details:

Production K-23 or K-24. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

K-23 was filmed May 24 to June 7, 1927. K-24 was filmed June 27 to 29, and August 1 to 6, 1927. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Copyrighted September 9, 1927, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU24345. Renewed January 10, 1955, with registration no. R142113. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2022.

Released February 26, 1928. It was the 72nd film in the series to be released.

Silent two-reeler.

Probable opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "The Smile Wins".' A lobby photo reads this way, except that "Comedies" is replaced with "Comedy."


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Probably credited in the film as a presenter.

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

Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit probably appears in the film.

Edited by Richard Currier
This credit probably appears in the film.

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

Story by Hal E. Roach and Robert F. McGowan
This credit probably doesn't appear in the film.

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

Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Pathé Exchange, Inc.
Passed by the National Board of Review
Probably indicated in the film.

studio personnel
possible uncredited involvement


the kids:

Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Lead role. He's the star of the film, taking over his mother's laundry business when she gets sick.

Jannie Hoskins
Featured role. She's Farina's little sister in this film, and appears almost as much as he does.

Joe Cobb
Supporting role. He seems to be the leader of the gang, and gets them to change their attitude toward Farina.

Jackie Condon
Supporting role. He does mostly ensemble acting in this film.

Jay R. Smith
Supporting role. He does mostly ensemble acting in this film.

Harry Spear
Supporting role. He does mostly ensemble acting in this film.

Mildred Kornman
Small part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. She's seen near the beginning of the film riding on the gang's merry-go-round.

Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins
He's listed by Maltin & Bann, but doesn't seem to be in any of the available footage. However, there is a scene where the boys are away from their merry-go-round and in the foreground, while Mildred remains on the merry-go-round in the background. It appears that one other kid is back there with her, and this could possibly be Wheezer. Even if it isn't, I've seen at least one publicity photo for this film showing Wheezer with the rest of the kids.

questionable listings
Jean Darling is listed by Maltin & Bann, but doesn't appear in the film.


the animals:

Pete (no. 1)
Supporting role. He's the family dog at Farina's house. He attacks the bad guy and gets into the chloroform and limburger.

mule 053
Small part. This mule provides locomotion for the contraption Farina rigs up to do the laundry. Presumably the other mule that appeared in "The Fourth Alarm!" (no. 53).

bugwatch
There are numerous flies all over the food that the gang has brought for Farina and his family.


the adults:

George B. French as "Simon Sleazy"
Supporting role. He's the evil landlord who buys the oil deed, not realizing that the gusher is the result of somebody's busted pipe.

other adults
Small parts and bit parts.
(1.) "Dr. B. V. Dee," physician and surgeon, who examines Farina's mother.
(2.) The woman who receives the dirty laundry.
(3.) The man whose pipe gets broken.
(4.) "Humidor," Farina's chauffeur.
(5.) The stunt double for Farina's mom, possibly David Sharpe.
(6.) Drivers and pedestrians shown in the background.
(7.) Maltin & Bann list Budd Fine and Lyle Tayo with undetermined roles.


the music (sort of):

"Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag And Smile, Smile, Smile!" by George Asaf and Felix Powell
Published in 1915 with lyrics by Asaf and music by Powell. This was a number one hit for James F. Harrison and Knickerbocker Quartet in 1917. The sheet music for this song is shown at the beginning of the film.


the locations:

bank
At the end of the film, Farina walks out of a bank, which looks like it could be authentic.


miscellaneous:

Maltin & Bann list this film as the 66th in the series, which would logically mean that it was production K-24, and that the 65th film, "Playin' Hookey," was production K-23. However, in the lists given to me by Rob Stone, the two films are switched, making "The Smile Wins" production K-23, and "Playin' Hookey" production K-24. It should be noted, though, that Rob's list also makes the same kind of switch with "Free Wheeling" (no. 117) and "Birthday Blues" (no. 118), as well as "Divot Diggers" (no. 142) and "The Pinch Singer" (no. 143), and in these cases, independent evidence shows Maltin & Bann's order of production to be correct. So far, I haven't come across any independent evidence to break the tie between productions K-23 and K-24. One point that supports Rob's list is the fact that the 1927 datebook credits McGowan with directing K-23 and Mack with directing K-24, which corresponds to the onscreen credits for "The Smile Wins" and "Playin' Hookey," respectively. However, the datebooks consistently contradict onscreen credits during this period. One point that supports Maltin & Bann's list is the fact that Jannie Hoskins, who was almost always a day worker during her stint with Our Gang, was given a weekly salary during the filming of K-24. Her most prominent role in the series was in "The Smile Wins."

12 shooting dates went into the making of production K-23. Only two days after filming had finished for "The Glorious Fourth" (no. 64), the start date arrived for production K-23 on May 24th. Shooting continued until June 7th, when it was considered 'finished.' No shooting took place on May 22nd, May 29th, or June 5th, which were all Sundays, nor on May 30th, which was Decoration Day. Robert F. McGowan directed on each of the shooting dates. It should be noted that May 23rd was originally written in as the start date for this production, but was crossed out. This may have simply been an error by the person filling in the information, as it also occurs on Sunday, June 5th. One week after filming ended, the Our Gang unit began shooting "Yale Vs. Harvard" (no. 67).

9 shooting dates went into the making of production K-24. Just three days after shooting finished for "Yale Vs. Harvard," the 'start' date arrived for production K-24 on June 27th. Shooting continued only until June 29th, after which four and a half weeks of non-activity passed while the studio was closed for the summer. Filming resumed on Aug. 1st and continued until Aug. 6th, when it was considered 'finished.' Anthony Mack directed on each of the shooting dates. No shooting took place on June 26th or July 31st, which were both Sundays. Two days after shooting finished, the Our Gang unit began to film "The Old Wallop" (no. 68).

The name of the gang's oil company is "Farina Oil Co. Ink." The oil well is named "Well Nu. 1."

The name on the bottle of chloroform is "Clyde W. Slater, druggist."

Signs on Farina's house say "Hand Laundry," presumably the name of their business.

There were 40 copies of this film printed for its initial release.


©Mar. 9, 2005, by Robert Demoss.
2005 updates: 4/1, 4/25.
2006 updates: 1/9, 6/11, 6/12.
2007 updates: 4/1, 10/22, 12/8.
2008 updates: 3/31, 7/6.
2009 updates: 6/2.
2010 updates: 3/21.


Thanks to Robin Cook, Rob Stone and Joe Moore for assistance on this page.


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