We last left our fearless gang discussing whether or not they would still camp out in the cave on Friday night even after being warned that the cave was haunted. They had put it to a vote and decided that yes, they are still camping. The bell rings, and the children go back into the schoolhouse.
It’s after school now, and Bill and Poetry, who are suppose to clean the schoolhouse, leave almost as soon as Miss. Lilly does.
Bill Collins goes to his house. As he gets to the front door, his mom sticks her head out the window. Why is she sticking her head out the window instead of opening the front door? Because the directors needed an excuse for taking all the screens out of the windows. I’m not kidding.
Bill tells her he’s on his way to meet Poetry to do some important stuff. Mrs. Collins tells Bill he can go play as soon as he takes Old Man Paddler’s shirt back, as she has finished mending it. She also gives Bill a bag of cookies to take to Old Man Paddler, which was a really stupid idea. Do you think those cookies will make it to Old Man Paddler?
As Bill walks off, Mrs. Collins just has the most smug look on her face. She also is wearing the most ridiculously red lipstick ever and that outfit. Ugh. How did you all survive the godawful 1900s fashion trends?
In any case, Bill and Poetry go to the cave and hear weird noises. This time, I hear the noises too. It sounds like one of those weird sounds my electric piano used to make when you pressed one of the buttons.
Bill and Poetry leave the cave, and Poetry finds the bag of cookies from Bill’s mother. That was the end of the cookies. They head for Old Man Paddler’s house, where they hear the same exact noise they heard in the cave! Except that it sounds nothing like what they heard in the cave. It’s supposed to be the sound of Old Man Paddler chopping wood.
Bill and Poetry argue for a bit about whether or not it’s possible to hear Old Man Paddler chopping wood all the way from the cave.
Poetry: Well I’m mad
In a voice that doesn’t sound mad at all.
Poetry: Because I wanted it to be a ghost, even if there’s no such thing.
On the one hand, I get it. Poetry wants ghosts to exist because the supernatural is more interesting than real life. On the other, this actor is so terrible I kind of just… blah.
Bill and Poetry go up to Old Man Paddler, telling him that they’ve brought his shirt and some cookies. A cookie, at least. Old Man Paddler doesn’t look amused. Those white squareish things in the background are beehives, with live bees. Must’ve been a filming nightmare.
Old Man Paddler: Thank you very much. If you boys will go inside, I’ll join in a minute.
Bill and Poetry go inside, and Old Man Paddler goes to the back of his house and opens the cellar door. We hear coughing, and cut immediately to Bill and Poetry inside the cabin.
Bill and Poetry spend a few minutes arguing about whether or not Poetry heard a door slam. There’s no wind, so what could it be? Well, Old Man Paddler is still outside the house, so, maybe he’s doing something? I mean, it’s not that mysterious.
I would love to reach through the screen and grab some of those books. So would the directors, because they didn’t put them there. The books and furniture mostly came with the cabin.
Old Man Paddler comes back up from the cellar, and gives the boys some sassafras roots to take home to their parents. As the boys are leaving the cabin, they see Miss Lily going to Old Man Paddler’s.
Bill: Miss Lily?
Poetry: What is she doing here?
Good question. I have no idea. Probably something to do with Bob Till, though.
Bill: I don’t know, but I sure do like her.
I’m not sure why that’s shoehorned in here. We know the students like Miss Lily. We did not need to be told. Unless Bill likes her more now that she is visiting Old Man Paddler.
The next scene we have is with Tom and Bob Till. I think I’ve said this before, but if half the movie were cut and the only thing left in was anything to do with Bob Till, this would have been a much better, much stronger movie. It also would have been a much shorter movie, but that’s beside the point.
Tom has brought a basket of food. He sits down on a large rock to wait. Cut to a scene of Bill in the hayloft gathering eggs. He overhears his father talking with someone.
Mr. Collins: I Just don’t think there’s any use in trying, Mr. Paddler. The law’s the law and I don’t think they’ll bend it.
People bend and break the law all the time and get away with it. Is there a particular reason you feel it can’t be done with Bob Till? Can’t afford a good enough lawyer?
Mr. Paddler: I do hate to see a boy go to reform school on a first offense.
Why is Bob going to reform school? What was his first offense? Why are the judges so keen to throw the book at him? How did laws work in 1947? Talk to me movie!
Old Man Paddler: I just keep thinking, what if it were my William in trouble?
Mr. Collins: (sigh) Well, I’ll have a talk with him this evening.
Old Man Paddler: Thank you, Mr. Collins.
Then we get a scene that is clearly here because a) the directors wanted to pad out the movie b)the parents wanted more screen time.
I can’t think of any other good reason why it’s in here. But then, I could say that about a lot of the scenes.
Anyway, Mr. and Mrs. Collins and Bill and Charlotte Anne are sitting down to supper, which is apparently just soup. Bill and Charlotte Anne exist on air, because they don’t eat.
As soon as Mr. Collins is doing praying–literally as soon as he said, “Amen,” Charlotte Anne goes, “we had a visitor in school today.”
I hate her already. What a little snitch. I knew they’d aged her character significantly –in the books she’s a newborn baby–to make her more interesting, but if this is all they’re doing with her, she can just go right on back to being a baby. This does not add anything new, this just makes for an annoying character nobody is going to like.
The entire story comes out. Mrs. Collins asks if the lamb wanted to learn to read. Bill squirms. Mrs. Collins asks who’s idea it was to bring the lamb to school. Bill admits it was his idea, after trying to blame the writer of “Mary had a little lamb.”
Bill: I thought it would be fun to see everybody laugh and play
Mr. Collins: Was it fun?
Bill is saved from having to answer by a loud knock on the door. It’s Little Jim and his dad, Mr. Foote. This scene was originally included because they were doing a “Little Jim’s mom is having a baby” story arc. They cut it out to save on time, and so now Mr. Foote is here so Mr. Collins can talk to him about Bob Till, and Little Jim is staying the night for shits and giggles.
So if this scene seems a little weird to you, that’s because they cut out some important context. That doesn’t bother me too much, the movie’s too long as it is.
Bill: Wonder what they’re talking about in there?
Little Jim: Probably Big Bob Till. He ran away, and nobody knows where. If he gets arrested, he’ll have to go to reform school.
Bill: reform school?
Bill gets a big smile on his face.
Ok, I don’t know what Bob did to get arrested in the first place, but was it really that bad? Look, I get that I was supposed to get this context form having watched the 3rd movie. However, I feel like movies like should be able to stand on their own. Without at least some small recap of exactly what’s going on with Bob Till, I’m just lost. We could totally have cut out the whole “Poetry had a little lamb” story arc (it was boring anyway) and just had this movie be about Bob Till. It would make for a much more interesting movie.
Bill and Little Jim play on the swing, and we cut to a shot of Tom Till sitting on the big rock waiting for his brother. Bob is angry.
Bob: Why did I just see Bill Collins and that Thompson kid–
Bob: -Poetry, at the cave? Didn’t you give Big Jim the note?
Tom: They don’t care. Most of them think Dragonfly wrote it.
Is it Dragonfly’s handwriting? Is Dragonfly a good liar? No one has come out and asked Dragonfly. Also, anyone with a brain could have told you that children are more likely to seek out ghosts than run away from them.
Bob: Then make them scared
Tom: Why? Are you hiding out in the cave?
Bob: (coughs) No.
How is Tom supposed to make his gang scared? Yanno, this could have worked out. (Spoiler alert) Instead of having Poetry try to scare the gang with his lamb, Tom Till could dress up as a ghost and try to scare them. He could get caught, then confess to having done it because Bob told him to. Or something…. I dunno, it just would have worked out a helluva lot better than the contrived and stupid part coming up.
Tom gives Bob the food. Bob stalks off, then turns around and says, “thanks.”
We are then treated to an utterly pointless scene of Mr. Collins tucking in Bill and Little Jim. I’m not going over it, so next time we will pick up on whichever takes place after
I’ve been working a lot, and school’s starting. I’ll try to get another chapter of OBAW up this week, then Adventist Girl next week.